Board of Directors
Greg became the first one of our guys to return to prison through the
FRONT door when he visited Gander Hill as a guest speaker for New
Beginnings - Next Step this morning. This has long been a dream of mine,
for no one can speak to the experiences of our guys, no one can bring
the truth, or the hope, like our guys themselves. This kind of thing was
never permitted before and I’m deeply grateful to Warden Akinbayo for
the chance to bring a former prisoner back inside with me. Greg spoke
eloquently and powerfully about his journey from incarceration to
freedom and success to a large and rapt group of our members, as well as
- for this special occasion - prison staff including Warden AK himself.
It took an enormous amount of courage for this young man to go back
there today. (Others have turned me down). It also represented a great
victory, both for Greg, as well as for our organization. What Greg
shared touched many and will help prepare men for the hard work that
lies ahead when they’re released. The response to his testimony was
tremendous! He was treated like a rockstar after group was over, with
men pressing in to thank him and shake his hand.
Lunch afterward at Paneras won’t even begin to pay the debt I owe him.
Concert with John Flynn
Best choir ever and my favorite part of the evening... Even though the
benefit concert was out of state (and required special permission for
some guys to attend) we had a great turnout of NBNS members last night.
Of course they didn't know they'd be asked to sing! Photo by
Terry Lynn Bramble Anderson
View movie of last song Benediction
John with several of the NBNS members
News came today that New Beginnings lost another brother
to heroin. DJ got his GED in prison. He was the first
person in his family to get one. He had really worked
hard, and overcome a great deal of self doubt to do
this. He was actually so proud of his achievement that
upon his release he somehow arranged to remain in
Gander Hill an extra day so he could share the news with
us at our Thursday night meeting. I’ll never forget the
grin on his reddening face as the cheering broke out.
We’d seen such a transformation, as his confidence grew
and he began to embrace new and previously unimaginable
possibilities for his life. Our hearts are truly broken
at the news of his death. Brother David once told me
that some wounds - some addictions- will only be healed
after life on earth and in God’s presence. So for now
we must console ourselves that we were present as DJ
glimpsed, however briefly, his own beauty and worth.
And we must go on with the work of reminding each of our
brothers and sisters how precious they are and how
desperately we need them to do the things that only they
can do in this broken world.
Part of the great team that helps us run our New Beginnings-Next Step
Community Clothing Closet... Great meeting today. I apologized for
“losing it” last week after a Returning Citizen and longtime friend had
both disrespected the meeting and run a little game on us for some short
term coin. (I found out today that he had recently violated parole and
was just hitting us on his way into the wind). One of my guys tried to
put me at ease by assuring me that sometimes “losing it” is the the only
way to find it!
Always great welcoming another member of the family home!!