Obviously to have a re-entry program for women, you need a place to house them. We have a building that was build in the 70’s and was originally a christian school. This is the building that the Lord has provided to us. It has an upstairs that is 5,000 square feet, and has room to house our ladies, and also house staff, it has a room for dinning and a kitchen, it has two offices for counseling and also three classrooms, the upstairs is what we call Phase I of our facility. This building also has a downstairs that also has 5,000 square feet, it is for the most part unfinished. This part is what we call phase II of our project, in this phase we want to finish the basement and when completed we can house 20 ladies, staff, interns and volunteers. This second phase is still future.
We knew that we wanted to make sure that this building was up to standard for our ladies, so we contacted a architect and ask them to create prints for anything that would need to be done in Phase I so that we could get started. They determined that the building was in great shape, and only needed to have a male and female handicap bathroom installed, it also needed to have better smoke detectors installed. This is where we are now with phase I, we need to gather the finical support to build our bathrooms and we will be ready to house. They also created prints for Phase II.
You can see the Phase I and Phase II prints on an earlier blog post.
As the Architects were working on this, We started to do a few other things.
We created a Board of Directors and established our Articles of incorporation and By-laws.
We contacted a CPA to help us apply for our 501c3 status, which has all been done and is pending approval now.
We also took our logo, and created a information table to help us get our ministry known, you can see what we have on a earlier blog post.
Another major part of our ministry also started during this time, we had a heart to start a mentoring program. I ask the Lord to show us some ladies that would be willing to do mentoring. We had 3 women that showed a heart to give of their lives to help create a mentoring program, they had a desire to go into correctional facilities and work with women directly, they have done a great job. We want to be more than just a building that houses women when they are released from prison, we want to be an intimate part of their lives and a mentoring program is a must. We would love to find more volunteers that would be willing to help us grow our mentoring arm of our ministry.
Of the things that we have done, and the things that we are doing, none of them amount to much if we are not working for the Glory of God, and in our mentoring program we are seeing God work in a great way in the lives of these women that we get to help. PLEASE considering helping our mentors by lifting them up in prayer.
Director of Operations
Through the Gate ministries
Being released from prison is met with a long list of challenges that hinder a woman getting on her feet and living a productive life for the glory of God. When they are released from prison they are instantly losing their church, accountability, support groups, and home. Those challenges are met with real world challenges of reporting to your parole officer, paying fines, paying for drug test, finding a job, finding away to get to your job, finding a place to live, and paying bills perhaps for the first time in years.
Most of these women will not know what it’s like to live life in society as a Christian. They will have strained relationships with family member because of their past sins. Through the Gate exist to help train and disciple these women to glorify God with their lives while also insuring that they have every need met in order to succeed. We will do this by:
TEACHING: (PHASE I)(5-7 months) We have a very intense program that will teach them about God, and what He expects from His children. Each participant will participate in the various classes each day and will also meet with a Biblical counselor every week. This part of the program is mainly to teach them what the Bible says about being a Christian and what it looks like for them to obey God’s Word.
EQUIPPING: (PHASE II)(3-4 months) We want to insure that participants have every opportunity to be successful when they re-enter society. It’s our goal help them get ready spiritually, but it is just as important that we help them get ready financially. Each participant will learn how to make a resume, how to interview for a job, and how to budget their money once they have a job. We will help them find a job and help them to be a great employee. During PHASE II, We want to be able to help them save money to buy a car and have money to get a home.
SENDING: (PHASE III)(1-2 months) We want to be able to send responsible women of God back into their communities for the Glory of God. We want to be able to find good mentors and help them set up a good accountability structure. We want to be able to offer counseling to each one even after they have left our program.
I remember when we first started talking about a women's re-entry program, actually it didn't start out as a women's program. A couple of us were in discussions about the need to have a place to help men getting out of prison, and we started to pray that the Lord would open those doors. Unfortunately it always seemed like we were having doors closed to us instead of opened. One night, several weeks later we had a meeting with a few of us that were interested in this ministry, as we went around the room and let each person talk it became clear that everyone was feeling the same way, as the conversation came to me I ask the question, “why do we believe that this has to be a men’s facility, why not think about using our facility for a women’s program.” No sooner had I said this that a couple of the women in the room said that they had been praying that we would consider having it be for women. They had not said a word to us about this until that night. Over the next few weeks as we were talking about what our program would look like if it were a women’s facility it became clear that the Lord was involved. We started to have several doors opened to us that had to have been from Him. In the following weeks after some prayer, it was completely clear that this was the direction we were suppose to go.
The first thing I did was get in touch with an associate that had done some marketing work for several years. He took our vision and helped us come up with a name and a logo. Below is the Logo. You will notice that there are grey colored bars that represent prison bars with a grey color that represent life in prison, and then it goes to a brighter color for a bright future once a person gets out of prison, and then you will see the smoke rising out of the top of a home that shows a warmth, which is what we want out ladies to feel as they come to our place, and last the words “Freedom to grow” this is what we want them to have, a freedom to grow into the lady that God wants them to be.
Director of Operations
Through the Gate ministries