ABC News – Rebecca Jarvis
ABC News – Juju Chang
At a recent camp we had one of the most touching words from a father to express his gratitude. This father thanked us for the program and said it had really brought his 6-year-old son and him closer together. Then he said, “You know, I have prayed for a long time to be released from prison early. I wanted to be released so that I could go home and be with my son. He needs a father to be with him and show him how to grow up. And also, I just wanted to go home to my family. For the longest time, I thought God did not answer my prayer. But God has answered my prayer today through this program. He has brought home to me today! God has allowed me to spend the day with my son just as if we were home together. I will be going home soon and I am thankful for that, but I will be forever grateful for this day with
The Holy Spirit revealed himself to me when Andrew advised me that we had a little girl who didn’t want to be with her daddy. She stayed in the prayer room and wouldn’t budge. I asked the men in white who were serving the camp as stewards to fervently pray for this situation. They began praying in earnest.
After a short while we brought Daddy in and he sat across the room from her giving her lots of space. He read his love letter to her and choked back a few tears. The mentor that was assigned to this little girl was perfect. She didn’t push, and gave the little girl lots of room. Then we coaxed her and Daddy to sit in the hall so they could see the strong man performance. Eventually they made their way into the main chapel and had a wonderful day together.
I saw Daddy at the balloon release and his little girl was hanging all over him. She was laughing, hugging and kissing him. He told me later, “Thank you for being patient.” I told him he received something that no other daddy did: he had extra one-on one-time with his daughter that none of the other men got to experience. The devil tried to defeat this family, but God had other plans. Amen — A Texas Couple
La’Terra was the first child to arrive at the Louisiana One Day with God camp. She was dressed from head to toe in the camp colors. She anxiously waited for registration to begin. Volunteers could not help but notice her excitement mounting. No one could have known what a special day this would be for her and her father.
La’Terra and her dad were inseparable all day. When it came time to leave, she ran back to give her father one last hug three times. She had a hard time letting go of him.
Two weeks later, Forgiven Ministry received a call from Rayburn Correctional that La’Terra had been killed while riding her bicycle. Her inmate father spoke at her funeral in shackles. He said, tearfully,
“I thank God for the day I spent with my daughter; and if you see her again, you will have to go to heaven.”
Louisiana volunteers attended the service and wore their One Day with God tee shirts. La’Terra got to spend one day with God and her earthly father; but now she is spending every day with her Heavenly Father.
What an awesome blessing to unite two sons with their father at a One Day with God camp! It was both an exciting and anxious day for both the boys and their father. The boys had not seen their father in over 16 years. What a difference that day made!
Father and sons were reconciled and began a beautiful relationship with each other. Their dad now has his GED and writes them all the time. The boys now volunteer with Forgiven Ministry. Through One Day with God, this inmate father and his two sons have an on-going and loving relationship with each other. Praise God!
What a joy it has been to know Austin and his father. In 2005, Forgiven Ministry received a letter from this young boy. The following are portions of his heart on paper:
“Thank you so much for the July 16th One Day with God and my daddy. He went to jail when I was 2. Until this day, I had never seen my dad eat or run. He can run very fast. He loves popcorn just like me. I got my first piggy back ride from Daddy. I am 9 years old and weigh 86 lbs. He said he would have carried me even if I was 186 lbs. because he loves me so much. We eat hot dogs just alike; he pulls the wiener out of the bun just like me. I started asking God for the prison to let you do one camp a month. Thank you for loving us enough to do this. I pray for you every night.”
Austin and his father have done 7 camps together and enjoyed every second of every day.
This beautiful young lady had one wish, that when she turned 16, her father could dance the first dance with her at her Quinceanera, or coming of age celebration. She had dreaded the day for years, and now it had come. Forgiven Ministry was able to get permission to video her and her father dancing a slow dance at the McConnell One Day with God. Her father handed her a beautiful rose and the dance began.
Tears were flowing from the eyes of all that watched. Little did we know that her father had had a fellow inmate paint a portrait of his daughter in her coming out gown, which he presented to her following the dance. God is so good. He hears the heart cry of all His children.
These two four-year-old twin boys had not seen their father, DJ, since they were eleven months old. They have grown up in an environment where punishment meant having to fight with older siblings – and fight to win.
When they came to camp, their aggressive tendencies were noticed. A dedicated volunteer sat with these two, who eventually fell asleep in his lap. But they weren’t happy with their resting place. Through prayer, the volunteer persevered, and eventually the boys got to meet their father.
Volunteers at each camp cover the inmates, caregivers and children in prayer.