Hope still bears the scars of her birth parents' war with addiction. Heroin and alcoholism left her childhood marked with abandonment, isolation, and worthlessness. Even after she was adopted, Hope struggled with thoughts of suicide.
Adulthood came with its own troubles. As a mother of two, she developed stage-four kidney cancer. Her husband of 20 years packed up and left. God, do you even care? Hope wondered.
Hope needed an anchor for her unstable life, and she started searching in all the wrong places.
FOUND IN THE DARK
Desperate, Hope turned to a drug enterprise. Her choices got her arrested, charged, and sent to Women's Huron Valley Prison. In prison, she felt more lost than she’d ever been. Alone. Forgotten. Ready to give up.
But Christ never gave up on her, she says. Even in prison, He persisted.
It was in a Prison Fellowship Academy™, a holistic life-transformation program, that her faith came alive again.
"All the volunteers were Spirit-filled and were great with us," shares Hope. "They brought depth to each lesson. The lessons were sometimes easy and sometimes tough. Sometimes I did not understand at all, but we got through them. I have been listening to the Holy Spirit and following instruction from God's Holy Word."
THE STRENGTH TO HEAL
"The Lord was there holding my right hand, even though I was dealing with so much hurt," adds Hope.
Not long before Hope's Academy graduation, her biological mother visited her in prison. Her mother passed away shortly after the visit. Hope is grateful for the chance they had to mend their broken relationship—something made possible only by God's grace.
"It was really a blessing," says Prison Fellowship field director Denise Harris. "They talked, they cried together, and some healing took place."
"I want to say thank you to Prison Fellowship from the bottom of my heart for making a transformation in my life," says Hope. "After all the programs that I have ever taken, and I've taken over 20 programs, Prison Fellowship's reentry class has brought me a whole new hope, new joy, new peace, and new love."
"I pray Prison Fellowship will be around for a long time," she adds.
Now Hope looks forward to her upcoming release. She has no friends or family where she is being paroled, but Prison Fellowship staff have helped connect her with a local church.
And Hope is already dreaming of working in reentry ministry one day, ready to help others with stories like hers.
Did you know that thousands of prisoners are released each day? They are your neighbors. Their children go to school with yours. And many of them just want to start over.
Don't miss the chance to come alongside them, welcome them into your church family, and offer friendship and support. Find out how you can volunteer and support prisoners and their friends and family.