Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

According to google, the word opportunity is defined as “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something“. Last week, I had an incredible opportunity to share about the opportunities I’ve received and open up opportunities for others to join in order to create opportunities for still others to have an easier time of transition and ultimately a better life. …I know, I know, that’s all jumbled and confusing and I used the word ‘opportunity‘ too many times, but it’s true! Let me break it down for you…
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Photo Credit: Commissioner Mike Pipe
Last week I had the chance to share about Building Hope (the mentoring program I helped create) at a Mokita Dialogue on prison systems. The Mokita Dialogue was an event put on by the Jana Marie Foundation and hosted by New Leaf Initiative. They have discussions every month about important topics that need to be talked about, but that people don’t really like to talk about. For example, mental health, homelessness, prison system… not easy topics, but necessary.
So at the prison system talk, about 50 people gathered in room to acknowledge issues, and dream of change. The exciting thing is we didn’t just dream and be on our way, we then got to share tangible ideas, inspire those in the room with the capacity to take action, and invite people into what’s already being done. Several people came to chat with me after to learn more about what it looks like to be a mentor. I don’t know if they will sign up, but I hope and pray they will. It doesn’t take much to believe in someone and help them to learn they are valuable just because they are alive. To show that a prison system doesn’t define our humanity. To sip coffee in the sunshine while exchanging work stories. It doesn’t take much to spend an hour a week with someone, but to that someone it just might mean the world.
If you’re a local and interested in becoming a mentor, please reach out to me, or follow this link to apply!

img_8514To the people of Calvary Church and Shelby,

My name is Michael and I’m currently housed in the Centre County Correctional Facility. I’ve been incarcerated since March of 2015. I was 18 years old then, now I’m 20 and approaching my release date. I’m currently sentenced to 23 months and 29 days. As I’ve spent time here I started my journey of recovery. My drugs of choice are heroin and bath salts.

Recently I have been introduced to the Bible, the book of God. I’ve been familiar with the 12 steps of NA and I was able to get a recovery Bible. I’m a new believer and I read my Bible and pray every day. My faith is a little rocky but as I continue my journey God seems to send signs of strength to me. I’ve spent 2 Christmas holidays in jail, the first was a hassle and I was not sure how to respond to an act of kindness from people I don’t know. Calvary Church sent Christmas bags and it was the first time I felt like I mattered. I’ve felt that I didn’t matter, that a convicted felon was forgotten even though I’m a person with a family and hopes and dreams.

I’m older now and I’ve grown and matured mentally, emotionally and physically. I’ve taught myself to appreciate the small things and remain grateful for all things. I would like to say I am grateful for Calvary Church. I’m grateful for the gifts they sent all of the inmates. I’m grateful for all the time, money, and effort that was put into making the Christmas bags possible. It means a lot to me that total strangers put together gifts for people who are often shunned and looked down upon by society. It hurts to say that but it’s the truth. I committed my crime as a minor and was charged as an adult. I made a mistake because I needed to support a habit. As a 17 year old kid I wasn’t able to worry about the consequences of my actions. I’m really grateful that God has put me through these tough times so I could grow. If it weren’t for God I would not be writing this letter of thanks and gratefulness. Thank you Calvary Church for all that you do for us inmates. I’ve already met one member (Shelby) and I’d like to meet more. 

Sincerely, Michael

*His name has been changed and spelling corrected, but otherwise this is just a copy of what I received. Since it was addressed to the whole church I thought this was the best way to get it out to the most people. Thanks to everyone who was a part of this…there are way too many people who gave that I cannot reach you all and am so very grateful.

“Sometimes when it gets real bad I curl up on my bed, hide under my covers, suck my thumb and sing Jesus loves me. It’s all I can do,” said one of the 30+ year old woman I meet with every Thursday in jail.

Anxiety sucks. post it
Jail sucks.
Addiction sucks.
Mental disabilities suck.
But Jesus loves.
And God is faithful.

As I read Psalm 91 again and again with the girls in jail today verse 15 kept jumping off the page at me. “He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble…” God doesn’t promise that we won’t have trouble, but He does promise that He will be with us, even in our trouble. And he will deliver us and redeem us.  This is a fact we can cling to. This is truth. God is bigger than our feelings, greater than our problems and stronger than our fears.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Yes, Jesus loves me….yes, Jesus loves you too.

Do you ever try to think back to a time before you knew?

It’s easier to not know.

It’s easier to not care.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to not knowing and so not really having to care.

But it’s too late.

I know.

I know names.

Names of people who right now are sleeping…or maybe pacing outside without a place to stay tonight.

I know.

I know names.

Names of people who are using drugs…wishing they weren’t, but not believing they are strong enough to stop.

I know.

I know names.

Names of my friends.

Friends who think this life is all there is.

Friends who think that if this is all there is maybe it isn’t worth it after all.

Friends who think that somehow they can stop it all from hurting, not working, or crashing in on them again.

I know.

I know The Name.

I know Jesus.

The only One who can fix it all.

He saves.

Redeems.

Pursues.

He fights for us.

He helps us overcome.

He knew the bad things I would do.

He knew the bad things my friends would do.

He knew all of those things before He chose to die in order to save us.

He knows.

He knows the end of the story.

I know I can trust Him.

I know that He is the hope my friends are looking for.

It’s worth it to know after all…so if you know, tell someone else.

They are worth it.

God created them.

He knows them, and wants them to know Him too.

And if you don’t know that…lets chat!