The first day a mom and her children set foot at Exodus Ministries, they are welcomed into a beautiful, fully-furnished apartment. Each apartment is uniquely decorated by thoughtful volunteers. Each kitchen comes completely stocked with groceries, through support of the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. Each detail is covered in prayer and the family has everything they need to begin a new life.
Having just been released from incarceration or a residential rehabilitation facility, these mothers often come to the complex with only the clothes on their back. The look of wonder and awe as they take in their new surrounding is Case Manager Courtney’s favorite part as she helps families move into their new home for the next year.
In August 2013, Courtney, and her then-5-year-old son, moved into an apartment at Exodus Ministries after she served an eight-month prison sentence. During her time in prison, she came to truly and fully rely on God. She attributes her acceptance into Exodus Ministries’ program to God’s sovereignty. Courtney applied for several residency programs around the state, but Exodus Ministries was the only program in the state that allowed (and encouraged) single mothers to bring their children with them.
“When I first arrived, I was on fire for the Lord,” Courtney recalled. “He was with me in everything I did. I would hunger for Him, pray to Him, spend every moment with Him. I knew that was how I was going to become a good mom, to persevere through this program.”
Over the next 10 months, Courtney poured everything she had into growing in her relationship with God, reconnecting with her son and soaking up the training she was receiving through Exodus’ programs. The change in her life soon became evident to everyone she knew. Battling a 13-year addiction to drugs, Courtney’s parents often wept when they reflected on how far the Lord had brought her.
In addition to getting her life on track, Courtney also had a renewed relationship with her son.
“God put us back together,” she said. “I knew he was my son, he knew I was his mom. I had a new joy for him I had never had before. It was God’s love pouring out.”
Courtney now works as a case manager for the ministry which changed her life. She and her son still live the on the property. Every day she is able to pour into residents and encourage them through the program. Having experienced many of the same struggles and difficulties, she is able to encourage them to turn to the Lord and trust Him at all times.
“I tell our clients, ‘You are here because God has a plan and a purpose for your life. You were created for so much more than the life you’ve been living. You can’t do it alone, you have to do it with Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life,’” Courtney said.
Currently nine families are living at the Dallas-based ministry, with a few families soon en route. Services provided to the single mothers include Bible studies, individual and group Christian counseling, personalized case management, job training, financial planning and money management and parenting and life skills classes. Exodus Ministries was established in 1985 and is the only organization in Texas that welcomes both women and their children into its care after the mother is released from incarceration. The heart behind their ministry is to meet the spiritual, emotional and practical needs of these families and point them to Jesus Christ.
The U.S. Justice Department has declared this week (April 24-30) National Reentry Week, with an emphasis on programs and initiatives which help formerly incarcerated individuals become functioning members of their communities. We are thankful for partners like Exodus Ministries who are serving mothers reentering into society and helping them find a hope through Jesus Christ.
Exodus Ministries is one of 160 ministries around world funded by the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering. A special Mother’s Day offering will be received in Texas Baptists churches on May 8. Click here to donate to the Hunger Offering today.