By: Katie Sobiech
The key to change is getting to the core, or inner issues, of an individual. Once they are changed inside, it cannot help but overflow to the outside, affecting their entire life.
In order to bring forth inward change, those at Unshackled Transitional Housing (UTH) introduce, or re-introduce, the Word of God into people’s lives. The natural result for those who are open to it is complete transformation.
“We take the Word and stand on the Word because that’s what delivered us,” Michael Starks, Director of S.L.A.A.P. Ministries, said, “I didn’t get recovery, I got delivered.”
Those at UTH have discovered that being “washed” in the Word of God has the power to free individuals from their bondages, and the shackles that have once kept them bound. They find it crucial to healing deep, inner issues that often result in unhealthy behaviors.
Designed to Change
Proverbs 23:7a says “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he”… (NKJV)
Thoughts are powerful, and those at UTH have discovered the importance of renewing the mind and changing life patterns simply by changing thought patterns.
“We try to help them change the way they think, because if they don’t change the way they think, then they won’t change their lives,” Minister Minerva Brown, Founder of UTH said.
All residents are required to go through the “Designed to Change” curriculum.
“The first thing to change is you have to have a desire,” Brown explained, “We deal with a population that loves to make excuses, because that releases them from the responsibility of the lifestyle they chose.”
“Designed to Change” motivates them to find their unique purpose and to take action.
“One of the things that I love about it is that sometimes the people have just lost their dreams. They lose their inspiration to live, and their hope, so we do a curriculum called ‘Never Stop Dreaming’,” Brown shared.
During “Never Stop Dreaming”, each resident creates his or her own portfolio answering questions about who they are, what is important to them, what their life dreams are, and other questions along those lines.
“What I’ve found is it gives them hope again,” Brown said.
Through God’s Eyes
“We also help them in personal development because they have to see themselves as God sees them,” Brown shared.
They encourage residents to face the reality of how they see themselves, and understand how they view and process things.
“Sometimes in dealing with them it’s not a good thing, so we have to get them to see themselves in a different perspective,” Brown explained.
Derek Murray, just 28 years old, has already been through the program.
“Derek came to us as a result of Judge Brenda Unruh. The amazing thing about him is that he had a jury trial and was found guilty,” Brown said.
And this wasn’t his first offense.
“Usually when you’re found guilty you don’t get any breaks, but the judge saw something in this young man. They actually sentenced him to our program instead of going to the penitentiary,” Brown continued, “We knew it was God working on his behalf!”
The change that resulted from Murray’s stay at UTH was living proof of God’s involvement and hand over the situation.
“We’ve seen such a change in this young man who was once out in the streets wearing his pants under his behind, you know, the whole look of that generation. We watched him turn around, even his dress code. They have to dress for success,” Brown said.
Derek now has his own apartment, got his license and his first car which he bought and paid for.
“He has had a lot of accomplishments,” Brown smiled, as if he were her own son.
Carmine Robinson is another. He was in and out of the prison system for years.
“He had purposed in his heart that he wanted out of that lifestyle but he just didn’t have the support he needed to actually stay free,” Brown shared.
After going through the UTH program, he is now working full-time and has his own place as well.
“He has grown leaps and bounds in what God has purposed for him,” Brown said with excitement.
Robert Weaver, also in and out of the penitentiary and bound by drugs for years, came through successfully.
“I saw a complete turn-around in him. He is still drug free, he’s back with his family and has his own business doing power washing,” Brown said.
Another inspirational story is of Victor Folks. Folks came all the way from Detroit, Michigan.
“Not only do we take residents of Summit County, but those that want to be residents and want a change of life where they can flourish in their own county,” Brown said, “Victor came here looking for a change because in that place he was in he just couldn’t break free from the lifestyle he was living, so he came here.”
During his stay at the house, Folks was freed from drugs and hasn’t touched them since. He completed the course and is now employed.
“In this upcoming year we hope to network with agencies that will take on some of the people in our houses as employers,” Brown shared.
For more information on this ministry please call Minerva Brown at 330.431.0496 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.