Meet our Leaders
RSM Founder, Pastor, & CEO
Marley Jane Scalf
CFO & Worship Leader
Redemption House Worship Team Leader
My name is Joshua Scalf and the monster of addiction that has destroyed so many lives is the same monster that I’ve battled for the past seventeen years. He used to exhaust my every thought, consume my dreams and would steal any truth from my life. His grip is tight. His lies are blinding and your relationship with him will always end with the same outcome; pain, misery, and regret.
Who was I? I served thirteen years as a slave to addiction. Just like many, I was dope driven, wild-eyed and reckless. When chasing my high I didn’t care who or what stood in my way. My chaotic conscious was numb to consequence and my heart hardened to remorse. Drugs were my only purpose and for anything else in life, I simply didn’t care. My self-denial eluded the fact that I chose dope over anyone who truly loved me. I abused the love my family has for me to lure them in and get what I wanted. I smashed my friends and loved ones trust like a broken mirror. Even today, I can still see their anguish through the shattered pieces.
My Credentials. Living by crack-head concepts, I thought straws were for snorting, lightbulbs were for smoking and belts were better worn on the arm. I would say things like: “Rehab’s for quitters,” “Friends that stick together stay together,” and “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I thought it was always better to ask forgiveness rather than permission. I served four calendars in Virginia department of corrections because a judge didn’t see it my way. I’ve eaten more state beans, slept on more kindergarten mats, and sat on more stainless steel toilets than I care to mention. It didn’t take long to realize that prison life isn’t for me. I always seem to run my crimes and drugs in the same sequence. It didn’t matter which ones I done and I did a lot of them. From grand theft auto to distribution and from smack to speed. I went as far down the rabbit hole my mania would take me. For years, I fell deep into dejection and felt that I was at the point of no return.
Addiction is sick and so was I. My cravings were so commanding that there was nothing I wouldn’t do to appease them. Even the strict rules of drug court couldn’t slow me down. From taking expensive blockers sold at head shops, to drinking bleach or sure gel, I became a drug test specialist. I was a bathroom James Bond, looking the P.O. in the eyes, as I emptied my condom of clean pee. They started to catch on however, as symptoms of my using started to show. It wasn’t hard to miss the significant loss of weight, missing classes, and excuse-making attitude. I was called in for an unexpected drug test. Not prepared or able to cheat this one, my sickness took over. Addiction decided there was no length we wouldn’t go in order to stay out of jail. I told the girl I was seeing at the time that I was going to the basement. I instructed her that she would hear a chainsaw start, and when she heard it stop, to call an ambulance. She didn’t have to wait on the saw to stop because my screams were enough to drive her to dial 911. My horrid habit had so much control over my life that I took a 191 Stihl chainsaw, squeezed the trigger full throttle, and gashed my own leg. I was taken immediately to the ER where the doctor wrote the prescription I needed to cover the opiates in my system and an excuse for why I didn’t report for my drug test. I didn’t go to jail, but in all reality, I could have lost my leg or hit an artery and bled to death on that basement floor. The scar I wear today is a vivid reminder of how ill addiction makes us.
The absence of life replaced with regret. I realize that there are so many afflicted. Their lives are at the lowest of lows. Even those that are coming off drugs are withdrawing and each new sobering day brings an ample amount of guilt. Your conscience slowly starts coming back to life and remorse floods your heart. It replays all the bad you’ve done and shows the faces of all you’ve hurt. When my niece was born, my sister looked around the room for her brother. I wasn’t there. All our lives she looked up to me. From chicken pocks to imaginary tea parties, we did everything together. She was so excited to introduce to me this little precious new member of our family. Sadly, I chose dope instead of choosing to be an uncle and brother.
I remember as if it were yesterday. I had tweaked myself into a closet. The phone kept ringing and in between shots, I finally answered. It was mom on the other end with devastating news of my grandfathers’ passing. My conscience was so consumed by my addiction that instead of feeling sorrow, I felt that I needed another shot. Later, I pictured my grief-stricken grandmother, so frail, leaning over my papaw’s casket. The pain and suffering from the loss of the one she loved most in this world, pouring out through her tears. I can see her leaning to the right seeking the embrace of her grandson. She needed me to comfort her and return the love she so humbly gave me all my life. I gave her or my family nothing. While they lowered my grandfather in the ground, I sit secluded in a walk in closet with the door shut, sticking myself over and over again in the arm.
My papaw taught me to mow. He’d pull the cord on an out dated Murray push mower. When that old Bridge and Stratton engine fired so would my excitement. He’d say, “Come on son, help papaw mow.” My happy little feet would toddle across the yard. I’d stand under him both hands on the crossbar mid-way up the handle. He’d push, we’d mow and I’d smile like a hero. I loved that man and he loved me. I just couldn’t leave that closet to bury him or give my last respects. I don’t have children, but a lot do. Who’s there to teach them to ride a bike, throw a ball or tie their shoe? Who’s at home tonight, checking for the boogieman under their bed? They need you to hold them, protect them and love them. You can’t hold them unless you let go of addiction.
Future Fighter. We can’t change who we were or what we done in the past, but we can create who and what we’re going to be in the future. You can be that brother a sister can lean on or the grandson whose comforting hug replaces grandma’s tears for a smile. You can be a parent your child depends on. You’ll hear them say things like, “I want to be like you, daddy, or momma.” When you take them by their little hand, they look up at you, and their big smile is your hearts recognition of being a true parent. There’s no greater high. This overwhelming sensation floods your insides. It’s the same emotional intoxication that speeds your heart when momma hugs you up, looks into your eyes and you know she knows you’ve finally made it. Her baby boy is truthfully clean. No more nights spent crying at the door worried you won’t make it home. You’ve made it and going to make her proud. A strong loving family needs the foundation of strong loving men to hold it together.
Normally foreign. There is a problem we addicts run into our first few weeks of sobriety. We clean out from drugs, but our minds and emotions are still prisoners of the life style. The world we lived and knew has come to a sudden halt. The ringtones from your phone have silenced and the incoming texts stop vibrating your pocket. You don’t have to take Carl to the doctor on the fifth to get his pain script or Sara on the fifteenth to get her Benzos. You’re not selling seventy of this to make ninety of that. You stop flipping here or hustling there. In the grocery store and gas station parking lots, there’s nobody waiting on you or you waiting on them. You don’t have to drop nothing off or pick something up. So the question you frantically ask yourself is, what the crap am I suppose to do now?
A normal life like having a checking account or a valid driver’s license is foreign to us. We don’t know how to use a calendar or how to schedule things. We eat in our cars on the go, not at a dinner table. Six in the morning is when we get home, not go to work. “What’s a grocery list? Do I really have to go to a post office to mail this?” Being on time to us is being fifteen minutes late. It doesn’t feel right to be around a crowd without a buzz, so ball games, church or social gatherings are out of the question. Because we don’t fit right into society, some of us sadly relate sobriety to feelings of worthlessness, loneliness and lack of accomplishment. We feel we’re always being told what to do or who we’re supposed to be. We quickly trade our addiction for depression and depression leads us to use again. Don’t use again. Instead use these feelings as markers. Big yellow caution markers to let you know what made you feel this way and that you don’t want to feel it again. Depression can be turned into direction. Use the pain of your past as a reminder the next time someone offers you a pill or you feel the urge to use. Remember, it’s normal that you feel bad for the iniquities of your past. Those feelings prove that you have a heart and that the Spirit is still dealing with you. They will convict you to change into a better man, a man to be proud of.
Freedom. Who I used to be and who I am now is inspirational hope that each and every addict can live clean and purposeful lives. I was filled with the same torment. I was a liar and a thief. I was a junkie and a drunk. I let down, abused and abandoned my family. I was a murderer. I cussed and constantly spoke garbage. What I’m about to tell you is crucial. Everything that I was and all the evil I did, I gave it to my Lord Jesus Christ. He lifted it from me and put it on his back. As they cussed him, spat on him, beat him, he drug it through the streets and up to Golgotha, the Place of a Skull. They drove nails through his hands, pierced his side, and as the thorns punctured his head, the blood dripped onto my sins and covered them forever. (Matthew 27:27-50)
This world often produces problems too big for us to handle. No doubt, we need to accept responsibility and pull our part, but there’s gratifying relief in knowing that if we lose grip, God’s big hands are there to take hold. He can lift the overwhelming weight of addiction too. For me the Lord has taken away the appetite for my vices and replaced them with the hunger to help others. There’s no greater fulfillment than love. Love for your family, love for your neighbors, and in loving others, you’ll find love in yourself.
Stop your dependency for dope and start to depend on God. Allow him to ignite the strength that I know lives inside you. Let the Holy Spirit come alive and bang on your heart like a gong! The reverberations will echo deep into your soul and allow your spirit to strum alive with the life God breathed into you. You will feel the essence of God more powerfully than any drug. Your pulse will quicken. Your pupils will dilate. You will be high! Believe me, I know. Just let the love of the Lord flow through your veins. Your choices will be the right ones. It will give you the tools to repair the relationships that your addiction has damaged. You won’t have to talk because your walk will say it all. Family will trust you. Most of all, God can mend the pain that I know cries out from your heart every day.
Redemption Road. I won’t lie and say it’s an easy road to travel. There’re slippery spots, loose gravel and blind curves. Keep your eyes on Jesus and your foot on the brake just in case you have to turn around from a tempting situation. Remember there are detours and help that you can turn to. You have to accept it and stop making excuses. You are a new creature in Christ, old things are passed away. (2Corinthians 5:17) The old man and old feelings are gone. You don’t want any mood altering substance. Just because a doctor prescribes it doesn’t mean you can take it. Ask him to write you a get out of jail free card too and some disappointment-free pills. You can give them to everyone your relapse lets down along the way. Channel your addiction and direct it into something positive. Put the same energy you put into getting high into staying clean. Find hobbies to fill the void; Church, recovery groups, spiritual healing classes, hunting, fishing, dance, music collecting, bike riding, rafting, swimming, skating, taking nature walks with Jesus, go to storytelling, food tastings, yoga, the gym, and there is so much more. Look for it like you looked for dope and you’ll definitely find it. Turn to being a parent. There’re a million things to do with your kids. Go find the fun. Working is a must. It builds self-confidence, self-worth and shuts down the devil’s workshop: which is idled time. Find a job you enjoy. If you regret it you’ll quit it. Keep a job while you look for one though. If you made it through withdraw, I’m pretty sure a cruddy job won’t knock you down. It won’t take long to find what you’re looking for. When you’re clean, you’re responsible. When you’re responsible people will hire you.
The last direction I can give you is to pray. Not just before a meal. Not just before bed. I’m talking all in, all the time, one on one, you and God. So I say to you, “ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him that knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10) One of my favorite scriptures. Ask for strength, seek wisdom, and the door of sobriety will be opened. This appetite for freedom is not just for me. It is for everyone that wants it. To the addict that suffers, there is hope. To the family that’s hurting, there is help. God has called Recovery Soldiers Ministries to the battlefield of addiction. Through him we can end the struggle. Take this blessing and opportunity. Call us if you or your loved one is in the pit falls of addiction. Sponsor and support us if God has placed a burden on your heart to help. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)
“As a young girl I was full of innocence and purity. I trusted EVERYONE… I spent my early years of childhood in my daddy’s junk yard. We lived in a tent and eventually a small shack. Most of the time we didn’t have a running vehicle so we walked. As a 4 year old little girl I would hold my daddy’s sweaty hand as we walked the roads. My daddy was a broken, hurting man full of hatred and pain…he filled his gaping wounds with alcohol. His addiction robbed him of me and so much more. I was taken in by my aunt and uncle at 5 years old…they introduced me to a world unknown… a world of running water, lights, a real bathroom, home cooked meals and most of all UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. They loved me as their own. They made every effort to make me feel like I belonged. My biological mother stepped in and wanted to spend time with me…I was ECSTATIC! My real mother….my blood…my heart…my momma. I would get to go with her on weekends and this was such a special time for me because I loved my mother. However, my mother was a drug addict. She was a broken woman seeking love in men, drugs and alcohol. Knowing of her brokenness made me love her even more… I wanted to save her. I wanted her to be safe…I wanted to see her smile. I loved my momma. Satan however did not…he hated her, he hated me…he only wanted to steal kill and destroy. And that’s what he did. My mother let the devil get in and shatter my innocence…her and her boyfriend sexually molested me when I was only 9 years old. I was destroyed, hurt, confused and afraid. That little girl that TRUSTED everyone suddenly could TRUST NO-ONE. By the time I was in high school I started doing drugs to numb the pain…I sought out my healing and my redemption through a pill, a pipe, a joint and fornication. I experience death, hell and the grave of depression and hopelessness. I was manufacturing and shooting meth in my veins every single day. By the time I was 18 I was seeking death. My misery had reached an all time high when the drugs were no longer enough to escape. I desired death… Revelation 9:6 “They will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.” My addiction sent me through…Death, Hell and the Grave. In saying that…what did Jesus experience? Death, Hell and the Grave! Then…JESUS ROSE FROM THE GRAVE AND CONQUERED FOREVER VICTORIOUS! Today I am honored to say that I have shared in Jesus’s suffering! I had to go through death to CONQUER , I had to go through hell to experience VICTORY and I had to go to the grave to RISE WITH JESUS! I was met by a loving father in a tiny jail cell. I cried out from the depths of my despair and every ounce of my being cried out. Only then, in that place of complete brokenness was HIS love made perfect! His power and might was most strong there in my weakness! Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Jesus resurrected me from the dust! He breathed life into my dry bones…he put a new heart in me and removed my heart of stone. Although he met me…I still had to get up and follow Him. I entered a faith based recovery program ready to spend 13 months humbling myself and letting God transform me with His word. I went on to graduate and serve as a biblical counselor for 4 years. I have spoken to thousands of people over the past 5 years since my conversion, I have proclaimed the name of Jesus as I pour out my heart and share my journey as a prodigal returning home to my loving father. He loved me in my brokenness…even then He shed his precious blood for me. I am forever humbled for his act of LOVE. I have fallen in love with this Jesus Christ…This Savior who redeemed me from the hand of the enemy…who brought down my heart with labor, who by his loving kindness and endless mercies led me to repentance. Thank You Jesus! Oh how I love you my KING, my ROCK, my REDEEMER! May I forever reflect your glory! “ ~Marley Jane Scalf
“There are millions of people that battle addiction everyday and I’m sure if you asked each one, “Is this how you expected your life to turn out?” Each one would answer with a resounding “NO!!!” See just like everyone else I had dreams. I had goals. I had plans and addiction crushed everyone of them. The bible says satan comes to steal,kill,and destroy. Well, that’s what he did to me and the saddest part of it all I never recognized that it was satan. I just assumed this was the hand that I had been dealt. Instead of being Ben Cole ready to take on the world I was Ben Cole the dope head that the was overtaken by the world. I graduated high school with a major drug problem that I was able to hide very well. I was fortunate enough to receive a basketball scholarship out of high school and after a few months on campus I was arrested for possession of marijuana. At the age of 19 my life consisted of drugs and basketball, basketball was taken away from me so now my life consisted of drugs. Over the next 12 years there are not more than a couple of weeks I could string together that I could say I was not doing drugs. They consumed my life. I cared for no one but myself and would do whatever it took to make sure I got my next fix. All I wanted to do was escape the reality that I was addicted to drugs. Now to show how satan can twist your mind listen to how crazy this sounds. I USED DRUGS TO ESCAPE THE REALITY THAT I WAS ON DRUGS. The Bible says that satan can not drive out satan. But that didn’t stop me from trying. After numerous failed attempts to quit using through secular programs I finally hit rock bottom one more time and I say one more time because I hit it often I hit it everyday my life was rock bottom. Right before my 30th birthday I was in a high speed chase with the police and after it ended I was sitting in jail charged with 9 felonies and numerous misdemeanors, my family finally did the best thing they ever did for me. They left me in jail and I was at a point in my life that I had no one to turn to except to an almighty God and don’t you know that’s what he wanted the whole time. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for there’s is the kingdom of heaven” and let me tell you I was poor in spirit I was broken. God blessed me with the opportunity to go to an amazing faith based program in South Carolina. It was a 90 program and I ended up staying 3 years. God has completely restored my life. God has mended my relationships with people I hurt. God has opened doors in my life that I never imagined could be opened. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be doing what I am doing today and now I realize that’s because of that word “I” See I did drugs, I drank, I lied, I cheated, I stole. The first 30 years of my life was “I” the last four have been God and every now and then “I” get in the way. My plans are not his plans, my thoughts are not his thoughts. Even after being off drugs it took me a while to realize this. I can honestly say that I never think about drugs and alcohol anymore but I also see satan come at me a thousand other different ways and just like with my battle of addiction if I try and fight any battle he will destroy me. I am not greater than satan but GREATER is the one who is in me than he who is in the world. Whatever you are battling in your life STOP you are going to lose. The world is going to tell you to pull up your boots and fight with everything you got. God is saying STOP just submit to me. Be obedient to the Holy Spirit of God that He will place inside of you. Stop fighting a fight that has already been won. BE REDEEMED!!!!!!” ~ Ben Cole
God was there when no one else was, It was 3am when I found Jesus… At 16 years old I was like most teens drinking, sleeping around and doing drugs. I put all my time into working out trying to get a great body so guys would look up to me and girls would want me. So at 20 years old and after 3 1/2 yrs of hard, dedicated working out. I was in the best shape of my life and all that hard work had truly paid off. After that it didn’t take long for me to become addicted to women. I treated and misused so many women and I did my best friends wrong. This went on for awhile, then all of the sudden it all just stopped. My friends stopped hanging out with me, girls wouldn’t reply on facebook or on the phone. I was confused.. It was like my phone was broken or the internet was frozen. This went on for around 3 months.
I was so incredibly lonely, words couldn’t express it. So one night after I got off of work, I went home very depressed and was sitting on my bed with my laptop listing to some music on YouTube when I heard this voice, it wasn’t audible and I can’t really explain it but something told me to type in “Jesus film” on YouTube. So I did and what’s the odds, there was a “Jesus film
1-13”. So I watched them all and throughout the videos I got a chill-like feeling running through my body. It felt like cold chills but times it by 100. It was as if fire was going through my body. After the movie was over there was a man’s voice asking if you would like to surrender your life to Jesus and so I did. As soon as I did, something like a 100lb weight pushed on my shoulders and I felt so condemned, so dirty. Then all of the sudden something like a film real was going through my head and all I could see was the sex, drugs, alcohol and hurting I did to everyone.
But, before all of this I didn’t feel as if any of what I had done was wrong. I just felt this is what you do when your young, right? But I was so blind. It’s just like that amazing grace song “I once was blind but now I see”! I truly see now! So anyways, I fell to my knees, crying and pleading with God to forgive me. It felt as if I had cried all night. Then I stood up and took my drugs and alcohol and threw it in the trash. God changed my heart. I went around asking forgiveness and began loving people. God can do amazing things through you if you give Him your heart!
May God Bless You.