Ken was a drug user for 30 years. Before his incarceration, he says he was hateful, miserable, and full of turmoil. His life turned around on February 5, 2005; when he was charged with 8 armed robberies receiving 20 years. He acknowledges that many people would say that this day would be a terrible one, but he considers it one of the best things that God did for him. God got his attention while he was sitting in the back of the police car and he felt a weight come off of his back, knowing that he could only go forward. Everything from that point on was for God and he became completely different.
Ken was raised Catholic and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior as a teen. But, a year later, he was using drugs to escape abuse from his father and turned to armed robbery to support his drug addiction. Ken served 10 years in prison. He is grateful for this because he had time to build a foundation where he is truly in relationship with Christ; he goes to Christ for everything, asks Him for everything, and prays to Him for everything. He met his best friend and mentor while in prison and says it was his first experience where he learned what it was to love another person and now he has also learned to love himself. His relationships have benefited from this ability to love. He has two children to whom he was estranged, including a daughter he gave up for adoption at a young age. He did not have a relationship with either of them before he turned his life over to Christ but now sees them regularly. According to Ken, the time he spent in prison, following Christ, allowed God to humble him and reconcile those he hurt. He had a good support group because he surrounded himself with nothing but Christian brothers and invested time reading devotionals and his bible every day.
Two months prior to being released, Ken’s wife of 17 years divorced him. He knew he was in a bind and also that he needed an address when he was released. He prayed and fasted before hearing about the Philemon Ministry and be-ing led to one of the directors. He interviewed over the phone and was accepted. He was released from prison in March 2015 and has been living in the house since then. Leaving prison was great, but it was also a frightening and overwhelming experience. If he had not had the solid foundation of a relationship with Christ, it would have been a much different experience for him.
Ken says that the house was just what he thought it would be. He was released wearing a t-shirt with $50; Philemon helped him acclimate back into society during the first month without worrying about money right away. The eight men living in the house made him feel accepted and at home. He prayed that he would be a blessing in the house and expressed interest in being the house manager after the previous manager left the program. He knows that he isn’t perfect and falls short, but he uses the Holy Spirit’s conviction to address and correct his behavior and always strives to move forward.
He wants to share the hope and encouragement that he found in Christ with them. He frequently writes to some of these brothers, reminding them that life is hard on the outside. It will have a lasting life impact if his brothers in prison spend the time they have working on their foundational relationship with Christ. “All of these worldly trials and hardships refine us; they can make us better and draw us closer to the Lord.”, he says. Ken found peace through the Philemon Ministry when no one else wanted him. He trusts in God’s timing and knows that everything will fall into place