Updated: Aug 19
One of the things I love about working with Better Life Integration and Support is having a front row seat to the amazing stories of our care recipients. Viewing God at work in an individual’s life in such radical and transformative ways is such a privilege.
This month, I’ve been looking forward to sharing TH's remarkable story with you.
But first, some background: Better Life works with Federal Corrections, so every offender we serve has a sentence of over two years because of the severity of their crimes. (Sentences of under two years fall under provincial corrections.)
While in prison for his serious crime, TH had a radical and life-changing encounter with Jesus. It’s important to note that it wasn’t some mystical experience that came about in isolation, but rather was supported by the actions of some very key people. The Institutional/Site Chaplain and volunteers had a significant, invaluable role in engaging with TH—and through their engagement and example, TH encountered Jesus.
To pause for a moment in TH’s story, this is why the role of volunteers within Corrections Institutions, working alongside Site Chaplains, is so invaluable.
We’re incredibly grateful for the volunteers who work alongside the Site Chaplains to facilitate training such as Alpha, Purpose Driven Life, and Jim Putnam’s Real-Life Discipleship ("reproducible" discipleship, where a disciple is defined as someone who is discipling others.)
All of the above influences were instrumental in supporting and leading the way to the experience that TH had with Jesus. But, their impact is also exemplified in what TH decided to do next.
TH recommitted his life to Jesus and was baptized while in prison, and then, recognizing the value of what he had experienced, began discipling other offenders and helping them to find and follow Jesus.
The influence of what Jesus has been doing in TH’s life since is almost immeasurable. TH has had the privilege of baptizing three other offenders who came to Jesus and were being discipled. 70 other offenders came out to witness it!
In a prison culture that often can lean towards cynicism and despair, the example of TH and the others who have come to know Jesus has been far-reaching in multiple ways.
First, while TH, now out of prison, is in a halfway house, employed, and rapidly moving towards being released from his ‘warrant,’ he continues to recognize that God’s purpose for his life is to invest back into others.
TH recently shared with one of our Better Life chaplains how he has been struggling with painful areas in his life. During their time together, our chaplain received a phone call from an offender still with prison. TH was able to talk with this other man and encourage him in his faith, and what it means to continue to trust in and follow Jesus, especially through the restrictions of COVID-19.
But—and this is so significant—TH not only provided support for another, through the phone conversation he gained perspective and clarity about his own situation, re-affirming God’s purpose for his life!
As the restrictions of COVID-19 continue to ease, Better Life hopes to be able to hold several Vision Nights this fall in various locations (tentatively: Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Victoria).
TH is going to be the featured speaker during these nights to help all of us envision how to be engaged in this valuable work of healthy reintegration!
Please keep an eye on our newsletter or the events space on our website for updates as to when and where Better Life Vision Nights will be taking place. We hope you can join us!
On behalf of our amazing team at Better Life Integration & Support,