I tried to recall when M & I first met. It's been several years now, I know that. He came to our church through a fellow elder and friend via the prison ministry. M got in trouble back in the day for drugs and was one of those folks you hear about who gets hooked the first time and loses everything. That's what he did, he lost it all, his wife, his son, his long time and good job at the papermill, all to a crack pipe, and the price that goes with it. Somewhere in prison he found a Christian, the Word, the Lord and eventually us. While it certainly was the right move, in the right direction, it was far less than a miraculous and permanent turnaround. Truth is, for many who go the way of prison for felony crimes its a difficult and lifelong struggle after they pay their debt. Many do not survive it without returning again to prison or worse.
The best job he could find with that kind of record was working for an local outfit that hires many folks like him. That's good news and bad news. The good news is they will hire folks with a felony record. That's also the bad news because that's who you work with...not a real encouraging lot if you're trying to do right and good. It's been a real struggle for him these years since prison because he's got no family, few friends, and some of the same struggles he's had for years. By the nature of his workplace he fell in with a mostly ethnic crowd, courted a fairly young, sweet, naive, undocumented female, married her, and all was grand...until her family found out more about M. Not long after what looked to be the happiest days of his recent life, did her family literally take her away from him and forbid her to come back. That's another story but that's what happened. It's been an even harder struggle since then. The ethnic crowd at work hated on him so bad, he eventually quit his job or go crazy. Everyone it seemed was against him. Yet somehow he held on, found some temp work, and stayed in touch with a couple of us at church.
Believe it or not that's the abridged version of M's tumultuous life. Today however, I offer a prayer for my friend, and ask you to do the same if you're so inclined. Today, after working hard since he quit his other job, he starts a new job, thanks to a hispanic friend at our church. Today, he's got his TWIC card, which is a special maritime security clearance card that you have to have to work in and around the Port of Houston. (His felonies weren't enough to get in the way) Today, he has passed two different tests (a 96 & a 90) to get this new job. Today, he drove onto the Exxon plant property and begins this new job as a scaffold builders helper with one of the subcontractors on property. Today I ask you Lord to bless M, help him do well, to fit in to whatever situation comes his way and to keep him safe. May today be the step up to a better life for my friend. It's been years in coming and I don't think he thought something like this would ever come. Thank you Lord, and may it be the step forward that he needs and that I pray it is.
Thank you Lord for my friend M, and I hope he gets rained out about 3 pm. ;)
have a blessed day ya'll,