Recently, we received a phone call from Chaplain Tim asking us to share our testimony and involvement with OJPM. He asked us to include the following:
1. How Olivia and I turned to Christ? Briefly – in 1994, the Lord had allowed me to reach the bottom. I had lost my health, my job, my wife and almost my daughter. In total despair, I responded to an invitation to visit Banning Foursquare Church in Banning, Calif. As I walked into the church on Easter Sunday, 1994, at age 47, the Spirit of God struck me and forever changed me. After hearing the preaching and reading my Bible, I soon realized that I belonged to Christ, and was determined to tell the truth to as many people as I possibly could and to try to live a life worthy of Him. (Romans 5:8)
Olivia’s conversion was different. Even though, at 27, she was living “the good life” with a husband, children, and a job she liked, the void in her life was exposed at her first Bible study. She was changed by John 3:16, and her immediate response was, “Why did nobody ever tell me this before?”
2. How did we get interested in jail ministry? (Matthew 25:40) After spending 20 years working in corrections (Larry) and social work (Olivia), we found jail ministry to be a perfect fit. I began in 2000 through the Gideon’s International in California. Olivia began here in 2008 when we moved to Oklahoma. We were recommended to the OJPM chaplain by the chaplain of the truck stop ministry we worked at in Kansas. Our paperwork cleared in two and a half weeks, so the Lord knew we were ready to go.
3. What do we find most fulfilling? (Romans 3:4) In a world built on a foundation of lies, we thank God for placing us in a ministry that encourages us to share the truth with men and women, many who are ready to hear it and turn to the only source of goodness, love, peace and purpose, Jesus. When we see the eyes of an inmate clear and face light up showing they really understand and embrace the love of God, we have received our payment in full for our labor in Christ.
4. Training? (2 Timothy 2:1-4) Three to four hours is a long time to sit and listen to instruction. But it is easy to forget the rules and we need to be reminded. Further, it is a joy to be lifted up by God’s word and good to be reminded who we serve and why. I told Tim that I appreciated his description of evangelizing by matching a person’s situation to Bible stories at our spring training. I knew this intuitively and have since identified over twenty Bible stories to share.
5. Opportunities to support the ministry through a trust? (Galatians 5:1) When my parents died, they put me as the trustee of their trust. I was so thankful for that because it minimized disagreements and dispersed money and belongings in weeks rather than years. At a training session in 2012, Brad Bertand, also a volunteer for OJPM, offered to do a trust for free if the person would designate at least five percent of the assets to OJPM. After initial reluctance, Olivia convinced me to set up an appointment to visit with him and I am so glad I did. Brad now manages our retirement amounts as well as having set up our trust. For me, a money manager must put Jesus first and know what he is doing with your money. Brad does both! And, this is a wonderful way to serve the Lord after you are in Heaven, leaving a Christian legacy.
In Christ’s service,
Larry and Oliva Holm