Dear Friends of Better Life,
Our goal is for the content we share with you to be as meaningful and valuable as possible.
As mentioned previously, we want to use this space to develop and communicate the pathway Better Life supports men and women on as they move from eligibility for parole to integration into a faith community.
But at the same time, we recognize the importance of stories.
We recently shared some stories of transformation in the lives of men and women coming out of incarceration with the local church they have connected to—remotely via Zoom, of course—and many of the staff were brought to tears. God is clearly at work, and what He is doing in the lives of men and women both within the Corrections Institutions and out on parole is awesome!
So we're going to start weaving in more storytelling into our content calendar, alternating between highlighting various aspects of the process of reintegration and practical resources, and sharing the powerful stories of our men and women.
I also want to invite you to sign up as one of our prayer partners. Reintegration can be challenging.
We would love to have you praying with us for the men and women coming out of Corrections and practical needs and challenges they face.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the list and get regular monthly and as-needed urgent prayer requests.
If you are a part of a faith community or ministry team already supporting an individual who is incarcerated or paroled, please email us prayer requests at email@example.com so we can pass those along to our prayer partners on a monthly basis. (Please write "urgent" in the subject line if it's time-sensitive so we know to share it right away!)
Today we're sharing the story of one of our care recipients.
YC had been doing well for a number of years after a significant time of incarceration. He is married and is meaningfully employed.
However, like with many the men and women we support, the COVID-19 pandemic, with all of its many changes and challenges, has had a significant impact on his well being.
YC recently violated a condition of his parole and was in lock-up for 48 hours—but came to a powerful understanding through his difficult experience.
He wrote his support network these words:
I am writing this letter because I have been struggling very much in the last few months. My stressors have been building up and I have been having difficulties dealings with all of this.
I was locked up at the Chilliwack RCMP detachment for 48 hours on Easter Sunday. I was released on the following Tuesday. I was detained because of a breach on my parole conditions.
On Easter Saturday, feeling really depressed and overwhelmed with a lot of the stressors in my life, I went to visit a friend and started to feel really depressed. I started to drink one beer after another. After a couple I thought that I might as well keep drinking because I realized that I have already (messed) up, one or twelve doesn’t make a difference on (messing) up. I didn’t want to risk driving my vehicle anywhere, especially under the influence. I haven’t drank for so many years and not having had anything to eat all day, the drinking really hit me hard. I ended up sleeping there on their couch.
There was also very poor cell reception, so that I didn’t communicate at all with my (wife). (My wife) was extremely concerned about my whereabouts, she didn’t know if I had committed suicide, ran off the road and was laying at the bottom of a ditch or ravine somewhere. What I have done was extremely selfish and irresponsible. My bad choice of actions that Easter Saturday with dealing with my stressors and depression was out of character for me. I am truly sorry for having put (my wife), her family and all of my support group through hell by not having been able to deal with this in a better way.
It is too simple to say that this proves that I am only human, but no, I should have known better. This incident has made me realized that one of the contributing factors for this shortcoming is that I have been trying to deal with some issues by myself. In the last few years I have been distancing myself from my support group that I have built over the years.
I have now realized that I have the need to reconnect and tighten my support group. Realizing that I can’t do this on my own, I can’t deal with all my stressors all at once. I can deal with those stressors when they are one at the time, but when I let them pile up I get extremely overwhelmed and my depression goes into overdrive. Unfortunately, I have a difficult time opening up and sharing my weaknesses because I don’t want to burden anyone. That's the reason that my response to “How are you?” is usually “fine.”
So I am reaching out to all of you, in the hope that I haven’t lost your friendships, trust, love and support. I am truly sorry if I have let anyone of you down. I’m so grateful to have my dear wife by my side to support me through these difficult times, but my wife cannot be my only support, because of my history, this is way too much for even her to handle. That is the reason why I need to reconnect with all of you.
Please pray for YC. His story represents the very real challenges of reintegration, as well as the game-changer having a supportive faith community can be in the lives of the men and women we care for.