Psalm 23 -
Former Addict's Incredible
Journey From An Inspired VisionTo Breaking New Ground For "Village of
Image: M - Pics / freedigitalphotos.net
Message and An Invitation From Marvin Declare
Psalm 23 Transition Society's Founder and Executive
Dear Friend of Psalm 23,
While I was working with Union Gospel Mission back
in 1999, a Vision kept coming to me - and I just couldn't get it out of my mind.
In 2001, after my wife Shelley and I opened up our
basement to a few desperate men caught up in addiction like I had been for 27 long years of my life, I
questioned if this was truly a Vision I was meant to pursue - or was it just a mere
In 2003, after I had resigned from UGM to pursue
this crazy dream, the Vision started to really take hold not only in my heart, but also out there in our
community in Abbotsford.
So, it was then we decided to go for it. We jumped
in with both feet and applied for non-profit charitable status for Psalm 23 Transition Society. We received
it too not long after.
So what was this Vision?
The Vision was about creating a safe and caring
place where those struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction could come off the mean streets...and
spend the time they needed to work through the issues of their lives.
But the Vision wasn't only about just having a door
open and offering people a warm place to stay. It was much more than that.
It was also about educating men and women caught up
in self-destructive addictions with the knowledge and tools they needed to break through their suffering and
live wholesome, drug and alcohol free lives.
It was about equipping them with the spiritual life
principles and relationships skills they'd never learned to bring about deep healing in their marriages and
reconciliation in their families.
It was about empowering them with valuable
employment skills so they could get a steady job, bridge off of the welfare system and re-integrate back into
the mainstream of society as a healthy, productive citizens.
And it was about creating a holistic Christian
healing community that would be a compassionate place of refuge for all who were hurting - in essence, a
place for all people.
Well, after opening our original recovery house for
men in 2001, we found the demand for recovery services quickly escalating each and every
It's absolutely heartbreaking to see the pain of
families who feel completely helpless because they cannot change the self-destructive path of their loved
ones who have fallen into addiction.
In 2003, God provided our second recovery home
(Freedom House) which we initially opened up to five men.
I'm thankful that He also provided much needed
guidance and support through many caring members of Immanuel Fellowship Baptist
Some of these devoted
people became our first board members, while others came alongside and mentored me in instilling Christian values
into our fledgling organization.
Prayer support grew as word quickly spread about
the outreach work we were doing with the poor, the homeless and those struggling with alcohol and drug
God also brought generous donors to support us
financially, as they were touched by profound life changes they saw in those who were once homeless and lost
in their substance abuse.
As Psalm 23 expanded its recovery program to meet
the growing needs, we continued to build many wonderful relationships with those in leadership in our
These included local pastors, medical
professionals, parole officers, private donors and volunteers, as well as a good number of non-profit,
business, civic and provincial leaders.
Blessed with wonderful
As our growth continued, we were blessed to come
into a relationship with MLA Mike deJong.
With his firm belief in Psalm 23's mission of
helping those who were homeless and struggling with addiction, Mike introduced us to MLA Rich
And it was through an introduction by Rich, we
formed a warm working relationship with B.C. Housing.
As we searched for suitable properties to expand
our recovery programs, we gained invaluable support from a wide range of community leaders including those
from City Hall to MLA John van Dongen and MLA Randy Hawes.
After looking at over 120 properties, we were
blessed to partner with B.C. Housing to purchase another recovery home on Peardonville Road (Genesis
When the City of Abbotsford was making changes to
weed out unscrupulous operators of recovery houses, we went through a very lengthy and costly process of
upgrading our facilities to meet the licensing standards.
Once again, we were so thankful for the support of
B.C. Housing who provided the upgrade costs for each facility including the installation of sprinkler
With two recovery homes now dedicated to men, we
felt lead to open a third recovery home - this time for women. Our women's home (House of Angels) was
completely renovated and we opened it on November 1, 2009.
One simple email changed
Now in 2008, little did I know how one simple email
from a couple living in the Cariboo at 59 Mile would change the face of our society forever. It opened wide
the possibility of fulfilling the Vision God had placed upon me years ago.
You see, this couple asked if we would be
interested in purchasing their property up in 59 Mile. They were looking to sell.
Well, my response at the time was to thank them for
getting in touch, but we as a Society just did not have the money to buy their house and
In fact, God had just provided us with the new home
on Peardonville to manage. I thanked them and prayed that God would help them find a buyer for their home and
On June 13, 2010, we hosted the Grand Opening of
our women's facility "House of Angels."
When we got home later that evening, I went to
check my emails and got a big surprise.
I called my wife Shelley over to the computer and
pointed excitedly to an email from Bill & Connie, the owners of the Casablanca property at 59 Mile. They
were the ones who'd asked us if we would like to purchase their property a couple of years
As we read the email, my eyes went straight to the
The hairs stood up on my arms as we continued to
read further. Bill & Connie were now asking Psalm 23 if we would be interested in having their property
donated to the Society.
All we'd need to do was to take over a small
mortgage. Through much prayer and support, Shelley and I, along with various board members, started talks on
receiving the 59 Mile property.
A great need...
We'd already recognized there was a great need in
the central interior of B.C., since I had been asked a couple of years ago by a group in 100 Mile, if Psalm
23 would be interested in opening up a recovery facility there.
The demand for recovery services in the communities
of Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile, Cache Creek, Kamloops, Kelowna and Merritt is significant
and growing daily.
After a period of seeking God's direction, we felt
this was an open door for us to have a greater impact in the lives of those suffering from poverty,
homelessness and addiction.
Moving towards the
We also recognized that by moving the main Psalm 23
Training Centre to 59 Mile, we'd be so centrally located that we could serve many more communities throughout
Of course, we would still continue to run our two
Alumni Houses in Abbotsford and maintain our Head Office there.
With these considerations in mind, we made the
decision to accept Bill and Connie's generous offer.
Since the move to our new Psalm 23 Training Centre
in 59 Mile, God has blessed us with many opportunities to make a difference in so many more lives. Not only
that, He has even enlarged the original Vision.
I'm pleased to announce - we are now breaking new
ground and laying the foundations for building The Psalm 23 Village of Hope - a unique holistic Christian
healing community that once completed will be a special place of recovery and restoration for all
Join me on an amazing "Future
If you're open to it, I'd
love to take you on an amazing visionary "Future Tour" of Village of Hope 2020. You can journey with me to the future of
Psalm 23 by downloading this special tour here.
As always, we seek your prayers and we're deeply
grateful for your generous gifts of support, as we embark on this exciting new venture of bringing Jesus's
love, hope and care to those struggling to break free from their addictions.
Together, I know we can build Village of Hope and
make an even greater life transforming difference in communities throughout our beautiful
If you're inspired to join us on this exciting
adventure - or if we can be of service in any way, please feel free to call us at
Founder and Executive
Psalm 23 Transition