An Organization Dedicated to Defeating Addiction
words by: Nic Stoltzfus
Paul Fehr was an addict. His first taste of drugs was when he was fifteen years old. It started with marijuana. He then turned to cocaine, then alcohol, and eventually even meth. He began selling drugs. He knew that doing this was wrong; his Amish parents didn’t raise him to be this way. They loved him and cared for him. What had happened? How had he fallen so low? He turned to God in prayer. Paul begged, “Take my life or take my addiction, I don’t care which, but take one of them!” Paul turned both his life and his addiction over to God. Soon after, his drug selling got him in trouble with the law. As the jail cell closed behind him, he knew this was his opportunity to make a clean break with his former life. He felt a lifting of his spirit; a joy that had been absent for so long rushed into his heart. Paul felt the Holy Spirit touch his heart with this powerful reminder: “Jesus didn’t die for people who don’t need help, he died for me, he died for the addict!”
Paul had been arrested for selling narcotics, and a judge sentenced him to three years in prison. He decided that he would spend his time in prison praying, in fellowship, and reading the Bible. In that lonely prison cell, he turned to God’s word. In particular, he was inspired by the passage of scripture where the Apostle Paul writes about the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). Paul knew that it was by girding himself with the armor of God that he was able to defeat his addiction. In talks with a friend in the prison yard, they discussed how to help others defeat their addictions.
After a year in prison, Paul Fehr was released. Seven years later, in 2013, he started Operation 6:12. The name takes its inspiration from Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Paul knew that he wanted his organization to be built upon the power of Christ and the protection of family. He knew from his own life journey how addiction can break apart a family, and how Christ is the one who can mend the brokenness. Paul, who is now the executive director of Operation 6:12, said, “We want to go straight to the source: why are you addicted? What is holding you back where you have to continue to put drugs in your body so that you continue to feel like a human being?”
Today, Operation 6:12 operates two residential facilities in the Holmes County, Ohio, region. The women’s facility, located in Sugarcreek, houses ten women. The recently expanded men’s facility, located in Fresno, houses twenty-two men. The facilities are open to people dealing with drug addictions, sexual addictions, depression, and anxiety.
These facilities are open to anyone from anywhere in the United States, and over half of the clients come from plain communities. It doesn’t cost anything to enter the program. The program is seven months long, with a purposeful focus. Paul said, “There is a reason that we are a seven-month program. It takes time for things to come to surface. A renewal of the mind also takes time. It takes months and months and months. You’ve spent your whole life getting to where you are, a place that is unmanageable… You spent all that time eroding your mind, and now it needs to be rebuilt. There needs to be a foundation, uplifting. It’s a thing of great skill watching the Lord rebuild these people.”
During their seven-month stay, clients engage in Bible study, Biblical counseling, prayer nights, weekly church services, and twice monthly Sunday fellowship meals.
Once in the program, clients work part-time to pay for their stay. After graduating from the program, Operation 6:12 also helps with re-entry into society. Staff from the program meet with faith leaders, family members, and loved ones to work out a personalized plan for a client’s success. Paul says, “Our intention is to armor people and prepare them for the battles of life.”
Paul has requested that readers please pray for Operation 6:12 and its future. He says, “We feel the prayers of our supporters. Pray for our staff, pray for the clients. Pray that we will be led and guided by Christ.”
If you are interested in participating in the program, call 330-600-0072.
For more information, visit their website at www.operation612.com.