A former inmate, now Child of God.
While incarcerated at an Upstate New York prison Jake participated in one of our Residents Encounter Christ (REC) retreats. At the time he was a single man in his mid-20s serving a 30-month sentence for a felony. Now, he is a General Manager for a major Rochester facility, a loving husband, a dedicated father of three children, and an active member of a Christian church community.
Yet this description doesn’t tell you enough about Jake, says one of our longest-serving volunteers. She adds, “Everyone loves him. He’s like a magnet for people from all walks of life. He is a man of character who lives a faith-filled life every day.” Jake talks below about the prison retreat and its impact:
What REC did was give me an opportunity to take a pause from the daily stressors and challenges of what an inmate goes through on a daily basis in prison. You go to an environment that, yes, is still in prison, but it is a place of calm, a place of peace. It gave me time to dive deeper into my heart, to let down barriers and guards and truly open up my heart. An inmate in prison cannot make himself vulnerable, so having that opportunity is of great importance and worth.
When I entered prison, I was in an identity crisis. I tried so hard and so long to be something I wasn’t. I made a lot of poor choices trying to live up to a persona I wasn’t. In REC you do a lifeline and you tell your story in front of 30 other inmates, and I described myself as “an asshole.” By identity crisis I mean I didn’t know I was a child of God. I didn’t know God loved me.