Oklahoma Jail and Prison Ministries (OJPM) volunteers receive some of the best training that is available in the market. The qualified volunteers not only come straight out of the communities in which we serve, but also adhere to all policies that are required by our office and uphold to a higher standard than what you would normally see in other ministries. They not only consider themselves ambassadors who represent our Sheriff’s office but also make themselves readily available to serve our staff if need be. Once the volunteer passes our background check and is approved through our office, he/she is trained by our qualified site chaplain provided by OJPM. This training also involves the federally required PREA provided by OJPM semi-annually in Oklahoma City.
OJPM has taken this part of the work-load upon themselves so that I can focus on the rest of the duties at hand. I appreciate the training and the accountability that all of the volunteers are required to participate in, as well as all of the Bibles and study materials that they furnish. Please consider visiting OJPM’s website at www.ojpm.org and/or contacting them at (405) 917-2242 to partner together with you.
My name is David Mackey and I have done twelve years in D.O.C. custody and no matter how long I’ve been in, it never gets easier. The only way that I make it day to day is through the grace of God. I have always believed in the Lord but I guess in a sense, I have been taking it for granted most of my life. The older I get the more I am starting to realize that if it was not for Him, I would have not made it as long as I have. The visits from OJPM Chaplain Jesse West and the Bible study literature, along with the Christian books have been a tremendous encouragement to me and to others who are here. The Lord has put me on this earth for a reason. I don’t know exactly what that reason is but for now, I am going to just spread the Word.
I sit here in the Bryan County jail and I seem to always have a smile on my face. I see other people in my same position and they just seem mad at the world and the only difference I see is that I put the Lord first in my life. I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is thank the Lord for everything He will do in the future. That is the way I start my day and that is the last thing I do before I go to sleep. One of these days I will get out of here and when I do, I will continue to do this same thing because without Him in my life nothing is possible.
Where did it go wrong?
I ask myself where it all went wrong. Was it when I was four and passed around? Where my body was torn and used, the beatings, the emotional abuse, the neglect. Maybe it was when I was seven and so broken that I stopped believing in anything good and just learned how to survive. Could it have been all the abuse that continued to happen in the system?
How about when I was married at 14 to a 21-year-old selfish, neglectful, abusive man? My spirit was broken so many times, but my will, my mind, my strength could not be taken. I know now it was given by God. I was full of anger and hate for so many years. One day an angel was born to me. For the first time I felt a mother’s surge of protection and love. My heart’s armor cracked. Compassion overran my hatred, love over ran my anger.
Through the years no matter what was done, I lived for my angel. I was blessed with four more angels born to me. At the time I didn’t know what God had given me. Since, I turned my back on Him and all His hope. Now, that I have returned to Jesus I know that He gave me back my heart through each angel blessed to me.
My hope was given when I failed to see through my brokenness He never left, I was blinded by my shattered spirit. So, I have to ask where did it go wrong or maybe it didn’t. Maybe this journey was always meant to strengthen what was shattered. Maybe it was meant to help me see the pain of my past and each dent it made. I can heal now and know who God has always meant for me to be.
Yes, prison is as bad as everyone hears. Though it is also a choice. You can learn to overcome, or you can give in and give up. That is how I know I will be stronger, smarter because of Jesus. Through my pain and through my past, He gave me the will and strength to never give up. To fight and push through. So, maybe in the end nothing went wrong and it’s just a step toward a fulfilled journey.
In his own words, Jason Williams, Canadian County jail inmate
Hello, my name is Jason Williams and the following is my testimony: At a young age my only inspiration came from my Grandma Bertie. She believed in Jesus and lived for God daily. I hardly ever got to spend much time with her before she passed away in 1995. My childhood was full of hate on my father’s part.
Drugs and alcohol have always been in my life. I had to witness abuse as a child and never had a good role model. It led me to use drugs at a young age. Growing up with divorced parents was hard but it was better than when they were married. When I was young and living with my mother, I met a friend named David Clark. He was my best friend. He was the first person to invite me to church.
Although my mother went to church a little while she was trying to get away from my dad, I never connected with God. When I went to church with my friend I got saved and felt God in my life. I enjoyed it for a couple of years. I was age 10 to 12, but I started experimenting with weed and I fell away from Christ. I got into drugs and drinking a lot as a teen and even tried meth.
I wanted to have fun and to get high. Everything went downhill slowly but downhill none the less. I got into trouble with the cops, ended up in foster homes and boot camp. When I was 16 I got out of my second foster home and went home, but before long I was back on drugs.
When I was 17 I had my first child. A beautiful baby boy, Christopher Lee Williams, that passed away at one month and four days old. I lost myself. I felt God hated me and His punishment was to take my son away. I blamed God and got strung out on meth.
I had no hope of living a good life. The life of drugs and sin became my life style. I later had more kids, two boys and a girl. I was still using drugs and I had run ins with DHS and eventually I quit meth and that life style.
I ended up in county jail in El Reno, Oklahoma, for possession with intent to distribute facing ten years in prison. Well, I picked up a Bible and spent four months reading and studying. Then OJPM Chaplain Rodney French led me back to Jesus. It felt so great. I was trying to live a better life, a Christian life. I bonded out of jail and went to church every Wednesday and Sunday. I was working with a Christian man, Charles Miller. I was even attending Celebrate Recovery.
I could not keep my lawyer due to lack of money and ended up with a warrant. Not wanting to go back to jail and prison, I went on the run. I started selling drugs and never stayed in one place too long. Through all this I still felt a calling to go back to church. Every church I saw I wanted to walk in and pray for forgiveness but being on drugs I could not bring myself to do it.
Eventually I got caught and was on my way to prison. I have been studying the Word since I came back to jail. I accepted a plea bargain for eight years in Department of Corrections custody. Here I am 30 years old and in prison. I have been locked up for two years now, but to be honest I would not change anything.
I now know that God allowed the trials in my life to bring me closer to Him. I got baptized in September of 2015 and I fully feel God’s love in my life. I would not go back to my old lifestyle knowing what I know now.
I know that trials may not lead you to where you want to go, but there is a greater purpose behind the trials. Once we learn about Jesus Christ and how He sacrificed His life for the world’s sins, everything else seems petty. We are meant for a higher purpose, God’s purpose. Sometimes trials are necessary for us to find hope in this lost world.
I love my new life as a Christian. I know that it is not easy to give your life over to God, but I can tell you it is worth it. I hope it does not take as much as it took me for you to come to Christ. I pray for the world daily. I pray for drug addicts especially.
I have lived the struggle. Through Christ I now have no cravings for drugs. I can step into the world full of hope. I know I am a child of the Most High God. I know that He has a path laid out for me that He needs me to take to do His will. All the strength I have is due to the Lord Jesus Christ.