Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This week, His Own Heart Ministries invites you to join us as we take a look into a local ministry dedicated to helping others find their physical – and spiritual – ways home.)
So there I sat, wondering what to do next, stuck between my starting point and desired destination. Halfway up Capitol Hill, my mobility scooter balked. Wouldn’t move another inch. Flat refused to budge.
Perplexed as to what to do next, I followed the instructions of a voice behind me when I heard, “Keep moving forward, I’ve got you,” then was relieved as a friend in our travel group gave me a gracious push. Once we reached a more level area, the scooter regained its strength and handled the rest of the tour like a boss.
Looking back, it seems so fitting that John Jennings was there to step up in that moment. His whole testimony involves helping people get from Point A to Point B, after all, when they’re wondering what to do next. He and wife Cheryl are founders of F.A.V.A.R Ministries, an amazing outreach facility based in Charlotte, NC, that helps individuals transition back into society upon release from prison.
John will be first to tell you that God is responsible for the success of the ministry. I’ll be first to tell you that, as much glory as FAVAR Ministries brings to the Creator, the story behind the ministry brings Him every bit as much glory.
According to John, high school graduation brought a lot of choices; he chose the bad ones. Selling drugs led to doing drugs, which led to financial poverty, which led to robberies, which eventually led to arrest. The father of six was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Along his incarcerated journey, he says, “I began to realize this was not the life God created me to live. I went back to my roots. I asked God to give me one more chance. I beseeched Him – let me be the man You created me to be.”
God not only heard John’s prayer; He acted on it by calling John to preach.
“During the next ten years, my life turned around,” John recalls. “My time was spent preaching, teaching and helping men make a positive change.” And then – in the blink of an eye – his own life changed forever. With only 90 days left to serve, John received a call.
“Someone killed my only son. This was devastating; I wasn’t sure I could survive. I asked God why He took my only son. He said, ‘I too gave my only Son that you and others like you could have eternal life.’”
From there, a seed was planted; and the rest, as the saying goes, is history
After completing his sentence, John moved to South Carolina. When the accused killers were apprehended, “God sent me to the courthouse to share His love with them. He also commanded me to tell the [actual accused killer] how much I loved him.” With what must have been dire reluctance, John chose to obey.
He now states in a matter-of-fact tone that “[w]hen it was over, God said, ‘Now, son, I can use you.’ I had to embrace forgiveness before God could or would use me. All hateful thoughts and spiteful temptations had to be set aside forever.”
After enabling John to start his own business – a cleaning company, ironically – God revealed His plan for John to spearhead F.A.V.A.R. Ministries, the outreach that he uses “to help others as I was helped on my release [from prison]” alongside his wife.
The outcome? “God has blessed me,” he humbly declares. “F.A.V.A.R. [is] His ministry, one that He allows me to guide and is expanding into a second state.”
The goal? With divine as well as human help, John is striving toward a ministry coverage area that will encompass seven states; then “[God’s] vision will go national,” he says. The vision needs human resources, of course, but John also knows that prayer for divine guidance is a must.
“Please pray,” he asks simply, “that God gives me the strength, wisdom and insight to bring His mercy to His incarcerated sons and daughters; to help them know and embrace His divine balm in their time of desperate need.”
Please join His Own Heart in doing just that.
(To learn more about John and Cheryl – or to become involved with F.A.V.A.R., visit http://www.favarministries.comor contact the organization by phone at 980-237-4787.)
– Copyright 2019, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.