Our Chains of Grace Ministry has had a solid year of growth.
We went from 8 beds to 90 beds For a residential program of re-entry, this is paramount. Parolees cannot be released in parole until they can show they have a bed to go to immediately on their release.
- We helped place six persons with other ministries when our beds were full.
- We went from four donors to twenty donors this year.
- We were recognized by inclusion in the Restorative Justice Ministries of Howard Payne University, Texas Baptist Men and the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. These ministries sought us out. The CLC made a significant contribution to our work in 2018 and has more than doubled the amount of their promised support for 2019. We are very grateful.
- We added a much needed Internet Support Tech, enabling us to communicate our purpose world wide and to help us start to monetize our social media.
- We saw six people come to Christ and experience baptism.
- We saw ten of our residents either go off monitors or off parole or probation, most of them early. This is unusual for any ministry to see residents coming off anything early and points to the respect this ministry has gained.
- We saw all our men and women who can work gain employment. They are now able to pay their parole and counseling fees, as well as paying the regular work taxes as all citizens. They are producing something of which they can be proud. Several are using their salaries to catch up on back child support, which adds up while one sits in a cell. Others are paying restitution and other fees. They are productive, instead of eating up tax money in a cell.
- We saw one of our fellows win exoneration. His record is now expunged. The State of Texas is reimbursing his fees and costs. He is a free man. It does happen.
- We helped fund a Success in Life Banquet for parolees and their families. We also helped fund job fairs and County partnership councils. We compiled a list of more than a dozen felon friendly employers to get decent jobs, as noted above.
I suppose this list of accomplishments is too long to read and too brief to tell much of our story. We have produced hundreds of worship services and Bible studies, logged many miles running folks back and forth to jobs, parole visits and counseling services. We have stood in line for hours on end to get a person released to us and then stood in line for many more hours to help them get their needed documents to live and work in the free world.
We have seen families reunite (to some extent) after years apart. One of our men attended his son’s college graduation in the company of a sister who he had not seen for nearly seven years.
We received one gentleman who had been thirty nine years into a sentence. He is 62. He has spent two thirds of his life in prison. Imagine how bewildering this world would be if you were suddenly set loose after 39 years in prison; no job, no home, no family; only the clothes on your back and a state check for $100. Then imagine a Christian ministry swooping down on you to put you in a safe house with a warm bed, food, clothes, medical services and job placement, all at no cost to you until you get on your feet.
One man told me, “I know I am still on earth, but I feel like this is Heaven.”
We have had some failures. Some fellows just cannot stay with program, even with one that only asks them to obey the rules, keep clean and tell the truth. We get “had.”
We have this statement we pass around, “I have been had. I am currently being had. I will be had.”
Still, we remain in the work for the glory of God. We wish to serve God by serving those who most desperately need help. Please remember that any success we have takes a person out of a cell and helps them become productive. Your tax dollars can go for something else; roads, schools, medicine and food for the poor.
Do you want to know more about us?
Go to www.chainsofgrace.org. You can read about us. Please pray for us. Please hit the Donate button and set up to give us financial support monthly. Your support is much needed.
Or, if you still write checks, like me, send your donation to
Chains of Grace
PO Box 1344
Midlothian, Texas 76065