There was a period of my life when I made one bad choice after another. I was completely lost, walking a path to a slow death, and I did not care. Ultimately, my chaos spilled over, costing someone’s life. I was sentenced to 9 years for aggravated vehicular homicide. At an all-time low, with nowhere left to run, I turned to God and slowly, slowly started to realize that there was something more in this life.
As time passed, I was saved, baptized, and became active within the prison church as worship leader and choir director for both community choir and silent choir. Well into my sentence at Northeast Reintegration Center, Mike Swiger and Gary Koly came to preach the gospel. That day, Mike delivered a message about the book of Philippians, including its historical culture and politics, bringing the pages of scripture to life. It made me want to study more and more. Gary and I bonded on a musical level. He said, “God said take care of this one,” referring to me, and he called me Janice Joplin. I’d laugh at being teased. The men of True Freedom, with full blown hearts for God, touched my life. And it was not a one-time meeting. Every few months they came to the prison and we grew together in faith and teaching. It established a bond--a Christian bond. They truly care and take interest in serving, teaching, encouraging, and reaching out to anyone and everyone.
True Freedom has made me want to share the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ and to give whatever I can to contribute to that cause. Once released, I started attending True Freedom’s Reformers Unanimous addiction recovery program, which also serves as a re-entry meeting. I love the principles of the RU meeting and applying them to real life. I try to attend weekly and lead worship with song. True Freedom has opened so many doors in the community. It is my pleasure to say I am a part of this ministry.
I believe that people need to hear that God loves us ALL as we are! He so loved the world that He gave His only Son. I believe that True Freedom delivers this message in all its ministry affairs, be it among those incarcerated, addicted, or homeless. Since being released from prison, True Freedom has been there as a network of support and encouragement for a variety of needs—needs I never even knew I had. True Freedom is a Christian family, and I am happy to be a part of it.
by Lisa Hartman