PENIEL Ministries: Restoring Lives

“The road that you have chosen has led you to the steps of a burning house and your feet are already in the doorway. We are committed to doing all we can to prevent you from going in.”

This quote from Dr. Marion Spellman’s book, Restoring Broken Lives, perfectly describes the incredible mission of Peniel, an intensive, faith-based drug and alcohol treatment center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, that works to effectively treat men and women who suffer from chronic substance abuse. Peniel has been restoring lives since 1980.

By Fernanda S. Ramirez

Peniel is a place where God’s love and warmth is felt from the very moment you step into the building. During my first visit as a board member, there were many things that truly touched my heart—the love in the eyes of the staff, the smiles, the colors of the rooms and graceful decor, the profound and edifying writings on the walls and above all, the peace that filled the atmosphere. It all told a story of hope and redemption.

As I listened to the counselors, many of whom have been there for more than twenty years, I realized that this beautiful place is not only holy ground to those who come seeking help but also to those who after receiving help, remain at Peniel in order to help others reach the same freedom that they experienced. The 70% program success rate can be credited to Peniel’s mission of dealing with the body, soul, and spirit. Other rehabilitation centers give focus to the body and soul. Peniel ́s clients are introduced to their spirit and shown how to give it to God for a true and life-long transformation.

A Woman After God’s Heart

Vivacious and energetic, Dr. Marion Spellman, founder and current CEO of Peniel, is a fervent believer and a woman of strength. Her love and unwavering faith in the power God has led her to create a program that not only restores people, but transforms them into new Creations in Christ. She is a firm believer in second chances. In Restoring Broken Lives, she writes, “In spite of overwhelming odds and facing an uncertain future with two young children, Momma was able to get her ‘second wind’ and became a successful businessperson.” It is clear that Dr. Spellman found boundless inspiration in her mother’s strength and transformed her personal pain into redeeming grace. Her love and compassion and her devotion to the restoration of broken lives comes from her own personal pain as she saw her brother’s own experience with the devastating effects of drug addiction and how this addiction hurt the whole family.

Dr. Marion Spellman has been undeniably led by God throughout her life, and she seeks
God ́s Kingdom above all things. Though Peniel has faced countless trials and tribulations throughout the years—especially those in the financial area—God has always provided through miracles and the promise of a bigger and better plan.

Peniel not only works to address substance abuse, but their team is also trained to address sexual, gambling, and pornography addictions as well as domestic violence. Their program provides college course credit for their clients while they receive treatment. Eighty percent of clients enrolled in the educational program consistently maintain the incredible feat of a 3.5 or higher GPA.

Through Dr. Marion Spellman, her remarkable team, and most importantly, God’s provision, Peniel has restored the lives of men and women entangled in the deadly web of addiction. The staff and counselors at Peniel fight for their clients on a daily basis and intercede for each of them in prayer so that none will step farther into the burning house. I invite you to join Peniel in their quest for freedom.

To learn more about Peniel Ministries and to offer support, please visit

Fernanda S. Ramirez, MSc, is a Mental Health Counselor and a member of the Church of God International Women‘s Ministries Advisory Council.

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