Sunday, October 31, 2010

Project RETURN 30th Anniversary

Last night I had the distinct honor of attending the 30th anniversary of Project RETURN, a Milwaukee organization dedicated to meeting the needs of offenders and their families. How exciting to be in a roomful of (150 plus) people who are dedicated to prison ministry and aftercare. This amazing group has been serving the Milwaukee area for 30 years with job readiness and training, resume preparation, job placement, support groups, and housing assistance.

The keynote speaker at this event was Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. Excellent reading. I highly recommend them.

Sister Prejean is a dynamic speaker who captivated the audience with stories about her work with death row inmates and her devotion to educating people about the reality of state executions. She posed the question, "Is God a vengeful God who demands death for death or is He a God of compassion?"
Prior to the evening's program, I had the opportunity to speak with Sister Prejean about her work, and my up coming book The Women of Block 12. She agreed to pose with me for this photo (actually many photos before we got one that was acceptable) and I must say she has a lot of patience and a great sense of humor. Thank you Sister for an wonderful and enlightening experience.

Watch for Sister Prejean's forthcoming book: River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey.

My thanks to Jack & Kathleen Congleton for an evening of fun and friendship with two people who enthusiastically support my project.

Thank you, Bill Lange, President, Board of Directors, Project RETURN for the invitation to this wonderful event and for your enthusiastic review of The Women Of Block 12!

For more information on jail and prison ministry visit:

* * * * *

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Growing In Adversity - by guest blogger Joy

It's been a life-changing experience, getting into trouble with the law. It's not always fair, but as I look back, God had to sit me still for awhile so I could get out of myself and get into His perfect will for my life. Not only did God reveal His love for me, He showed me that He needed this time to change me and my thinking. As I wait to hear from the judge for a sentence reduction, I wait with patience because I know (if it's not God's will) I can trust Him to work all things out- even the financial burden of GPS (the bracelet). I am determined to advance and grow, even through this.

There are so many people, including me, who get stuck in life's hard spots. I was either too scared or too bitter to move through the hardships. Instead, I wanted the Lord to remove the trial, but it doesn't always work that way.

How a person responds to hardship reveals his or her true character. Hard times are when God's people most need to match actions to words. It's easy to say, "I trust God" or "My Lord is faithful" when life is good, but unless we recognize that He is sovereign, even in adversity, the same lips will complain and seek pity - which I was totally doing. So, I turned my eyes on God's faithfulness and His Word and He has given me peace.

In order to conquer adversity, we must begin moving through it. It is essential for a suffering believer to surrender to God's will. We may not know what the purpose is. We certainly won't like the pain, and we definitely want the situation to change - FAST. But giving God free rein allows Him to mature our faith, conform us to the likeness of His Son, and fulfill His unique plan for our lives.

So I consider it pure joy going through whatever I have to - to become all that He wants me to be. I no longer try to change the situation I'm in. I try to change my attitude toward it. I'm still a work in progress and I will never give up again and go back to my old life. I know God has a plan and is going to use me for His Glory - and I surrender to that. Thank you, again, for all your prayers!

* * * * *

For more information and stories about women offenders visit:

* * * * *