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Gambling, Overwhelming Debt topics of newest Close To Home pamphlets


Close To Home Gambling Cover
Dealing with Gambling - an addition to the Close to Home series of pamphlets from Mennonite Publishing Network

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August 20, 2009
- Staff

WATERLOO, Ont. and SCOTTDALE, Pa. As a long-time Christian, Barb never imagined herself involved with gambling. But after trying an electronic gaming machine once, and winning some money, she found herself going back again and again to play.

At first, she had some big wins. As she spent more time gambling, she fell deep into debt. But she kept playing, hoping that one big win could help her get all her money back.

Over time, her gambling led to missed social and family commitments, to lying and to increasing debt. She even stole from work to feed her habit.

Because she managed the family finances, she was able to keep her gambling secret from her husband, Randy. But it all fell apart when her husband discovered unpaid bills and an empty bank account. She was forced to tearfully explain she had lost the money through gambling—and begin the process of seeking help.

Barb’s story, which is based on a real-life situation, is told in Dealing with Gambling, one of two new pamphlets in the Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN) Close to Home series. The other new title is about Dealing with Overwhelming Debt.

In the two pamphlets readers can see how people overcame their problems with help from the church and professional counsellors or organizations. They can also find information on identifying problems or addictions, along with biblical perspectives on the issues and suggestions for steps towards wholeness.

“We produced the two pamphlets because gambling and debt are growing problems—and Christians are not immune,” says Close to Home series editor Byron Burkholder. “Pastors and Christian counsellors tell us that they are seeing more people who are struggling with these issues.”

The goal of the Close to Home series is to provide pastors and caregivers with tools they can use to help people who are struggling with issues that can be hard to talk about, he adds.

“By having them available in various settings in the church, whether on literature racks or in pastoral care situations, people who may be reluctant, or too embarrassed to admit they have a problem, can begin seeking assistance,” he says.

In addition to pamphlets on gambling and debt, other pamphlets in the series are about dealing with alcoholism, pornography, bullying, child abuse, depression, drug abuse, eating disorders, extreme anxiety, marital discord, acquaintance rape and spouse abuse.

Titles projected for release in 2010 include dealing with bipolar disorders, teen pregnancy, post traumatic stress disorder and others.

The Close to Home pamphlets can be ordered at

Mennonite Publishing Network is the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.

Close to Home pamphlets also available here.