Archive for the ‘Testimonies: Volunteers’ Category

Don Harding, Moundsville, WV Prison & Jail Volunteer

Yokefellowship VolunteerFour men in an old pickup truck stopped by my house today and wanted to know if I wanted my roof checked. Before I could reply, he pointed out several things wrong with my roof. I noticed some of the shingles were not even with the others, but didn’t think much about them. Turns out they were coming loose and needed renailed and sealed. He gave me a terrific price and they fixed them on the spot. Plus, they took out a spare hot water tank we never use anymore. They’re coming back this fall and grinding a stump also.

In the process, he noticed an open bible in the garage and asked about it. I had picked it up at Goodwill and was in process of fixing some torn places and retaping the edges of others. “The Bible is going to Ohio Co Corrections this Sunday,” I replied. I mentioned about being in Yokefellowship Prison Ministry. He then said, “Hey, I remember you. I did 6 months for 2nd offense DUI. You were one of several men who came in on Fridays at Northern. You gave me a bible.”

He continued, “There are many who really appreciate your group, and your meeting is a welcome event. We look forward to those days you come in.” He said he still has his bible and has never had another drink since his release. He has tried several churches but most act like they don’t want him. Because of his record, it is hard to get a job now so he is making work himself , his son and three other men of like record.

Several families have hired them here in the neighborhood, for various jobs. His last statement was rewarding, “Please don’t give up on going in the prison. You are needed.”

It was like getting a payday. Most of the time we never hear from the men. Never know if any good is being done. We don’t go for praise or applause. We go because it is scripture. But it was nice hearing from someone from the inside. I just thought you might like to hear some positive news for a change. don harding

Carlos Caguias, Franklin County Jail Volunteer

Yokefellowship Volunteer TestimoniesYokefellows volunteer, Carlos Caguias, knows what its like to be shackled, locked up, locked down, and alone. He’s been addicted to drugs and alcohol, blinded by rage, and filled with the fury to kill. He should have died 100 times.

But through it all, Carlos believes God sanctified him, protected him, and finally, called him as it says in Jude .

“….to them that are sanctified by God the Father,
and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.”
—Jude 1:1-2

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, Carlos first went to jail at age 15 for smoking reefer. His girlfriend bailed him out for $25. At age 17, he was sentenced to 4 years for armed robbery. Paroled after 2½ years he remained on the streets for one year. At age 20, he was convicted of 14 burglaries and served less than one year. He was paroled to Pottstown PA to live with his sister and continued to steal to supplement his drug habit. For ten years he didn’t get caught. Then he lost his regular job and reluctantly started selling drugs, as Satan whispered, “just to pay a few bills.” He got greedy and began raking in the cash, buying a quarter for $600 and selling it for $1,200. He owned 5 cars, 2 motorcycles, and an apartment filled with luxuries.

Two years later, surrounded by riches and women, he weighed 100 pounds and was so strung out on drugs that he didn’t sleep for three days. He cried out to God for help and God sent an undercover cop. “I knew it was God because I hadn’t sold to anyone I didn’t know for 10 years,” Carlos explained. Six weeks later, he was in jail.

Driven by his lifetime addiction he would shake the cell bars screaming for a hit at all hours of the day and night. On Sept 25, 1990, while searching for a radio station, the static miraculously disappeared and Carlos heard the testimony of a felon broadcast on Chaplain Ray’s ministry in Texas.

Carlos began to cry, “It felt like 1,000 pounds was lifted off of me. The bitterness and hatred left and God filled me up.” Carlos adds, “God then immediately took my desires for drugs away.”

Carlos developed a thirst for the Word that couldn’t be quenched. He studied incessantly. He wrote to Chaplain Ray who sent him books on other inmates who were given new lives in Christ. With his self-acquired knowledge he started his own bible study. When there were 5 inmates in the study, the Lieutenant told them to stop. So they broke up into small groups and stood 10-15’ apart so they could hear everything anyone said. When Carlos was released in ‘91 there were 35 inmates in the study.

Carlos’ advice to inmates prior to release is “Don’t leave God behind. You must surrender to God completely. Not just 99 percent. And, don’t try to convert your old friends.”

Since ‘97, Carlos has volunteered at Huntingdon County prison and SCI Smithfield. Carlos has his own home, a loving wife Lydia, and a son. Three years ago Carlos was diagnosed with liver cancer and is awaiting a liver transplant. During his illness, on his good days, he continued to minister behind bars and to everyone who crosses his path, encouraging others to share the Good News. His spirits are high and now more than ever he is relying upon the peace and love of Jesus Christ, his savior. (see Jude 1:2 above).