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A Mississippi homeless shelter gave a drug addict a second chance. Now she’s paying it forward.

Heather McClung poses for a photo at Mountain of Faith Ministries Thursday. (Courtland Wells/The Vicksburg Post)

Heather McClung’s rock-bottom found her lying in the yard one night after her then-boyfriend had kicked her out of their home. House arrest kept her from leaving the property; the painkillers in her bloodstream meant she couldn’t call her parole officer.

Years of drug addiction, abusive relationships and prison time had nearly destroyed McClung, who recently told The Vicksburg Post’s John Surratt that night laid the foundation for her recovery.

“I told God … ‘I can’t do this anymore. I’m done. I’m letting it go. You can have it,’” McClung said. “Obviously my way’s not working.’”

McClung’s story seemed doomed for tragedy. As a single mom in her late teens, she developed a cocaine addiction within an abusive marriage, a habit she temporarily kicked while pregnant with her second child only to trade it in later for painkillers and methamphetamine.

“Pain pills weren’t as bad as shooting up cocaine, so I thought I was doing better,” she said.

Addiction and abuse stole years of her life, and it wasn’t until she discovered Mountain of Faith Ministry—an emergency homeless shelter in Vicksburg—that McClung found a turning point in her life in more ways than one.

McClung is now the ministry’s transitional shelter manager, as well as secretary-treasurer for the ministry’s board of directors.

“I answer the phones, I do anything that needs to be done,” she said. “You name it, I do it.”

Aside from serving the shelter’s needs, she helps other women who come to Mountain of Faith hoping to turn their lives around.

“I share my story with anybody and everybody, because I finally realized that the reason why I didn’t have peace,” McClung said. “… All I wanted was peace in my heart; I felt like I was in turmoil all the time, and it was because I hadn’t made peace with God.”

McClung says she’s “easy to talk to” given her own struggles.

“… I have been through a lot of things,” she said. “I’ve lost my kids, I’ve been through drugs; I’ve slept on the streets.”

“You can’t get to heaven on works, but I’m doing this to make up for all the bad things I’ve done before,” she said. “I lived a lot of my life wrong, and this is my second chance, and I’m doing it right this time.”

Read more about McClung’s journey and work with Mountain of Faith.

Director of Content Development Magnolia State Live
Alex McDaniel is the director of content and audience development for Magnolia State Live. She’s also the editorial director at Oxford Newsmedia, where she oversees The Oxford Eagle, Oxford Magazine and special publications.
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Director of Content Development Magnolia State Live
Alex McDaniel is the director of content and audience development for Magnolia State Live. She’s also the editorial director at Oxford Newsmedia, where she oversees The Oxford Eagle, Oxford Magazine and special publications.

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