An ecumenical ministry of Christian Care at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility.

New Beginnings Worshipping Community is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)

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New Beginnings Worshipping Community reserves all rights

 

Lacey and Demika's Testimonials

Demika's Story

 

Hi, my name is Demika and today I want to share some of my life with you.

            I was born in Ripley, Mississippi. I am the oldest girl of five siblings. I grew up in a small town filled with racism and division. Within my home was drinking and drugging. My oldest brother had his own Dad, my three younger siblings had their own Dad, and I had my own Dad.

 My Mom and my Step Father were married ever since my earliest memory at the age of three. Due to his excessive drinking and work load I was left to babysit my baby sister. She was about 9 months old. I was three. I must have fallen asleep and my sister climbed out of the house some kind of way. He awoke to her crying and he in turn took his anger out on me. I was whipped with a metal clothing hanger, until I bled down my legs. My grandmother came from out of nowhere like a guardian angel. She and my Step Dad had some sort of altercation. My granny put me in the font seat of her car and drove away. This was my life.

            I was afraid to talk, afraid to sleep, afraid to leave my Mom and afraid to be a kid. On top of all of this, when my Mom and Step Dad were away the devil came in to play. I was molested by several family members. I didn’t know that I could tell my Mom what happened to me because there was no direct communication with the children unless it was discipline.

            I was filled with shame and torment. I carried a fear that my Mom wouldn’t believe me or that I would get a whoopin’. That was my mind frame at six years old. So, I tried to kill myself. I stabbed my wrist until I started to bleed. I didn’t want to live any more. My babysitter walked in and caught me. She ran and told my Mom. Nothing happened. I remember no questions, no comfort, no nothing. Eventually, my Mom left my Step Dad. Months went by and she got into another violent relationship. Out of the blue she sent my oldest brother and middle sister to live with my grandma in Michigan. It left me to raise my other two younger siblings. One night, I saw my Mom’s new boyfriend trying to kill my Mom. He was stabbing her repeatedly. I grabbed a bat and started swinging it with all my might. Somehow I knocked him into the glass so loudly that my Aunt from across the street heard and ran into our house. As she came into the front door to help my Mom, he turned to jump onto her pregnant belly. She was flung into the sofa where they both

laid in a ball sobbing. Eventually, the police came and arrested him. Hours later, he was at my Mom’s bedroom window trying to break in. I begged my Mom not to let him back in. My Mom told me to put his clothes on the back porch. I ran to the back door and threw every clothing item down the stairs and locked the door. I thought to myself “bye, bye dirt bag”. Of course, I cursed, I was eight and grown up, so I thought.

            With all of this happening, my Mom packed up and we moved to Michigan. On our long drive to Michigan I thought about all the horrible events that had taken place. As I glared at the moon wondering why it was following us, I said, “when I get older I’m never going to let anyone beat me like that.” Needless to say, in a few short years, I ended up in abusive relationships myself. I thought that fighting them back made my situation different than my Moms. I still got beaten up, but I thought at least I fought back. My mind was tremendously warped. I smoked weed, drank and partied to numb the pain. I got into selling dope as I worked and went to school. This was a good life. My kids and I had all we wanted. Who was I fooling? I moved to Colorado to get away from that life. Not until this very moment as I’m writing this testimony did I recognize that I moved to a different state too. Just like my Mother. I too wanted something better for my kids and myself. Yet, I carried all those same generational habits and curses with me to Colorado. I didn’t have a clue to the rage, anger, bitterness, un-forgiveness, and so many other internal toxins that would manifest. I had my new life, new job and new school but I picked back up with the same guy just a different state. The cycle began again.

I didn’t realize that one moment can completely change your life.

            One day a group of my family and friends were partying and decided we wanted to go out to a club. Suddenly, as in unison we all had a change of heart. We decided to chill at home and continue to party. My babysitter and I left to go get some more alcohol, but we never made it to the store. We got jumped by four women and three guys at random. I totally lost my mind. I snapped and did what I thought was best at the time. I stabbed three people and one of them died. This moment has seared in my brain for life. Remorse, regret, shame, pain, and shock is at my core soul. I never imagined that I would ever take someone’s life. This tragic day has surfaced suicidal contemplations. Toiling with the idea that this would make it easier for my victim’s family. The scriptures rose up in me. Resist the devil and He would flee. There is none righteous no, not one. We all fall short of God’s glory. God has a plan and purpose for my life. The ultimate word that I still stand on is what the enemy meant to harm me. God is turning it around for my good and His glory. I thank God that He is a healer and a Redeemer. He came to set the captives free from bondages that I carried for years. The Word is alive. It is a process, and a challenge to be a better person than who I was when I came in here. We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony. I strive to be not only a hearer of the Word, but a doer, as well.

            “Bloom where you are planted”, has become a part of my everyday life experience. I have a growing awareness that I am a seed growing into what God has called me to be. My heart is always receptive to Chaplain Terry’s light that shines bright for each woman in this facility. Her spirit of determination ignites me to bloom and flourish. Each volunteer and donor is a word, a seed, water and a sower that nourishes our drylands.

            My final thoughts are in Isaiah 55:10-11 “as the rain and the snow com down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my Word that goes from my mouth. It will not return to me void (empty), but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” I believe that every person is a spoken word from Gods mouth. We all have a purpose to fulfill. We will not return to the father empty of what He has purposed us to do.

            I stand on God’s promises to be the woman He has predestined me to be. I will come forth, but until then “I will bloom where I am planted”. Thank You. 

Rachel's Story

 

My name is Rachel #165729.  I’m 25 years old and I am currently serving an 11 year sentence at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility.   I am writing this letter to you today as a very different person than I was before my life changed forever in the light of my savior, Jesus Christ.  So I want to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to share my story, and more importantly, allowing me to testify to the miraculous transformation God has performed in my spirit.

My life started out fairly normal.  I was a happy child with a loving family and big dreams.  I had a good childhood for the most part.  When I was 5, my little sister was born, making my family complete.  Life was good, but then about a year later, my parents got divorced.  They did their best to make the change as painless as possible, but I was young, and like most kids do, I blamed myself.

I started to manifest the guilt I felt as a deep sense of insecurity, which led to the discovery that if I did well in things like school or sports people seemed to love me.  My insecurities were less noticeable if I was performing well, so I made sure I was the best at everything I did.  I never showed weakness because I was afraid that if I did, no one would love me. 

I struggled deeply with the human condition.  I never felt connected or like I fit in.  I constantly felt homesick and like something was missing…

Then, when I was 12, I tried cocaine for the first time.  It was the answer to my secret struggle.  I felt like I could do anything, be anyone, and never feel alone again.  It was everything I had been looking for, that is, until I came down. 

For the next 9 years, I decided I would be the best at staying high, and I did everything in my power to never come down again.I did every drug I could get my hands on.  I found myself in a multitude of abusive relationships.  I hitch-hiked across the country alone at 18 years old.  I fell in love with the free-love, hippie culture because it represented the freedom and acceptance I so desperately desired.  The poetic irony of all my searching was that the more I chased after freedom, the more imprisoned I became.

I couldn’t face my pain which grew more and more unbearable as I put myself in dangerous situations daily to feed my addictions.  I missed opportunities, hurt people I loved, and for nearly a decade I tore through this world with reckless abandon for myself and anyone who crossed my path.  Drugs were my idea of God.  Abuse was my idea of love.  I tried everything I could find, but nothing ever filled the hole in my heart. 

On July 27, 2013, two months after my 21st birthday, my life literally went up in smoke when my ex-fiancé and I got into an altercation with some people at a party, resulting in us lighting their house on fire.  Afterwards, I went to the mountains, alone for 3 days to hide out from the cops, but in that dark solitude, I could no longer hide from the demons in me.  I saw hell during those days as the devil fought for my soul, but even there in those mountains God was with me.

On the 3rd day, I put my last syringe into a dumpster instead of into my arm and I turned myself in.  I was tired—tired of the pain and tired of running…

I was booked into the Jefferson County Jail, a 21 year old, 100 pound junkie with 22 charges and a possible life sentence.  The reality of my situation was too much for me to handle, and I ended up on suicide watch after an officer found me with a sheet tied around my neck.  I had hit rock bottom.

Even at my lowest point, God was with me.  Finally, I was determined and stable enough to have a bed and they gave me a bare mattress and a stiff blanket.  When I laid my head down, I did something I’d never done before.  I surrendered.  I prayed to a God I’d never believed in because I couldn’t do it alone any longer. 

The next morning, I woke up in that dark basement with a single beam of sunlight shining across my face, and in that moment, I knew God was real.

After that day, I found the strength to keep going.  I ran after God with the same tenacity I once used to run from my problems.  I gave my life to His glory and I found myself being led to new levels of peace and understanding. 

I spent time with God through prayer, meditation, and fellowship with other believers, but despite my newly blossoming spirituality, life was hard.  All the pain I had masked with substances rose to the surface.  But through God’s infinite mercy, I found healing.  I found strength.  I found my voice.  I found my worth.

I found forgiveness through Christ, but I still had to answer for my actions and as I was finding my spiritual identity, I was also fighting my case.  A couple of days before sentencing, I cried out to God, “Please don’t make me go to prison.  I’m just starting to live right.  Don’t lock me away.”

Then I heard a message from a still, small voice, “You have to go, and it’s not just for you.”

I received 11 years for 1st degree attempted murder and arson.  Three years later, I can honestly say it was the greatest blessing of my life.  I experience more peace, more joy, and more purpose now than I ever imagined possible. 

My walk with God has been a beautiful journey, and I owe so much gratitude to the amazing volunteers that offer their time to come into this environment and share the love of Christ with us. 

What New Beginnings does is so much more than providing a worship serve.  It is a God-ordained blessing.  The volunteers not only see the light in us when we aren’t able to see it in ourselves, but they give their time to help us reclaim that light.

Today, I live in a state of eternal gratitude.  God saved me.  He saved me from a fate worse than death; a life without love; a life without God.  And if He can save someone like me, believe me when I say, He can save anybody.

He is a God of grace; a God of salvation; a God of miracles.  Not only is it a miracle that I am able to share my story with you today, but today I stand in God’s glory with a life filled with meaning.  Through God all things are possible. 

Never forget the truth of who you are.  God has a purpose for all of our lives.  He is calling to each and every one of us.  Now is the time to answer.

Thank you, and God bless you.

There is none Righteous, No Not One. (Romans 3:10)

Glenn's Reaction (Visitor)

The saying, "If you give someone your time, you're giving them a part of your life" The singleness of that strikes me of two recent ministry opportunities via "New Beginnings" at WCF. Both Thanksgiving Eve and then again on Christmas Eve services with the ladies.They have nothing but time to think about....how blessed was I to be part of their worship service on those evenings.AND, they thanked me for caring, coming to their services, sharing my male voice to hymns, two even remembered me from Thanksgiving to the Christmas Eve service (how kind) and the second time they went forward with meto receive  communion. Thank you dear Lord for this blessing of time in our faith journey TOGETHER.