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In This Cup

Greetings Beloved, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As you may or may not know, I am a volunteer at Clayton Transitional Center. (CTC) I assist Chaplain Sue at the center and I have had the pleasure of working with her at the transitional center. I believe God has called me to serve the residents and to help expand the vision of Mercy Outreach.

The time I have spent at CTC has opened my eyes to so many things and I have been given the opportunity to share with you a couple of my experiences as a volunteer at CTC. One of my experiences is connected to my own purpose and destiny. When I began my journey into CTC in July 2015, I did not know what to expect. I was not a stranger to ministering in correctional facilities, but I was a stranger to volunteering in a correctional/transitional facility. I was not sure if the training I received as a volunteer had fully prepared me for all that I would encounter. However, I was armed with a healthy prayer life and willingness to fulfill the great commission and that was all I needed to carry out God’s assignment.

After Volunteering for a few months I prepared for them to show up at my church, but God took me to them. This was not how I expected things to unfold, but God’s plan was definitely at work in my life. Another experience directly involved the residents at CTC who witnessed the demonstration of Jesus’ love through a simple act of kindness. My sister, Teresa wanted to donate some coffee creamer and ‘Reddi Wip” whip cream to the residents. I thought it would be a great way to get residents who would not visit the Chaplain’s office to do so. It worked! One by one, they came by the office for coffee. The word began to spread that ‘Starbucks’ style coffee was being served in the Chaplain’s office.

Several residents that would pass by the office every week, were now stopping by for coffee and coaching. I am one who believes that it is not necessary to beat others with scripture when trying to minister God’s Word. It is not always the most effective way to get others to hear the word. There is a passage of scripture from John 13:34-35 that I applied: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” We are tasked with meeting people where they are (I Corinthians 9:19-23). Through this teaching I became a coffee server and coach. In my mind, I was only being the servant God created me to be.

Many people ask me about the things I have done, but I believe that my story is not about what I have done, but about what the Lord has done through me. This summed up by Paul when he says “Being confident of this very thing, that he which had begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). I thank God for the opportunity that has been afforded me through Mercy Outreach and CTC. In the past year, I have become acquainted with brothers I did not know I had.


Pastor Derrick

A Special Thank You! We want to give a special thanks to Martha Germany and her ladies group. They are such a blessing to our ministry with their faithful giving. Ms. Germany has been faithfully supporting prison ministry for many years. She has served and donated at Metro State Prison, Metro Transitional Center, Helms Facility and CTC.

This small group of women and Ms. Germany consistently provide hygiene supplies, all occasion cards and reading material. Their efforts have helped a countless number of men and women in their time of need. These women exhibit the same kind of heart Pastor Derrick was talking about. They are putting action to loving God and loving people. We truly appreciate all they do!

Keith Long Testimony

“I was saved when I was 7 years old. I went to church regularly. I played sports, but in high school I focused on baseball. I played on an East Cobb traveling baseball team that went to the world series 2 years in a row. We came in 9th and 3rd. I received letters from major colleges like UGA and Clemson as well as major league teams such as the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. I chose to sign with Dekalb College for a quicker professional opportunity. Shortly after that I hurt my pitching shoulder and needed insurance, so I got a job with insurance and had my shoulder fixed. I began training again, and I got another job with vacation pay so that I could go to Palm Beach and try out for the Braves.

On my third day of work, I got both of my hands crushed in a hundred brake press. Over the next four and a half years I had 26 surgeries and became very depressed. On August 26, 2006, I received a call to preach. I said wait a minute God you have the wrong guy. I am scared to speak in a crowd and I don’t want their blood required out of my hands if I accidentally lead them in the wrong direction. So, I ran for eight years. Those were the most miserable 8 years of my life. August 10, 2014, I was arrested. After a couple of days of staring at the walls, God said “Keith, this is what you have to look forward to for the rest of your life if you do not do what I called you to do.” I said “yes sir”, but I was still afraid. A few weeks later while I was reading the Bible, I read 2 Chronicles 20:15. The last half says “Be not afraid nor dismayed at the great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” Wow a burden was lifted. God didn’t send me on an impossible battle. He told me to be a mouth piece for Him to fight through. Don’t get me wrong, every thing didn't get immediately easier. The devil's attacks are stronger, but I know without a doubt God is with me. He shows favor often. Especially, by giving me the job of Chaplain’s aid. It is such a blessing working with Chaplains Sue and Derrick. They help and mentor me tremendously. I have been locked up for nearly two years and I have more peace and more joy unspeakable than words can explain. I look forward to what and how God plans to use me. Patience is not one of my strong points, but this has helped. I wouldn’t recommend prison to anyone, but for me it has been the best thing besides salvation to happen to me. My words of encouragement to every one are –obey God, use your time wisely, and never give up God will finish what He starts.

Dirk Davis Testimony

“My name is Dirk Davis., and I am 22 years old. I grew up on the streets of Scottsdale, Georgia. My real dad wasn’t a part of my early childhood due to drug abuse. My stepdad was harsh and abusive. Even though I grew up across the street from a church I knew very little about the Bible.

I started smoking weed in middle school and quickly became addicted. I started doing anything I could to just get high. As a result I was constantly in and out of juvenile for stealing and for possession of weed. I was high all the time, even the few times I went to church I was high. Even though I finally got my GED I still made many bad decisions and wound up homeless and sleeping in abandoned cars. One day I was lying on the steps of a church when a deacon and his wife pulled up. They took me to their home, fed me and let me clean up. Then one day while they were at church I went back to their house, stole their car and everything I could fit into it. Two days later I found myself locked up in jail. It took about a year, but I eventually began reading a Bible and praying every day. On June 15, 2015, I came to faith in God thorough Jesus Christ. With His help I have changed. I have learned to out my pain by writing music and singing praises to His name. I have decided to live every day, no matter what happens, to the glory of God. I still struggle from time to time, but God always comes through.”

On the Move

At Mercy Outreach we have been discussing how our mission and vision ultimately boils down to: Love God, Love people, and Doing something about it.

You see we have been loved so much by God we must spread that love especially to those that the world may see as unlovable. This quarter we have been doing love in our normal ways…providing a listening ear, giving out clothes, food, and hygiene supplies.

This quarter God sent CTC some musicians to get the band going again. We are thankful to have such talented young men so interested in serving God with there talents.

There have been many other things going on this quarter. We want to share with you some ways God allowed us to share his love and some ways that he poured his love out.

Chaplain Chris is always on the move. This quarter was no different He is continuing to work with the youth at his church and feeding those in need. He stays busy doing love and is continuously blessed. This quarter, his truck died. He began looking for another truck and asked for prayer. In a few days he found a truck that met his needs, but he did not have the money for it. The next day the owner told him to come get the truck. Yes, the owner gave the truck to Chaplain Chris. What a blessing!

Reverend Ronnie and another resident, Tim Townsend, that was released from Clayton Transitional Center after more than 34 years in prison, were asked to give their testimonies at Chief Corner Stone Ministries in Flovilla, GA. Chaplain Sue went with them, and their powerful testimony touched the hearts of many. But y’all know God always has a plan.

There was a young lady that was visiting the church that day that had been very down on herself due to a past that included prison. There testimonies truly encouraged her.

In addition, Reverend Ronnie’s wife, Janice, was there and gave a testimony about Ronnie coming home and some things that God is doing regarding her health. And guess what, yep, another person there that morning is going through some similar health issues and found encouragement and some peace in Ms. Janice’s testimony.

There are no coincidences; our God is an on time God. In each of these cases the right people were in the right places to be used by God.

Pastor Derrick also preached at Chief Cornerstone. We want to give a shout out to Pastors Don and Connie. They are now and always have been supportive of all we do. They give regularly to the ministry, always help with our projects, and volunteer at our big events. We so appreciate them and their hearts of service.

Two of the residents were able to get Baptized at Jonesboro First Baptist Church thanks to House of Hope Ministers Lanson Newsome and Mike Flournoy. They pick the guys up and take them to church twice a month, and they made arrangements for Dirk Davis and Gary Griffin to get baptized.

We also want to express how proud we are of Thomas Miller. He worked very hard to get his GED and was able to graduate and receive his diploma at the Clayton Performing Arts Center through the Clayton County Adult Education Program. His family, Chaplain Sue and Chaplain Tricia Supported him. We also wish him many blessings as shortly after this accomplishment he was released from prison.

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