God of Hope Ministries, a ministry partner of Austin Ridge, exists to provide Christian care to men and women incarcerated in the Central Texas area. Their programs include: faith-based dorms, prison wide studies, and 'pre/post' reentry. 

The Austin Ridge Story Team was able to visit the Travis County State Jail and hear from the men living in the God of Hope dormitory. 

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I was a very materialistic, ego tripping, person. Like I said, I had a couple very successful businesses. So, I never lacked any financial neglect at all. I was doing very well financially, and I always thought as long as I kept any crimes on the state level that I was able to get out. I hired all the right attorneys, and I always was able to get out. I was actually on bond on this charge, on this family violence for about two and a half years, and then I was arrested on another one.

So, when that one happened. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. They didn't really care about attorneys or anything like that. I was going to do some time. 

I wrote a request form to enroll in here [God of Hope dorm]. This was 2017. The end of '17, about November, December. I was like, if I'm able to get accepted, cool. If not, no big deal. Didn't think nothing of it. They opened it up February 15th. My name was top on the list.

So I prayed and I said, "God, you know if I'm supposed to be in here, than that's fine. Then, maybe, maybe let me be in here." And, sure as stuff, I actually moved to this bunk. It was, I guess it was, February 15, 2018 and at that point, I started to truly get involved and learn the word of God.

One of the biggest takeaways I've had from God of Hope Ministries has just been how instrumental love is on one's life. All of these volunteers who come in here, you know, they're in here day in and day out every week. 

Everyone here is assigned a mentor. I've had mine for 16 months now, and he's just, I mean, he's almost like a father-figure to me. He's here every Thursday, and it's just, you know, it's just the highlight of my week. It's the apex of everything, and I truly enjoy being able to bounce anything off of him that I'm experiencing in life, any questions, any comments, any concerns, any worries, whatever.

A lot of us didn't have dads ever growing up, so the positive encouragement and true love that these guys [volunteers] show really encourage us on a deep, deep level. And, they're able to teach us the Word of God. It's really something that's been instrumental in my life.

- James

To learn more about serving with God of Hope Ministries, click here: prison ministry

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