Sharing Christ with the families of inmates at the Big Sandy Federal Prison as well as the surrounding area is the goal of Haven of Rest Family Ministries.
By Kristen White
Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union
Second in a series of Eliza Broadus Offering impact stories.
When Jenny’s* husband was arrested and sent to prison at the Big Sandy Federal Penitentiary, she felt scared and helpless. Without her husband’s income, she lost her home and had to sell most of her belongings to make ends meet. On the weekends, she had the opportunity to go to visitation at the prison, but how could she afford to travel and pay for lodging? Through the hard work of Haven of Rest Family Ministries in Inez, supported by the Eliza Broadus Offering and churches around Kentucky, Jenny found hope and met Jesus. Now she looks forward to what she calls her “weekend retreats.” Although the prison is still a stressful place for her, she knows she is loved at Haven of Rest.
For 10 years, Haven of Rest has provided free food and lodging for families who are visiting inmates at Big Sandy. Joyce and Harold Scroggs, who accepted the position of directorship two years ago, share God’s love through meeting physical needs, providing a safe place of encouragement, and holding a chapel service on Saturday evenings. The lodge is also used during the week to house teams providing VBS, Backyard Bible Clubs, block parties, nursing home, home repair and Christmas on the Mountain ministries. Through various types of outreach, people’s needs are met and lives are changed for an eternity. Those who have never heard the name of Jesus or a clear explanation of the Gospel come face-to-face with truth.
Laundering linens, shopping for food, making meals, assigning rooms, loving people in desperate circumstances—the adventures at Haven of Rest never end.
“There’s never a dull moment!” said Joyce.
When the Scroggs could be spending their retirement years focusing on their own happiness, they are committed to focus on others. How do they find their energy to serve?
“We remember where our source of power comes from,” Joyce said. “During a lengthy battle with health issues, we wondered if our ministry was coming to an end, but God had other plans for us. Even during that difficult period of our lives, God was preparing us for our next ministry at Haven of Rest. We find power to serve as long as God is leading the way. All we have to do is be obedient and be blessed!
“The moment we are saved, our lives are changed forever and we have a divine calling to share our faith,” Joyce noted. “Ask God what He wants you to do and do it. When we asked, God confirmed that our call was at Haven of Rest.”
Jenny is one of many who travel to Inez to visit their family members in prison, and some come from as far as California. Others drive all night after getting off work on Friday to have time with their loved one on Saturday.
Haven of Rest is a crucial step in the journey of these families toward restoration and wholeness, but it takes resources and people to maintain the buildings, purchase food and reach out into the community in other ways.
“Pray for the fruits of our labor,” Joyce said. “We are doing this to intervene in families who have no hope outside of Christ. He gives us our power to serve. He has power to transform lives.”
*Jenny’s name was changed to protect her privacy.
Pray that God will grant Harold and Joyce health, resources, energy and help from teams to carry out this life-changing ministry. Ask God to protect those traveling each weekend to visit their loved ones in prison. Ask God to give prisoners and their families the ability to understand that Jesus can wash away past mistakes and help them restore their lives.