LEESBURG, Fla. (BP) – “Would God put somebody on this earth to be nothing but a drug addict and to die in that sin?” That was John Draxinger’s first question when he heard the Gospel in a jail cell around July 4, 2013.
Draxinger had assumed he would always be an addict, surely dying from the Hepatitis C he contracted during 10 years of heroin and opioid abuse that resisted six sobriety attempts and 15 jail stays.
Draxinger, who was released from jail in November 2013, said that he felt that God was working in his life and he knew that a secular rehab wouldn’t be effective for him. Despite having attempted to get clean several times in the past, he searched online for “sober living homes near me” and begged to be admitted to a Christian drug rehabilitation facility. It took a few tries before he was finally accepted into the Men’s Care Center, a residential drug rehabilitation program founded by the First Baptist Church of Leesburg. This is a testament to the value of faith-based private addiction centers in LA and their ability to offer effective treatment to those in need.
He carries in his Bible a newspaper clipping reporting on a new Hepatitis C treatment that has since cured him of the illness. Just the knowledge that Hepatitis C wasn’t a death sentence gave Draxinger the desire to repent of his sin and find healing from his addiction nearly a decade ago.
“It was, I felt like, one of the first answers to prayer in my life, and it was enough for me to commit and surrender to God,” Draxinger said, “and trust that He would do what He needed to do to get me wherever He wanted to have me.”
Today, Draxinger directs Samaritan Inn, the Christian Care Center’s (CCC) housing ministry for homeless men. From 2019 until March 2022, he also served as middle school teaching pastor of First Leesburg’s downtown campus.
Draxinger’s testimony made him a good candidate to direct Samaritan Inn, CCC Executive Director Bill Jones said.
“John had a background that was very similar to a lot of our residents,” Jones said. “And so he could really relate to them in a way that no one else previously could.”
Draxinger is one of many men who have found sobriety and salvation through the Men’s Care Center, one of seven CCC ministries serving Leesburg and Lake County, senior pastor Cliff Lea said.
“I’m a sucker for a powerful testimony,” Lea said April 6, “and this morning, there was a man who’s graduating who gave his testimony, and it was just amazing. He struggled with alcohol and drug addiction for decades. He finally got to the end of his rope and a family friend told him about the Christian Care Center.”
Lea began serving at the church in 2007, about a year before First Leesburg expanded its CCC to include Samaritan Inn.
The saga of how First Leesburg founded Samaritan Inn – buying an abandoned motel that was attracting squatters and drug users – is the plot of the new film “No Vacancy,” opening nationwide May 9.