“The Aftercare Ministry has helped me to apply the Word of God to my life. It has changed my life for good. I am not the same person that I was before I went to prison.” —G.M.
C.L. arrived in Oneonta a defeated man who checked into the detox unit of the Hospital. After his mind cleared a little he met someone who put him in touch with Ameen Aswad. “Ameen invited me to a Sunday night support group of men struggling with life controlling issues. I knew that prayer and the Lord were my only salvation. It is my firm prayer that more men come to the Lord when times get rough. We all go through periods in our lives when there seems to be no real solution to our troubles, but human troubles are no match for a loving God who can make all things possible.”
“Your support is very much appreciated. There are not a lot of people who support people who have been in the system the way you all do. I know your assistance and support comes through faith, and I am so grateful to be a part of all of you. For someone who has had a disreputable past, people like you give hope and love when it is needed most.” —J.S. in talking about the in-house jail ministry as well as aftercare.
If I could say one thing about the jail ministry, it would be Romans 5: 2-5. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into his grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
” I first got to know the members of the Jail Ministry of Otsego County in 2008 while I was incarcerated at the Otsego County Correctional Facility waiting to be sentenced. The eight and a half months I spent there gave me a new start and a new outlook on life.
For all the people that gave up on me, there was, and still is, one small group of people that gave me hope and peace, kindness, and most of all love. Yes love, the Agape love of Christ. People say that people can’t change their lives. That’s very true, but the people of the jail ministry can give us the tools to change our lives. It’s in our lowest times that we need to ask ourselves, “Is this what I want out of life? Can I change? Can I let go of myself long enough to ask for help? Can I, and will I, let people show me how God can change my life?”
I am grateful for the ten and a half years I spent in prison, for it was there that I was introduced to Prison Fellowship Ministries. It was a time of transformation to a world of love and kindness from people that taught me that only one person can put us down; only one person can take our joy and make us feel lost. That person is one’s self!
I have been out of prison for twenty months and am doing well. The jail ministry, and the Crossroads Inn where I resided when I was released, have been there for me, nurturing me, supporting me, encouraging me, loving me. They have helped me turn my life around. I have a good job, a church I attend regularly and am a part of, and I am loved. If I could speak to others who might know that lost, hopeless feeling, I would say, “don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to let go of yourself. Be willing to take the good that is offered to you, and apply it to your everyday life.”
May God’s love and peace be with all who struggle.” -D.R.