This is Allen Bonds. Before incarceration in the Warren County Jail, Allen lived in the neighborhood with his mother, Willa May. Willa May was one of our first relationships in the neighborhood and for several years now we have met with Willa May on her front porch to talk about the neighborhood, the deep struggles she's seen here, and how Jesus can rescue and change us - changing everything in our communities for His glory. As time progressed, Allen began to soften up to us and join in our conversations with Willa May.
Allen struggled with stable employment and eventually decided to commit to our Jobs for Life course at Hope House. Unfortunately, as he advanced through the course he fell into deep seeded struggles in his life, eventually dropping out.
But this year, by the grace of God, his sin was exposed and he was arrested. While in prison, Allen learned that we facilitated Jobs for Life there in the facility, and decided to apply for the class. Allen was approved for the class, and this time he had hopes of graduating.
In December, Allen graduated! He now has plans to get his restaurant cooking certification, and most importantly to begin attending our discipleship training we offer to Jobs for Life graduates. We can see our Maker is drawing Allen unto Himself.
The Bowling Green Community, Hope House and most importantly the Wilson family experienced a great loss this past weekend. It has been a very difficult week for us, the Wilson family, and the countless others he has touched as we mourn his passing.
Scott had been a volunteer with us for over five years and never stopped advocating for us. Scott always wanted to see how he could use the gifts and talents God had given him to help others and make Jesus more famous in the lives he encountered. Though he had many roles with us as a volunteer, one of the ways he did this was by creating, organizing and planning our Annual Dinner Fundraiser called “Cooking for Hope”.
Five years later we are preparing for our Fifth Annual Cooking for Hope. Over the last four years this event has raised over $50,000, influenced countless relationships that have helped us grow, and, most importantly, impacted many broken and hurting lives eternally with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are still reaping the blessings from Scott’s obedience, to God be the Glory.
Scott was a man who wanted to give of his life, not for his sake, but because of Christ’s work in his life. By God’s grace, Scott understood why he had been given specific gifts by God. Simply put, Scott knew he was created by God to bring Him glory and use those gifts to help accomplish God’s work in the world. His efforts to use his gifts and talents for God’s glory through Hope House will be bearing fruit for years to come.
We mourn the loss of a great friend, husband, and father. May we find strength, in that, he walked confidently on this Earth knowing he was not his own, he had been bought with a price and he would one day stand in Glory joining in the choir of angels worshiping the Savior he dearly loved more than this world!
May you join us in prayer as we lift up his wife, Jennifer, his daughter Katie, Scott’s mother, Jean and the rest of the family as they mourn the passing of a great husband, father, son and friend.
Eugene didn’t know what to expect the day he went back to jail in Bowling Green. I assumed he thought it would be like the rest, “Go back to jail, do my time, and then get released a few months later and stand idle on the side of Kentucky St. alone, while waiting for a ride or to decide to start walking left or right because no one is coming for me”. But as he had experienced in the past God had something bigger in mind this second time around.
Eugene is from Louisville, KY, a father of three with a fiance and mother waiting to get married. When he got in trouble with breaking parol he knew he was going back to jail. He was working a decent contract job cleaning the Kellogs plant in Louisville. He was making good money, trying to be a good father and provide for their basic needs.
As he arrived back in Bowling Green to serve his time for breaking parol he was given a chance to join an eight week Jobs for Life class offered by us. What he didn’t know was that God was about to take him on an eight week journey focusing on learning his identity, the importance of character, integrity, and community through the eyes of God’s Word and the dignity of work. He sat with 11 other men, seven whom he shared a cell with and four older men who he had never met in his life, but shared about how much they valued him and the other men in the jail. As the class dwindled down to three men in the Jobs for Life class and four Jobs for Life champions Eugene stuck with it and is graduating this week.
Unannounced and unexpected, Eugene was released from jail today and put back on parole. For inmates this is usually bitter sweet. Inmates are released just about everyday and are to stand on Kentucky Street alone waiting for either a ride or trying to decide to start walking left or right because no one is coming for them. So, as you can imagine it is a very exciting, but lonely time.
Well on this day Eugene was not alone! When he was released, even unannounced to Sergeant William Baker, who handles the reentry program for the Warren County Jail and chooses inmates for the Jobs for Life program, called me immediately. I then immediately called his Jobs for Life Champion (mentor) to let him know of the great news! I was able to rush over to the jail to meet him outside and talk for about 30 minutes and rejoice with him for all he had accomplished in earning his right to be back in society again. I was looking at a changed man, not because he was released, but because he encountered the message of the gospel. We discussed what his plan was from here and how we can help him get settled back with his family and employment. When most inmates are released they still don’t know who they are and have no community, but on this day Eugene left that jail knowing who he was in Christ and a Christian community advocating for him just as Christ is advocating for us! Please join us in praying for Eugene and the other Jobs for Life students. This is just a glimpse of the many lives being impacted by the Jobs for Life ministry at Hope House.