MONROE, North Carolina — For many, Christmas is all about hope. Ground 40 ministries in Monroe is full of hope and optimism.
The ministry houses 20 men on an 8 acre farm, teaching practical and spiritual growth to men who have dealt with decades of addiction.
Ground 40 is unique from the standpoint that it does not require thousands of dollars for a man to enter the program. Men spend a minimum of 120 days on the property, learning life skills while dealing with demons such as addiction and abuse.
Executive director Wesley Keziah knows what these men are going through because he has gone through it, also.
"I've probably been arrested in Union County, 82 times," said Keziah, who's been sober for five years.
"I was a heroin addict for 10 years," Keziah said. "I thought I was stuck in my addiction for a long time until somebody shared the gospel with me and I responded to it differently than I had ever done before."
It was a faith-based work program that help Keziah reunite with his family and mend relationships previously broken for years.
Wesley has so much gratitude that he is now leading the ministry on the farm, helping the men transition back into the community.
It's not an easy job by any means.
"I'd say 100 percent of them have dealt with addiction at some point," Keziah said.
The days go quick with bible study, one-on-one sessions and work on the farm. But as time passes, a sense of purpose reveals itself.
"I really don't know what I expected coming here, I was in such a bad place that I knew I needed some help," Cody Honeycutt said. "I've just learned that I need to love the people around me. Let the love of God come out of me, to others."
Carson Jones is one of the youngest guys on the farm. He has overcome a drug addiction and aspires to become a musician.
"I feel that God is going to open up a door with it and I want to do it for him, not for me," Jones said.
The brothers aren't bound by the mistakes of their past, what unites them is the hope they have for their future.