Gateway Landing: A Passion for Saving
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Michael Cline Photography
“Rise up, Oh men of God! Have done with lesser things,” chant the men of Gateway Landing in Leland during their morning worship.
Gateway Landing is a 12-month faith-based rehabilitation program for men battling addiction and the song, “Rise Up,” is sung every morning as a daily reminder of how Godly men are supposed to live their lives.
“Lift high the cross of Christ!,” they say in unison as they raise their wooden crosses. “As brothers of the Son of Man, Rise up, Oh men of God!,” shout the men.
This month Gateway Landing celebrates its five-year anniversary.
“We took in our first student February 8, 2012 and it’s been going ever since,” said Rod Lattie, co-founder and executive director. “What’s unique about our program is you cannot pay your way through, you have to work your way through.”
All men enrolled in the program are required to work at one of the jobs provided by Gateway. Seventy-four percent of Gateway’s budget is paid for by the men themselves. Men must commit to living one full year in one of Gateway Landing’s three houses, where each day they are inundated with God’s Word. Residents follow a schedule of up by 5:30 a.m. for scripture reading, followed by corporate devotions, breakfast, then a full day’s work and home for nighttime Bible studies and bi-weekly church services. Close to 150 have come through since 2012, thirteen stuck with it and graduated. Those who did are now working, thriving members of the community.
Dwight Bowden is one of them.
“When I first came, I had nothing. I had lost relationships with my family through five years in prison. I wanted to be a better man, to be a man my mom could be proud of and my nieces and nephews could look up to,” said Bowden who recently acquired his very first car and now volunteers at Gateway giving men rides to and from work.
“I arrived at the program on a Greyhound bus and now I ride around in Buick Enclave. God will bless you, you just gotta be obedient,” said Bowden.
Executive director Rod Lattie’s heart for men struggling with addiction comes from his own personal battle in 2006. As a former track and field runner at UNC-Pembroke, Lattie graduated with a degree in sociology and worked his way up in industry management, but found himself addicted to cocaine.
“Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer. It can get you regardless of age, race, creed, color, national origin, socio-economic background or education level,” said Lattie.
It was a similar 12-month faith-based rehabilitation program that saved his life in 2006, Lattie says. Then, God began tugging at his heart to do the same for other men.
“I just kept getting these urges to do something,” he said.
Lattie and his friend, Pastor Jay Young, along with an advisory board of pastors and his wife (Connie), launched Gateway Landing with the purpose of turning men’s lives around through a strict, Christ-centered rehabilitation curriculum. Men who do not do what is expected while at Gateway are given a punishment of having to memorize all 176 verses of Psalms 119, the longest chapter in the Bible.
“…One of the most heart-warming things I see is when we have graduates and they’ve got jobs and are back on their feet and they were not expected to. If we didn’t run our program the way we do, I don’t think they would be in the same place financially,” said Connie Lattie.
“Sometimes I think I’m crazy for doing this, then you see the mother who says I’m so proud of my son, he’s getting help,” said Lattie. “I just want to be a humble servant to help men overcome.”
“Last time I saw my mom, she actually told me she was proud of me,” said Bowden. “Whatever God has in store for me, that’s what I do. It’s not about me anymore and that’s a good feeling. I can actually say I have peace in my life today,” Bowden said.
Gateway depends on regular donations from two churches, individual donations, and the men’s earnings. The ministry also relies heavily on an annual summer garage sale fundraiser and an annual spring banquet coming up April 16.
Want to go?
Gateway Landing 5th Annual Fundraising Banquet and Silent Auction
WHEN: April 29, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Elah Baptist Church Fellowship Hall 1527 Old Fayetteville Road Leland, NC 28451
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do for them, and not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16