2017 ended with an explosion of JOY!
We were able to give gifts to more than 1,200 women in three of our units. Our team of volunteers includes those who themselves have been behind prison bars. Some of our team went into the dorms where we talked, listened, and prayed.
Tammy Crawford knows very well what it was like spending Christmas inside, and now as a volunteer, her joy is contagious. She told the women, “I have been locked up many times, and if I can make it on the outside, anyone can make it. The difference this time is I have Jesus with me, and I am working my program.”
Mildred graduated from the Murray Faith Based Dorm. She is a pillar in her family. Before prison, Mildred used to give lavish gifts to her children. During her time in the faith dorm she received a letter from her children. “We don’t want what you can give us. We just want you.” Since her release, finances have been tight. But her gift to them is stability, peace, and joy. She has shared Jesus with them and He is the gift!
Later, our ex-offenders and volunteers had an opportunity to share their stories in the Chapel service or in the faith dorm. We hear lots of stories of the changed lives of the offenders and volunteers.
Ever since my son Terry was so transformed by coming into prison with me, my motto has been “When you’ve tried everything, prayed every prayer, and don’t see change – pray they’ll come into prison with you!” That was where Khristie was – she had made some bad choices, and her marriage was in trouble, but when she started volunteering in prison and teaching about forgiveness, she was truly set free.
Her husband saw the change in her. Dan was there at the Christmas celebration. He said, “I have you women to thank for saving my marriage.” His overflowing gratitude to God, his wife, and the women in white confirms again what Jesus said in Matthew 25: “I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Visiting with Jesus changes the direction of our lives. We get into the river of grace and mercy with our Savior.
Thank you volunteers and ministry partners for your generous gifts and for your prayers. Last year was our best ever. We are so grateful.