“So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV)

My journey of service with CMDA began a few years ago in a way that is shared with several other people from what I understand – I was recruited by Dr. Darren Caparaso! Well, he didn’t recruit me directly to CMDA. Rather, as we got to know each other while we were attending the same church, he planted a seed within me that I would make a good volunteer recovery coach. After the training, I joined the Embrace Recovery team as a coach and volunteer.

That led me to my next connection (another that has blossomed into a true friendship). Through volunteering with Embrace Recovery, I got to know Pastor Frank. We attended a few recovery conferences together and really hit it off. The trips were fun and memorable, and we were able to present to others what we had learned and learn a lot ourselves. On one of our trips, we were able to escape the cold of Buffalo. We called ourselves “The Boys of Winter” as we struck out on our mission and adventure!

While serving alongside Darren and Frank, an exciting new opportunity came about. A multi-use space for CMDA was coming and much help was going to be needed to get it ready for some highly effective ministry to begin taking place. This was another chance to contribute and serve, and I would soon meet the local CMDA director, Debra. I didn’t know it at the time, but God would use Debra to help me in big ways through some difficult personal issues.

For my part, I was able to help 1100 Main Street come to fruition by assisting with planning, writing Bible verses on the floor under the new carpet, coordinating the moving of furniture and equipment, painting, and many other small tasks. The new space just opened and it is phenomenal – To God Be the Glory!

Volunteering with CMDA also helped me to re-connect with some dear friends, Karin and Mark. I have been able to help lead worship alongside Karin, and both Mark and Karin have loved on me and spoke truth into my life.

The people highlighted in my story are just a few of the connections and friendships that I have made through volunteering and serving with CMDA. They are an example of what I believe is the most important part of serving: Getting to know and love others who are co-laborers in God’s work. It has been my experience that as much as God has allowed me to give to CMDA (time, energy, creativity, and resources) He has given me much more back through others.

Celebrating His Big Plan,

Brad Bauer