Thoughts on Reentry, Reconnecting, and Reigniting

Deb Gore, Discipleship Unlimited Volunteer

Discipleship Unlimited knew we needed materials to prepare women on the inside to be victorious on the outside. Reignite had the vision for a film project, and Deb Gore, a gifted writer, speaker, and teacher, put it together. She worked with 20 women who have been successful on the outside.

They share their journeys back in “Reentry with Words from the Outside.” This curriculum consists of a DVD and a personal workbook for each woman. Reentry is being used effectively in women’s prisons in Texas.

Prison Chaplain Laurie Tenpenny from Wisconsin attended Reignite this year. Laurie came to Christ in 1995 at a DU conference. Four months later she traveled to Mountain View. That was the birth of her vision for the least and the lost. As a chaplain, her passion is to see women Set Free. During Reignite she received news that our Reentry material would soon be test piloted in Wisconsin.

Deb Gore’s thoughts on Reignite:

In the last week of April, a group of women (plus some men) gathered in Brownwood from all across Texas. They laughed and cried, shared their stories, and worshiped God. Who were these women? They were “alumni” of the Discipleship Unlimited Faith Dorms who are now out in the free world. And their spouses, close friends, and DU volunteers joined them. The weekend offered a time to “Reconnect” with one another and “Reignite” their faith.

These women shared openly about struggles and loneliness as well as victories and friendship. The theme was community: community with God and community with fellow believers.

Struggles following reentry are real. Housing and jobs are often closed to those convicted of felonies. Family members can offer help, but also may bring up old wounds. Church and fellowship is vital but not always welcoming and available.

But Reignite provided a needed rekindling of faith and friendships. Lori Riggs reminded the women they “never have to let their past dictate their future.” Lori served five years at the Hobby unit and now works at the Johnson Unit as a licensed drug and alcohol counselor.

Another “alumna,” Tammy, shared that after being incarcerated seven times she is now a sponsor to three women in AA. She has a job and is happily married. Judy shared that after nine years in prison, God has restored her relationship with her kids.

Women also shared about heartbreak and struggles. They were surrounded with prayer.

Reignite reminded all of God’s goodness and of our need for one another!