By Vicki K. Brown, CBF Communications
– “Prison actually saved my life,” Dawn tells women who face what she has survived.
Once addicted to drugs and living on the street, Dawn credits Christians, such as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship-endorsed chaplain Susan Barnett, for pointing her to God.
Barnett met Dawn after the mother of six had received a 10-year prison sentence for drug possession. Just prior to sentencing, Dawn tested positive for HIV and believing that she would not leave prison alive, she gave up her children for adoption. While in a prison medical facility, Dawn became a chapel clerk and hospice worker.
Dawn survived a brush with death six months prior to her release from prison. Today she works full-time and has been reunited with her children. She volunteers often and soon will move into an HIV/AIDS apartment community to minister.
“She is such a blessing. I look at her and remember how good God is,” said Barnett, who currently serves at a federal correctional facility in Tucson, Ariz.
Barnett, a 15-year veteran of prison ministry, hangs onto the picture of God’s grace in lives such as Dawn’s to encourage her through the difficult experiences of prison chaplaincy.
As a chaplain at a federal prison, Barnett ministers to people of many faiths and attends all the different religious services conducted at the facility.
“With so many faith groups, I have to look for the opportunities to share Christ,” Barnett said. “In prison ministry, I have experienced first-hand God’s ability to turn lives around – that we can be new creations in Christ no matter what.”
To learn about Fellowship endorsement for chaplains and pastoral counselors, contact Pickle at (800) 352-8741.
CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.