MIFFLINTOWN - As Dan Grix drives down U.S. 322 and state Routes 11 and 15, he sees the adult book stores and gentlemen's' clubs. He looks through the local newspapers and notices the drug addicts, drunken drivers and sex offenders.
Then Grix prays.
Several months ago, the Juniata County man formed a prayer group to focus on helping local addiction problems.
Grix is unashamedly certain about the way he believes addictions should be dealt with.
A relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to heal the soul that has been broken by drugs or alcohol or sexual addictions like pornography, he said.
The church has the answer to these problems, but it is not meeting the need, Grix said.
"There is no other answer except brokenness and repentance and the power of the cross and God's love and discipleship," Grix said.
While some have approached Grix about beginning support groups or opening a local crisis center, Grix said he believes prayer needs to come before any bigger plans to reach addicts in the Juniata Valley.
"How do we get from here to there? I don't know, but I know how to start," Grix said. "Prayer is action. From there (God will) show us what he wants us to do."
Currently, the Juniata County prayer group meets at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at the River Church office, Industrial Park Road, Mifflintown.
Since it began this summer, several churches have joined the prayer effort, Grix said.
About a year ago, a similar group formed in Newport, and when Grix learned of the effort, their groups began to partner in prayer, his wife, Cathleen, said.
The Perry County group meets at 7 p.m. on the last Tuesday of every month at the New Life Assembly of God Family Life Center in Newport.
"If God's doing something, he's not going to speak to just one person," Dan Grix said of the two groups. "I'm praying God will show us people from Mifflin County. I think God wants to do something."
Interest and prayer support from Mifflin County churches is Grix's next goal, he said.
The group also wants to get the word out to the local addicts that there are people praying for them and there is a way out of their struggles, Grix said.
"It's disgusting what they do, but God loves them," Grix said.
Grix, who works full time to support his family, still finds time to visit the local prisons and minister to those who are incarcerated or work there.
The group prays for the inmates that Grix meets, lifting their first names up - to keep anonymity - to Christ, he said.
"A lot of people in jail don't have other people to pray for them," Grix said. "I'm here because people prayed for me."
Those who struggle or have family members who struggle with addictions are welcome to attend the meetings, Grix said.
Prayer for the wardens and corrections officers also is important, he said.
As to their concern about the gentlemen's clubs and adult bookstores along U.S. 322 and state Routes 11 and 15, the group is praying for the owners, employees and those who go into the shops, Grix said.
"... on Route 322 another strip club has opened, making three in total," Grix said. "There are five adult bookstores on Routes 11 and 15 ... Who do you think go into these businesses - the men in our community. Sexual addiction devastates marriages and families."
Ultimately, the Grixes hope that the groups' efforts will lead to the shops being closed down, Cathleen Grix said.
If the community support grows, the Grixes said they may consider beginning a crisis center through Teen Challenge, a Christian program that provides solutions to life-controlling drug and alcohol problems.
Cathleen Grix said she and her husband already have connections to Teen Challenge through their mentors, a couple who opened a Teen Challenge center on Long Island.
"We're just average people," she said. "Everybody has issues: husbands, wives, teens."
Ultimately, they hope to provide a place for local addicts to go where they can receive help - whether it be a crisis center or a support group, her husband added.
"We need to take action," Grix said. "The best place to start is in prayer."