Ministry Stories
January 23, 2019

A bucket of sunshine

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I’d like you to meet Naka.

Naka had served 6 years in the Michigan corrections system and more recently a shorter time in Kent County Jail.

He left in a state of absolute despair, struggling with discouragement over employment prospects and depression to the point where he was contemplating suicide.

That’s the hopeless state Naka was in when he came to 70×7.

What he found at 70×7 was, in his words, “like a bucket of sunshine … I found hope and motivation with classes led by people that had real-life experience. Doors that had always been closed were now open.”

One of the guest speakers at the classes was a 70×7 employer, and Naka connected with him and is now a full-time employee at that business.

Naka will be the first to tell you that his previous life was one of bad choices, for which he takes full responsibility. Now, he has made these choices for goals in his new life: financial stability, the ability to provide for his children, have his own business and become a motivational speaker! (He’s already been speaking to new 70×7 classes, sharing his experience and hope.)

Naka is just one of hundreds whose life has been changed just in 2018 through our Christ-centered program.

And the number continues to grow.

Since 70×7 in Holland merged with Criminal Justice Chaplaincy to form 70×7 in Grand Rapids, the number of men and women served has more than doubled, and the rate is accelerating.

We are receiving many more referrals from probation/parole officials. Why?

They know the program works and produces results.

With our life skills classroom instruction, our employment readiness training, our job placement services, our 179 mentors and 21 employers, we are perfectly positioned to serve a growing number of returning citizens.

And, we’re not only serving a growing number of recently released men and women, but are increasing our reach to minister to the families of those that are incarcerated during the period of imprisonment.

We believe that this is a population largely under-served by any ministry and filling this need will help move toward our ultimate goal of restored lives by helping reconcile and rebuild families.

Naka Sims used the term “sunshine” for his experience with 70×7. We have momentum and an opportunity like never before to reach so many more men and women with the love of Christ and programming and services to restore lives.

As always, thank you for your support and your prayers.

Submitted by Cheryl Wyma
70×7 Life Recovery

Diaconal Ministry Report – Winter 2019

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