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'Feels like a new life:' Matthew House in Fergus Falls mentors those out of jail, trying to stay sober

The Matthew House welcomes men who are just out of jail and beginning a new life without addiction. The house is all about hope and healing.

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Residents of Matthew House, which is a ministry and home for men just released from jail, and in recovery, work on an art project.
Contributed / WDAY News
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FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — A century-old house in the center of Fergus Falls is transforming lives.

The Matthew House welcomes men who are just out of jail and beginning a new life without addiction. The house is all about hope and healing.

Saxon Enders, 24, of Fergus Falls is proud to show off his room at Matthew House.

"I got a fish," Enders said, pointing to his pet beta named Azool.

Enders is one of 10 men who call this place home. For him, it is nothing less than a changed life.

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"I've kind of got my happiness back. I don't wake up every day dreading the day anymore. I've had time here to really heal," Enders said.

As a teenager, he got into drugs. Specifically, heroin.

"Right then, I was a mess. It was a serious lack of (a) life," Enders said.

Drugs led to frequent trips to jail and a life low.

"I felt like I did know where I was headed, and I was okay with that. Circumstances of my life had brought me to a point in my life where I didn't think I could go on," Enders said.

Now, Enders has been at Matthew House, a faith-based mission that gives men the tools to stay sober and out of trouble. Bible studies are a big part of the week.

"It takes time to get used to being sober and it takes time to believe that there is a better way forward, and for many of these guys, they've been in and out of jail or in and out of prison or in and out of treatment centers, and just haven't had the opportunity to have enough time with good relationships that hold them accountable and support them," said Todd Hylden, Matthew House's director.

More from WDAY's Kevin Wallevand

Pete Konrad manages the house and knows what these men have lived. He's lived it.

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"I went off to prison. I did three years before I showed up here with my prison box," Konrad said.

He spent time in jail and prison for drugs and assault. He now is instrumental in the jail ministry program at the Otter Tail County Jail. Also, Konrad and other mentors come to the house and bring the clients out into the community for projects.

"It's my calling," Konrad said. "It's been so rewarding for me, very life changing."

Enders has big dreams. He wants to get a GED diploma, a job, and maybe even learn how to play the accordion to help celebrate his new life.

"I absolutely feel like it's a new life, for sure," Enders said.

The Matthew House is just kicking off a big capital campaign to raise $150,000 to help purchase the house and do much needed upgrades. To donate, visit https://matthewhouseff.org

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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