"Hope in the Midst of Darkness" By Inmate Matt Platt

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Ever since I was a little boy I always had the belief that God existed.  As a young teenager though, I just never paid that much attention to it. I didn’t think I needed to. After all, I was a good kid. I came from a loving family. I received decent grades in school. I excelled at sports. And I even attended church occasionally.  Therefore, never in a million years did I ever imagine myself being in prison, especially not at the young age of seventeen. Unfortunately, that is precisely where I found myself for taking a person’s life.

Despite this tragedy, it was there in the early stages of my confinement that I began taking my faith seriously.  I acquired a Bible and started reading God’s Word daily.  With each new day, I would continually learn more about this man named Jesus.  Shortly thereafter, I committed my life to Christ and accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior.  I made that commitment over 30 years ago and I have been striving to walk with the Lord ever since. Now, I haven’t always been perfect during that time and it certainly hasn’t been easy, but one thing is for sure, I never would have made it this far or be the person I am today without the Lord in my life.

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Fortunately, God has the amazing ability to take the darkest, most hopeless situation and turn it around for His glory. One way He has done this for me is by placing special people in my life.  Wonderful people like those who serve and volunteer with True Freedom Ministries.  From attending their programs and faith-based studies (Alpha, R.U., and Character Development to name a few), I have acquired a vast amount of knowledge and spiritual guidance. From my affiliation with TFM, I have also obtained leadership skills and employment opportunities. More importantly, I have gained a strong support system that is made up of some very trustworthy people who, today, I proudly consider my good friends.

The people at True Freedom may not always see the results of their efforts, but I for one can attest that their faithfulness and dedication to coming into these prisons year after year, season after season, has definitely made a difference in people’s lives. They certainly have had a tremendous impact on my life.

Therefore, I find solace with God’s words in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  As promised, God has accomplished this in my life through True Freedom Ministries. With their guidance, encouragement, and support, they too have provided me with hope and a future.

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Mike Swiger

True Freedom Ministries is a non-profit organization dedicated to reaching people in jails and prisons, the homeless, the elderly in nursing homes, and those trapped in addiction, in Ohio, with the message of the true freedom that is found only in Jesus Christ.