Change… is Possible.


The Story of New Life

Featuring: New Life USA and its Community of Missionaries

The Story of New Life is our most extensive project to date spanning across five years of production and almost 600 hours of raw footage – in an attempt to capture the many processes of change one can go through towards redemption.

The series takes an up-close and very personal look at a rather unique rehab ministry approach, ran by a group of missionaries living on a beautiful land nestled in a remote area in Cabool, Missouri. New Life USA has its incredible origin story in St. Petersburg Russia and is now helping many in the USA find restoration.

The center integrates a strong work ethic with spiritual values as a critical part of the recovery process. As a part of rebuilding broken lives, participants learn creative building and trade skills on this 105-acre farmland, while coming face to face with the deeper issues of addiction that almost destroyed them.

The end result of this documentary experiment is a comprehensive examination of the process of physical, social, psychological, and spiritual change some can go through that can radically transform their lives.

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“Heart of New Life Principles”

Series in Post-production
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For its third volume of shows, Building a Difference aimed their cameras towards a different type of rebuilding. In the small rural town of Cabool, Missouri sits a spiritual oasis for recovering substance abusers known as New Life USA. Originating in Northern Russia, New Life is a non-profit rehabilitation center that integrates a strong work ethic with spiritual values as a crucial part of the recovery process.

Enrollment in the program is free of charge but requires a year-long commitment to a stringent regimen of hard work, accountability and learning new construction and trade skills. The center’s 102 beautiful acres serve as “training ground” for the enrolled who maintain it, growing their own food and engaging in various building projects on the property.

In the mid-nineties, Armenian founder Sergey Matevosian felt a strong call to rescue hopeless addicts literally rotting away in the underground basements of St. Petersburg, Russia. Fifteen years later, his ministry has saved thousands of precious lives, and eventually expanded its successful program to America.

A part of Building A Difference from the start, “Uncle Dave” Vartanian introduced the center to the documentary series after he heard Matevosian speak to a church in Jacksonville, FL during a fundraising mission. “When Sergey had described how those lives were being saved, it blew my mind. I knew we had to take a trip to Missouri and Russia to experience it firsthand,” explains Vartanian.

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Mounting up cameras once again, Building a Differencetraveled to both Russia, and Missouri, capturing on-camera something truly worthy of sharing with the world. “At the center in Russia we saw hundreds of people completely restored to physical and spiritual wholeness; some of whom we had the privilege of interviewing,” said Mick Richards, Producer/Director.

Heading up the American counterpart to New Life program overseas are graduates of the program themselves; some even relocating to the US as missionaries to the hurting to help start the Missouri center.

With many on a waiting list to enter the program, the need swiftly exceeded the center’s capacity. “My brother Alex is a very talented architect in California,” Uncle Dave explained. “When I told him about the situation, he graciously offered to design plans for a brand-new women’s building. Churches, volunteers, and the good people of New Life got it up fast and it looks gorgeous.”

“Because this project was a self-funded, volunteer-based labor of love for Uncle Dave and I, the complete production took place during multiple trips to Missouri within a period of about five years,” shares Richards. “Admittedly, that was not the original plan. And the amount time we suddenly found ourselves investing…and the seemingly never-endinggrowing size of this personal project…was getting quite frustrating to both of us, to say the least.

“However, we also had come to realize that as a result of the many trips and length of time following so many participants throughout their journey, we realized that what we had been able to capture a very unique and valuable process…of real inner change.

“Therefore, we concluded that we not only wanted to tell the history and foundations of this special rehab program, we also feel it is critical to this story to show to journeys of our new friends through their extremely challenging recovery process, capturing both their struggles and victories along the way.”

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