The May 2022 issue of Prairie Tracks Magazine features Gayle Stahl of Bethel Church, Yale, South Dakota, sitting on the steps of a 1920s bungalow. Inside this regional chamber of commerce magazine is the story of Hope House, the fulfillment of Stahl’s dream of a sober living home in Huron for women in recovery from addiction. Hope House, which opened last March, is a safe and supportive home for women to live and stay sober as they address addictions through their recovery programs.
Where did the idea for a sober living home in Huron come from?
It happened around a table in the Beadle County Jail doing a Celebrate Recovery Bible study. All four women in the group were addicted to meth, and I naively asked, “What happens when they let you out of here?” Hearing their answers, God put it on my heart that they need a place to get clean.
How did you come to see this was a calling for you?
I spent a good six months telling God it wasn’t me. Celebrate Recovery’s 12-step program had been a major player in my own recovery from depression, but I didn’t know anything about drug and alcohol addiction. The last step in the 12-step program is “give back” and God was saying, “It is you.”
How have you seen God provide?
This project has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. It’s been such a grass roots effort with support from Bethel Church and many other community members. One day at my 6 a.m. waterwalking group, I told a woman about looking for loans to try to buy a house. She said “I think I know of a house for you.” By 4 p.m. that day we had a house. Forty-plus people from local churches and the community came out to clean it up. A contractor who was in recovery himself worked on it for several months to make it livable.
Why do you believe Hope House will make a difference?
This is clearly God’s project. I could never have done it. But also, of the four women in that Beadle County jail, only one is sober today. Research has shown that a person who lives in a sober living environment for nine months to one year has an 80 percent chance of staying sober for at least 10 years.
What is your hope for the women?
The majority of the women we work with don’t know the unconditional love of God. As they arrive we welcome them home with a gift bag that includes a Bible. I don’t pretend to know what they’re going through, but I tell them my story of recovery and what God has done for me. I want each one to feel loved and know she is worthy of recovery
Kathy Heinrichs Wiest is a freelance writer who loves the smell of whole wheat bread in the oven, the feel of an orange being plucked from the tree and the view from her front porch in Kingsburg, California. On Sunday mornings you’ll find her in the fourth pew from the front on the left at Kingsburg MB Church, moved by the hymns and praise songs and inspired by the stories of God at work locally and around the world. She and her husband, Steve, own Dovetail Remodeling. They have two grown daughters, one son-in-law and a precious granddaughter.