By: Katie Sobiech
One important value that men learn through T.R.Y. is to be faithful in all that they do.
“A lot of men and women in prison surrender their hearts to Jesus, but how can they be faithful on the outside?” Steve Wewer, Chief Operating Officer of T.R.Y. said. “They don’t have any food, shelter, or their basic needs met… How can they be faithful?”
T.R.Y. offers men a hand up, rather than a hand out, giving them an opportunity to be faithful while providing food and housing for men. The men are expected in return to be faithful daily by going out and doing lawn care and other types of volunteer work.
“They’re learning to be content with what God’s given them today and really trusting in God as Provider,” Wewer said.
No Strings Attached
“There’s no money involved but there’s a roof over your head, and it’s a safe environment,” Darryl Hill, one of the men living in a T.R.Y. home, said.
“If a man is out on the street that’s what’s going to get him to go back to doing the things he was doing before,” Hill continued.
Randy Bullard, also living in one of the T.R.Y. homes, explained how important having a support system is.
“T.R.Y. surrounds and submerges you in Christian relationships. We’re able to be real and honest about our struggles and problems, and most of the men in the program have had similar problems or issues and they can give you a little light at the end of the tunnel,” Bullard said.
“When you’re still in a haze and fog, not real sure where you’re going, it’s nice to have that kind of encouragement and to see people who’ve made it through that. It’s a real blessing. It’s an awesome program,” he continued.
The men share with each other, pray with each other and encourage one another.
“It’s the community that we build. We’re there to lift one another up when we’re going through a tough time. We have issues to deal with but it’s a whole lot different when you have Jesus and that support system through it,” Bullard said.
The men share the unique ways in which God brings in those who are in need of help.
One man was sleeping in his truck and had nowhere to go; he ended up meeting with Perry and now is on the T.R.Y. team.
“The personal relationships and connections and the way God leads us here is all different, but we can see His hand on every one of them and you see how He’s working to bring the different people that He does to this program,” Bullard explained.
A New Man
Though Bullard isn’t proud of his past, he’s grateful for the future.
His wife would always tell his son, “You’re just like your father”, and he hated it.
“My son was like me, but a lot further along already, following down the wrong path,” Bullard said, “ But to see God redeem that and through me help get him on the right path when all I had shown him was a bad example for 24 years was really a blessing to me.”
Bullard says he now wants to be a part of his children’s lives and stop running and hiding.
On witnessing the transformation of Bullard and his son, Hill said “You could never script that.”
Opportunities for Success
Once the men’s lives begin changing inside and they are faithful with their volunteer work, T.R.Y. sets them up with job interviews.
A local machine shop has hired 3 men from T.R.Y. in just the last 2 ½ months.
“They see that guys coming from us can be better workers than the guys that they have coming off of the streets, because when a man gets to the bottom and surrenders everything to Jesus he starts working for Jesus as God commands us to, and he really has a heart to help,” Wewer said.
“Reflecting back, God has really opened doors since 3-4 years ago. It’s nothing Steve or I could have put on paper or said we wanted to happen,” Perry Clark, President and Founder of T.R.Y., said.
A Local Mission Field
“Since doing this I’ve come to learn that we have a real mission right here in our own community, and I don’t know what it’s going to take but one of my prayers is that the churches in the community come to learn that we have a mission field right here. We have missionaries here in our own community,” Clark said.
“Reaching out and helping people that a lot of society looks down on brings a tremendous amount of joy. It’s a real blessing to be able to do that and see them grow and change, and to go from what a lot of people would view as unproductive citizens to productive citizens,” Bullard said.
The needs for this ministry are many, including someone to help with their newsletters, marketing, and website maintenance. They are also looking for a technical advisor and salesperson in lawn care.
If you are interested please contact the ministry at 330.785.9294 or visit their brand new website at http://www.trulyreachingyou.com!