As a former inmate, I will never forget when I walked back into the jail that I was once incarcerated in; not as a prisoner, but as a chaplain. I had recently graduated from Bible college and was in search for a job away from the Rochester area but the Lord had different plans. Over a period of six years, hundreds of inmates and staff gave their lives over to the Lord. My life was a living testimony and I often compared myself to Saint Patrick.
Saint Patrick wasn't born in Ireland as some suppose. He was a British missionary to Ireland. Patrick was kidnapped at the age of 16 by an Irish chieftain and spent at least six years as a slave in Ireland, which was then a spiritually desolate Celtic land. He gave his life to Christ while a slave tending his master's livestock on an Irish hillside. After those six years, Patrick escaped to Britain and then attended a monastic school in France, where he studied for about 12 years. About the year 432, when he was about 43 years old, Patrick reportedly saw a vision of the spiritual need in Ireland, and felt a call from God to return to the place of his slavery.
Patrick was no stranger to taking risks. In his autobiographical, Confessions, the only remaining writing of Patrick, he wrote, "I must take this decision disregarding risks involved and make known the gifts of God and his everlasting consolation." He did return to Ireland and spent the rest of his life there as a missionary. His preaching was powerful. He even used the Shamrock (three leaf clover) in sermon illustrations to explain the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (the Trinity). His ministry was so successful that the Irish now claim him as their own. Saint Patrick had brought hope to Ireland.
At Hope Initiatives, we bring hope to people who are marginalized economically and spiritually by providing jobs, biblical instruction, skills training, and courage. Former offenders find it very difficult to secure employment; the homeless lack the funds and skills to secure and maintain housing, and we might as well admit that the conventional way in which we assist the poor isn’t working. The Lord brought hope to scores of prisoners and staff during my tenure as a sheriff’s chaplain. Today, I am asking the Lord to do the same with society’s ostracized now that I am president of Hope Initiatives. God asked the prophet Jeremiah, “Is there anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 33:27). With your prayers and financial support, we can also have a lasting effect on people as they become self-supporting members of society. Would you help us take the risk to hire more ex-offenders and the poor? We appreciate your support in any way whether you are a customer or a social equity investor. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
About the Author
Tommy Davis, a former sheriff's (jail) chaplain, and a Western New York division commander chaplain for CFMI, was elected as president/CEO of Hope Initiatives in August of 2016. Mr. Davis performed exercises with the state police, the US Marshal's Services and other law enforcement and corrections agencies. He received his BA in Theology and MA in Ministry at Apex School of Theology and Tennessee Temple University respectively. He is currently studying to receive his Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Management at Piedmont International University. Tommy and his wife Raymona reside in Rochester with their children. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org