April DU Updates and Vanessa's Story

Two new Reentry series are in the final stages! Thank you to those who prayed for our days of filming. Jesus’s presence was experienced!

Deb Gore with the film crew!

Deb Gore has been hard at work interviewing women who were in DU programs while incarcerated. Then she has been writing curriculum to help prepare those on the inside for success on the outside.

After a year of interviews, the filming team went into action for three 10-hour days. Our Faith Dorm Alumni came from all over Texas to share stories of how to connect with believers and how to overcome adversity. Lifeway Haven generously hosted us!

Thank you, ministry partners, for making this dream a reality. It is amazing watching God expand our territory. The feedback on our first Reentry module has validated the importance of this work.

First of Seven Dorms

Murray Dorm was officially birthed in 2006. It was extremely challenging, and the women in white gave us staying power. Vanessa was my cheerleader, always encouraging and always smiling. She always sat in the front row. How I love these women and their testimonies to the greatness of our God.

Vanessa’s Story

“I was chosen to be in the first-ever faith-based dorm for Discipleship Unlimited. It was at the Lane Murray Unit in Gatesville. My introduction to Jesus Christ was in Vacation Bible School as a young child. The local church had a bus ministry.

As an adult, I became a bible study teacher and a leader in my church. In prison, I followed the same pattern: attending church, singing in the choir, participating in as many bible studies as I possibly could. However, it was in the faith-based dorm that Linda Strom shared her testimony.

She shared how she had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The part that resonated with me is when she said she talked to Him and He spoke to her. I had never heard I could have an intimate and personal relationship with Him, especially after my crime. All I knew is I wanted what she had.

My quiet time with Jesus became the most-important part of each day while in the dorm. I learned to talk with Him and hear His voice. I was released from the Lane Murray Unit after being in the dorm for almost two years.

I became a member of a small church in Austin. Although I had always been a member of a mega church, I felt I needed accountability and wanted my pastor to know my name. I started attending Celebrate Recovery at another church, since my church didn’t offer it. It wasn’t long before I became a CR small group leader, which in turn led me to share my testimony at Saddleback, which is Rick Warren’s church in California.

I accepted a position as the head chaplain at Harris County Sheriff’s Office. I was able to develop the first Reentry Dorm there. Currently, I teach a weekly Celebrate Recovery class at the DU Hilltop Trusty faith-based dorm. I volunteer on several units, both with DU and my church. I am a life that has been changed by this ministry. I am eternally grateful and thankful that I am allowed to pay it forward.”

Thank you, ministry partners, for your support and prayers.

We are overwhelmed with His love.

Linda Strom