Pastor Larry Munguia, a recovered addict, founded The SOBER Project in 1997. The SOBER Project is a fellowship by addicts for addicts; a faith based society helping each other not only in recovery, but all possible aspects. Larry’s story goes like this; God put it on Larry’s heart to reach out to the people he understands; people that have lived a life of drugs, alcohol and anything that has kept them from knowing the Lord.
In 1997 Larry’s life was changed. He had lived a life of self-will. He drank and drugged and thought he was Lord Larry until it all came crashing down on him. He lost his wife, his daughters, his home, his health went down, the little respect he had from his family and his job. Within two weeks his whole life came to a stop. He was lost without his family. He had no way out of his circumstances. Then one day his brother offered him a chance to go to a convention of the Promise Keepers in Los Angeles. All Larry knew was that it was a Christian men’s group. Larry uttered these immortal words, “I’ll try anything.”
So Larry went to Los Angeles in search of a new way and found an old way; the way of Jesus Christ. Actually Larry had known Jesus all his life, but just never really became friends with him. He never had a real relationship with him until 8:40 pm on May 2, 1997. That is the exact date and time he asked Jesus to come into his life and take over. Larry was sitting in the Coliseum with over sixty thousand men who witnessed his conversion but only a few would be able to see the outcome of that day.
Finally Larry had his life back on the right track. He had been delivered from the drugs and alcohol and now needed to prove to his wife that he was a changed man. He came home from Promise Keepers with a renewed spirit but the same old body. He did not look any different but he knew he had changed. When Larry came home and told his wife that he was now a born-again Christian and that he needed to be the leader of his home, she was so excited. She said, “That’s great! You don’t live here; you can go be the leader of your apartment.” His wife, Bobbi, has known Larry since they were in grade school at St Ambrose. She has seen every con, scam and lie Larry had ever tried; he should not have been surprised. He went to his apartment and began to pray for God’s mercy. He prayed that God would reunite him with his family.
It took some time, but in just a few months Larry got his wife back, his children back, his home back, the respect of his family like he never had and a brand new career. As Bobbi and Larry got closer to God, he drew them closer to each other. The Lord brought them to a new Church, The Church in the Desert. Pastor Jay Moore welcomed them in and saw something in Larry that only he could see. Jay began mentoring Larry to become a Youth Pastor. At the same time Larry started classes at Pima College. Within a short time they built a youth group of over forty kids and four adult leaders. In 2001 Larry graduated with a degree in Social Services. Jay taught him how to minister and gave Larry the opportunity to hone his craft. Then Jay was called to a church in northern California and Larry was looking at starting his own church.
Now, years later, Pastor Larry Munguia still helps people to recover from all types of addiction. This together with Pastor Mark Vavra (Associate Pastor), Tracy Odom (Youth Pastor) and the fellowship of the congregation of The SOBER Project. They do this every day of every week. Larry preaches to a congregation of people and visitors whom he understands and whose needs he knows. People from far have traveled to be helped by Larry and the fellowship of The SOBER Project. Recently a man showed on a Sunday mornings service, he had traveled without his own means of transportation on a difficult road from Boston to Tucson. This after he had typed in “sober” on the internet and the first thing that showed was The SOBER Project…
The SOBER Project is expanding and currently has meetings all over Tucson, in Montana and in the tri state of Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. There are plans to start The SOBER Project in Phoenix. Definitely more to come!
My advice is for you to check out The SOBER Project’s calendar, find one of their meetings or services and see if YOU can find at any of these what YOU are looking for. Perhaps a small cross that you can hang onto when you become desperate…
Written by Michael Neylon
Owner of Taste Of Peace, LLC
The Sober Living Home for Women in Arizona