Ministry Stories
Diaconal
November 1, 2021

A “juvenile lifer” and incarcerated at age 16


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Some recent positive stories from 70×7 Life Recovery:

  1. Robert was a “juvenile lifer” and incarcerated at age 16.  Due to a 2021 Supreme Court ruling, his life sentence was overturned and after spending 44 years in prison, he was released.  Many things in the world have changed since 1977 and he was overwhelmed on many levels.  This was compounded by a learning disability and he doesn’t read or write.  When he came to 70×7, we helped him settle in – provided him clothing and shoes, hygiene products, bus passes, helped him find stable housing and provided cleaning supplies.  We even had an opportunity to bless him with an air conditioner during the extremely hot summer months.  We helped teach him how to use his phone and how to utilize the bus.  He came through our Changes Class and Serving Together and felt comfortable and at peace here.  New Day Staffing found him a job and he has been thriving at this employer partner who has the grace and patience to help him.  He is excited to work and feels very blessed about this second chance.
  2. When Rick first came to 70×7 he was referred by his parole officer and he was angry.  Angry at life, at the prison system, and at all the barriers he kept encountering and anyone who contributed to it.  He was hurting also as his son had recently passed away and he had no family left.  He came to Changes Class defensive and ready to argue, but God spoke to him through staff and others he encountered at Serving Together and he was able to change his story and change his life.  He demeanor and attitude changed completely and he was matched with a great job with New Day Staffing upon graduation.  He was paired with an understanding mentor who came through our program previously and has been a huge support to him.  Rick recently had a hard setback:  he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  He stopped by our office frequently during the diagnosis and testing process – to keep us updated and for support and prayer.  On the day of surgery, his employer drove him to the hospital.  Staff visited him during recovery.  He walked into our office recently with his mentor – he’s recovering and still on that journey, but hopeful.  We were so excited and blessed to see him again here!
  3. Our Cards for Prisoners Program Manager, Paula Cresswell, received a check in the mail recently for this ministry for $30.  To most people, a donation of that amount is small – less than the cost of a tank of gas.  This donation, however, was sent by an inmate, David, at the Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, MI.  He is an inmate participant of the Cards for Prisoners program.  Inmates receive very little compensation for the work they do while incarcerated.  This $30 reflects about 2 months of wages for David and a lot of sacrifice on his part.  We are humbled and blessed by the hugeness of his gift.

Submitted by Cheryl Wyma
Diaconal Ministry Report


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