By Donna Marable

Growing exponentially since its 2014 founding is an understatement about Big Fish Ministries! They were created to restore hope and rebuild broken lives through Christ-centered recovery solutions. In the first 5 years since accepting the first student/resident, Big Fish Ministries in Foley, Alabama has served over 500 men and women, provided over 40,000 nights of shelter, 140,000 hot meals, numerous counseling sessions, education hours and graduated from their faith-based recovery programs over 50 people who are now living independent, addiction-free life styles as contributing residents of the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Executive Director Pastor Isaac Stooksberry says: “We don’t believe once an addict, always an addict. We passionately believe in true, lasting freedom in Christ who makes all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17). If the person coming to Big Fish Ministries does not know Jesus, the aim is to reach him/her for Christ. Everything we do is Christ-centered because we believe He is the way, the truth and the life.”

The 12-18 month Pathway to Purpose recovery programs are Bible-based and tailored to those experiencing hopelessness because the Ministry knows there is hope for every person! After living at BFM many struggle upon re-entering mainstream society. Finding freedom from addiction and self-defeating behaviors is an enormous first step in the recovery process requiring a lot of support; therefore, a new transitional residence has opened with the residents working full-time in the community. An open house is scheduled for November 11, 2021.

In addition to the recovery programs, there are internships, discipleship and other small-group classes, life-skills education, job readiness training and the Outpatient Recovery program, offering a beginning journey to healing and life transformation. A ‘GRO’ community service (God, Redemption, Opportunity) is held every Friday evening with food, fellowship, worship and Biblical teaching. When leaving the program, students are already plugged-in to a supportive church home.

When the Ministry was first forming, the Bible story of ‘Jonah and the Whale’ was laid upon hearts: Jonah felt helpless, he found himself in a hopeless situation ready to drown, he called out to God who sent the big fish, while inside the big fish Jonah repented and decided to live a life fulfilling the purposes of God, then God spit him out; thus, the Ministry’s name/logo.

The 501(c)3 non-profit seeks to meet the needs of the homeless and addicted with no state or Federal funding. Provision is through support from individuals, churches, businesses and 2 flourishing thrift stores. The website,, has links for meeting staff, asking questions, reviewing program descriptions, becoming a monthly Freedom Partner, easily applying for acceptance into a program and more. There are multiple ways of becoming part of everyday miracles impacting those recovering, their families and our community. Big Fish Ministries goal of helping those in need to fulfill God’s vision for their lives is succeeding!

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