Mary Dinger once thought of becoming a surgeon and working in war zones.
“Instead I work toward healing hearts and souls not bodies,” she said.
She worked for years in the health care field but continued to feel a call into a healing ministry. She and her husband, Nick, moved to Aitkin in 1995.
Mary formed Sowing Seeds for God in 2009, an outreach for alcohol and substance abuse. By 2016, Mary was focusing on ministry full time and in 2017, it became a Christian nonprofit 501c3. It is Bible-based and nondenominational, Mary said.
Sowing Seeds for God’s outreach program is called United 4 Recovery and holds church services and support groups for those recovering from addiction and anyone struggling with life issues and need support. In addition to that, the ministry has two sober living homes in Aitkin able to house 11 men.
“Addiction in this community is three generations deep,” Mary said. “If there’s no place safe to live, they go back to the environment they left. We have a heart for healing families so we heal communities and break the cycle of addiction.”
Men living in the homes are required to attend a church of their choice weekly and one support group. Bible studies are held in the homes. United 4 Recovery helps the residents find employment and helps them with transportation. The homes operate as a family and everyone has a voice, Mary said.
The Dingers truly understand the consequences of addiction. Nick and Mary were married in 1994 but divorced in 2000, partly due to Nick’s addiction. Their son became a methamphetamine addict. Three of Mary’s five siblings became addicts, all after the ministry was in motion.
“God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called,” Mary said.
“In 2015, God reunited Nick and I and we were remarried on Valentines Day,” said Mary. “It’s a journey to see God use my life experiences to begin this ministry. It’s humbling. What happened in my family is nothing short of a miracle.”
The family is on the recovery road. Nick works as a full-time mechanic and helps with the ministry. Son Justin O’Neal is developing BIC (Brothers in Christ) Repair and Welding. His shop will take in donated vehicles, repair them, and donate them to the men living in the sober homes or to others in need of a vehicle.
Daughter and son-in-law, Emily and Thomas Bonar, are involved with United 4 Recovery. Thomas is the worship leader and IT person. Emily helps with the meals served twice monthly after the worship services. Granddaughter Jada is a greeter for the services.
The worship services are held at 4 p.m. every second and fourth Saturday at Heritage Assembly of God Church in Aitkin.
Mary said the ministry needs volunteers, people with various skills such as nonprofit experience and knowledge, home repair talents and people who could assist with church services and meals.
The Sowing Seeds for God ministry is totally dependent on outside donations. To find out more about how you can help, visit www.sowingseedsforgod.com or call Mary at 218-670-0536.