HOUSTON – It was simple gifts of soap, shampoo and reading material, but to inmates at the Chickasaw County Regional Correctional Facility it was a hand of hope.
Hands of Hope, a national ministry aimed at jails and prisons, delivered a truckload of those supplies to the Houston facility earlier this month with the goal of helping those incarcerated realize there are those who care and there is a better life.
“We tease and say we want them to clean up there act,” said Roy Lormis, a 17-year veteran of Hands of Hope. “We take them toiletries and books and Bibles.
“We explain to them cleaning up the outside is not that hard,” he added. “We tell them it is their choice if they want to clean up the inside.”
Lormis said this is the third trip for Hands of Hope to the Chickasaw County prison and they were one of the first ministries to get inside the facility when it opened in the fall of 2010.
“The administration and jail personnel have been very open to this,” said Lormis. “Does it make a difference in the life of every inmate. No, but we have seen it make a difference in the lives of some men in here.”
Lormis quoted Matthew 25:26 from the New Testament.
“’I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me,’ we take that verse seriously,” said Lormis. “It’s written in red and that’s Jesus speaking to his followers. People who are not in jail also need to examine their heart and see if they need to clean up a little.”
Hands of Hope goes to visit those in the jail system on a regular basis and for holidays. It also puts on special events when allowed.
They also have a pen pal ministry. This ministry writes prisoners with questions or who have asked for prayer and encouragement.
Chickasaw County Regional Correctional Facility chaplain Randy Hayes said society often wants to dump those who have made a mistake into jails and prisons and forget about them. He said that mindset can give inmates a sense of hopelessness and they are no better off when they are released than the day they walked in.
“I’ve watched these people and their ministry and I know they are sincere and I know they are making a difference,” said Hayes who has worked at the jail since shortly after it opened in September 2010. “I want to point out the people in here have family just like you and I.
“When you change the life of an inmate in here, you change the lives of many people on the outside,” said Hayes. “As chaplain I want to see more people changed on the inside – and I don’t just mean those who are in jail.”
The most recent visit and delivery saw more than 200 packets of toiletries and books delivered. Hands of Hope has delivered more than 2.7 million packets to inmates since it was organized in Fenton, Mo., under the auspices of Joyce Meyer Ministries almost two decades ago.
Those wanting to know more about Hands of Hope can visit their website, at joycemeyer.org and clikc the missions button.
Those wanting to know more about possible ministry opportunities at the Chickasaw County Regional Correctional Facility can contact Hayes or Warden Brand Huffman at 456-3319 or visit their website at ccrcf.com.