The war against drugs may seem like a never ending battle, but one local pastor says he is not backing down despite threats and even gunshots fired at his car.
Pastor Stephen Wilson works with UNITE and the Leslie County Drug Court to bring a change to their community, helping people overcome drug addiction. With a desire to reach out to those struggling with addiction, just as he once did, Wilson ministers in peoples' homes and communities and now he claims some of those he's helped are the ones making threats against his well being. Though he's thought about pulling back his efforts, Wilson says he will not let them win.
Sunday morning, songs and prayers continued at the Middlefork United Methodist Church despite intimidation to the Leslie County native.
"I was very excited to come back to the community hoping to make a difference, hoping to share the knowledge that God had given me and work hard in the community," Wilson said.
But not everyone appreciated Wilson's charismatic outreach to the community.
"My daughter and I were sitting at our kitchen table, our oldest daughter, and we were praying. No longer had I said amen, I heard a shotgun blast," he said.
No one was injured, but the windows of Wilson's car were shot out and bullets grazed the roof.
"If we're going to make Leslie County and Eastern Kentucky the kind of place we all want to live in, he's the kind of people that we need and we appreciate him for that," said UNITE Deputy Director Paul Hays.
Wilson's message against drugs is frequently a part of his sermon.
"This man is really doing a good job in his area in trying to help rid his community of a really serious drug problem. That is destroying the children and the future of Leslie County," Hays said.
Wilson says most are thankful for the community's support to overcome addiction, yet he is still apprehensive of a select few.
"It's not fun to live in a house with your lights off and you worry about every vehicle that goes by," Wilson said.
With support from his family and congregation, Wilson does not intend to back down.
"Nowhere in the scripture does it say it's going to be easy," Wilson said. "I'm going to be here as long as God lets me."
Wilson says he has no anger toward those who made the threats and he will continue to reach out and pray for those involved.