The Scott Mitchell House Dedication
I was deeply touched and honored by Dave and Dianne Froodes desire and request to dedicate to Scott this home for women and children in transition. It has meant a lot to Scott’s entire family and mine to have a living memorial (so to speak) where lives will be changed and God will be glorified.
Scott spent the majority of his adult life focused on discipling, mentoring, counselling and making and developing relationships by being a friend.
He began as a young pastor in a rural area in Grays River, Washington; then as Dean of men at a Bible College in Three Hills, Alberta Canada. After returning to the States years later he worked in a christian counseling center in Portland, Oregon focused primarily on abuse recovery, marriage counseling and men’s issues. Finally his last years of service were as a pastor of counselling and support ministries (men’s ministry and small groups)at Cedar Mill Bible Church in Portland,Oregon.
Scott loved to see movement and growth in areas of people’s lives and was the most relational man I have ever known. He loved meeting new people, making a connection and discovering that he already knew someone that they knew! Everywhere he went he ran into someone he knew. It helped that he had an incredible memory. Relationship was of supreme importance to him. He loved to make new friendships while maintaining the ones he already had. I never knew anyone who could remember his friend’s birthdays like he did. These relationships did not just evolve on their own, he worked on them.
This house is all about building relationships, discipling, mentoring, counselling and being a friend. It is about walking alongside one another in order to encourage, support, hold accountable and love one another.
Most of you are aware of my family’s tragic story. A son caught up in addictions; first alcohol,marijuana and eventually progressing to methamphetamines. This was over approximately a 10 year span which was filled with frustration, tears, shame, fear, anger, guilt and often despair.
We attempted to understand, cope, manage, raise two other children and make a living, while always worrying that our son was going to get hurt, do something illegal or worse: hurt someone else while intoxicated or under the influence of some substance. Eventually he became paranoid, psychotic, and delusional from his drug use. He almost died from a massive overdose of over-the-counter medications in July 2004 which finally led to his seeking out with his fathers help a treatment program in New Hampshire. Jonathan was on the waiting list for this program when he had an altercation with his dad over his girlfriend who did not want to stop using. Unknown to us he had purchased a small caliber gun and was carrying it around with him due to his paranoia. It was in his hand when he smashed and broke the window in a door his father had locked. He entered the house, got his shoes and left thinking his dad would call the police because he had broken the window.
Jonathan came back to the house the next day while a city wide search was underway for him. He refused to believe that his dad was really dead until his attorney was able to show him the forensic evidence proving he had been responsible due to his reckless behavior.
He accepted responsibility and was convicted of manslaughter and is now serving a 11 1/2 year sentence in an Oregon prison.
God’s provision for me and my family in the following hours, days and weeks was incredible. It has now been just over 5 and 1/2 years and I can truly say that you, and many like you have been the hands and feet of Jesus ministering to us through your support, prayers and love.
I now see a community doing the same for these women and children living in this home. They have been in crisis, through their own personal journeys of pain and addiction and have made the conscious choice to start afresh with the help of all of you here today.
We have been given the privilege and opportunity to help them while they transition back into our community. Not everyone has been touched by a family member struggling with addiction issues, but we are all impacted in our community whether we like it or not. Our emergency rooms are full of patients who are depressed, suicidal, mentally affected as a result of chemical dependency.
Our foster care system is overloaded with children affected by addiction. Parents are thrust into the courts and legal system as a result of illegal behavior often to support their drug habits. Schools attempt to educate children with permanent disabilities as a result of chemical dependency and the homeless wander the streets of Portland and Beaverton often because they have burned their bridges with family and support systems.
We are surrounded by the consequences of addictions everywhere we go. God has walked me through the grief process in His way and in His time, with His unique plan for me. It is an ongoing journey and probably will continue for some time.
God is faithful and I know that He has the same desire to walk with these women through their past pain and bring them through with the loving help and support that will be provided through this home.
I found these words in Scott’s journal shortly after his death:
“When I am tested I will come forth as gold. I may not know where God is in all that is going on but I know He is involved. He controls my destiny.”(underside of a tapestry,the work side. by Corrie ten Boom)
“I will go before you and will level the mountains. I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you may know that I am the God of Israel who summons you by name.”
~ Isaiah 45:2,3
God has revealed many treasures of darkness these past 5 and 1/2 years and I firmly believe He is planning on revealing more of His treasures in and throughout the lives of these women and children who will be residing in The Scott Mitchell house.
The sculpture “Calling on Angels” is a piece that was inspired out of tragedy. One beautiful fall evening in 2004 my wonderful brother Pastor Scott Mitchell of Cedar Mill Bible Church was shot and killed by the reckless actions of his oldest son who had been under the influence of methamphetamines. This event brought my soul into the deepest despair I had yet to experience. My world turned to shades of gray and black. My first thought was to make an ugly violent sculpture showing the results of drug use on humanity. I could visualize this big white meth ball with emaciated faces with expressions of horror,crying infants,guns,knives and violence carved all over it. I had always told myself that I would not make angry,ugly art so I struggled with myself for a month or two over this. Finally,one day when I went into the studio,I was thinking about Scott and wondering what he was up to and visualized him in heaven. A popular song “Calling on Angels” came on the radio about that time. I realized I didn’t need to understand the event I just needed to look up. I felt the love and peace of God and the presence of many around me. Then I visualized the peace in stone. So I started carving. Most people interpret this as being an angel. This is not intended to represent an angel but is actually a woman looking upward who is engulfed in a wing. The wing surrounding the women represents being surrounded and carried by wings of angels. This sculpture has brought me peace by reminding me that we are not alone when we walk through the dark places in life. God is with us especially in the midst of chaos. Our journey is not without hardship and tragic events. When we look up toward heaven we will know that God is very present at these events and so are angels. My hope is that this sculpture will remind the women and children that walk through this door that they are not alone as they move forward to put the pieces of their lives back together.