Hope for the Hopeless


Every quarter, True Freedom Ministries conducts a death row service at Chillicothe Correctional Institution. Recently, four staff members and fifteen volunteers ministered to nine inmates there. One inmate was overwhelmed and stated that the ODRC had never allowed this many volunteers to be around death row inmates at one time. He was amazed that we would drive three hours to see them and explained how uplifting it was to attend our worship service because of the preaching of God’s Word and the fellowship afterwards.


Lisa Hartman and Tracy Mineard opened the service with two Christ-centered songs. Chaplain Gary Koly then gave his personal testimony and explained how Jesus Christ changed his life. Gary built instant chemistry with the inmates who truly related to his story. Executive Director Michael Swiger then preached from Philippians 1:1-11 which gave the inmates food for their souls. This text was uniquely encouraging since the Apostle Paul wrote it while he was incarcerated. At the end of the service, the nineteen people from True Freedom had thirty minutes to fellowship with the inmates, to share the Gospel, and to encourage these men in their walk with Christ.

Many of the volunteers from True Freedom were touched by serving that day. Chris Quinn stated, “So hard to put into words the impact of the visit.  Profound is probably the best one-word description.  I only pray that the inmates got something out of the experience and that we made an impact.  Without Christ we are all on death row and the conclusion of our existence—not good.” 

Jon Lawrence said, “Our recent death row service was both a blessing and a privilege!  One particular conversation has remained with me, however.  After talking and then praying with inmate Chris, he shared how they rarely have time with anyone on the outside, so he mentioned how it was so encouraging for us to spend as much time as we did with them.  I look forward to returning and sharing the hope that is only found in Jesus and to look these men in their eyes and assure them that they are loved.”  

Gray McQuarrie shared, “I’m very thankful to True Freedom Ministries for providing the opportunity to visit death row inmates at the Chillicothe prison in July. It was such a blessing not only to meet and pray with those men, but also to learn that some of them are committed followers of Jesus Christ. They are a living testimony of how God’s love and forgiveness provide unending hope in the present and eternal fulfillment in Christ.  I’m prayerfully looking forward to the next opportunity to fellowship and glorify our Father with those men, and I encourage others to join us as well.”

True Freedom Ministries has gained favor with the Ohio Department of Corrections as demonstrated in the privilege we have to minister to those on death row.  Please continue to pray for us and the men at Chillicothe.


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.