One of the great joys of working in ministry is seeing lives changed by the power of the gospel. My husband Daren and I have had the privilege of getting to know two such people whose lives have been impacted by the love of Christ and now they are impacting others.
Daren first met Randy through the The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) class at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. Randy has been serving a ten-year sentence but during this time he has sought Christ and continued to grow as a believer. He also has become an excellent student of theology—even learning to read and write in Greek! Daren eventually performed the marriage ceremony of Randy and Monica inside the prison (he also provided their pre-marital counseling). Monica is a godly young woman and single mom.
After they got married, I began to disciple and mentor Monica. Lately, I have seen Monica grow deeper in her relationship with the Lord. I have seen her passion to encourage the wives of other inmates—to be a support to them and share Christ with them. She is a shy person who doesn’t like to be the “one in front” or the leader. However, she recently took on a project called Christmas Connections. This event was for families of inmates. She organized a beautiful meal and program for these dear people. She wanted them to know that there are people who care for them as well as their loved ones in prison. I am so proud of her for stepping up to lead this event!
In December, I was able to witness an amazing thing: a TUMI graduation inside the prison! Randy was among seven other men who completed all 32 hours of coursework. This is no small accomplishment! These classes are seminary-level courses and require hours of homework, reading, papers and exams. I was able to sit next to Monica as she watched her husband walk across that stage and receive his diploma. What a joyous celebration!
God took these two people and plucked them from sadness and darkness and transformed them into future leaders of the church and His kingdom. He joined them together so they might fulfill their dream of becoming full-time ministers upon Randy’s release. God redeems and transforms each one of us. It does not matter whether our past included a prison sentence—we were all equally in darkness and in bondage to our sin. How marvelous that we serve a God that not only saves but redeems and repurposes!