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  • Writer's pictureAlong Side Ministries

Harriet's Story

May 2020

Perfect, perfect, perfect. A quick glance at Harriet’s résumé would tell you: She did everything right.

Aiming for a career in politics, she headed down a sensible path of accomplishments: earned a degree from Ohio State, worked in corporate America, earned an MBA, went to law school in Tucson, established her own law practice.

But something wasn’t perfect. Not completely. In law school, under that pressure, Harriet began drinking. “I grew up Christian,” she says today. “But the drinking came in and really created a wedge between me and the Lord.”

By the time she had her own practice, her drinking was accelerating. “What started out as something I was doing socially,” she says, “became something I was doing more and more frequently. That led to trouble with the law. When I got my first DUI, I didn't think I had a drinking issue. I thought it was something I could handle.... But then came more DUI's.”

“I couldn’t stop,” she recalls. By this time, she was a single mother. She kept pushing herself to work harder, to provide for her child. But the harder she worked, the more she drank.

In Arizona, a fourth DUI is a felony. Harriet had six. She went from losing her law practice ... to losing her law license ... to receiving a five-year prison sentence for aggravated DUIs. Her young son, Andrew, would have to stay with Harriet’s mother. Harriet was devastated. “I felt worthless. Everything I had worked for my entire life, I lost.”

Then, just before she entered prison, Harriet discovered she was pregnant. Her second son, Israel, was born “inside.” He went to Grandma, too.

Harriet, sitting in prison — utterly shattered — threw herself before God. “I was praying for help,” she says, “for some kind of intervention. I needed something to rescue me, because I couldn’t do it myself. I was so deep in my addiction.”

God heard Harriet’s prayer. He sent you to her rescue. Through your generous support of Along Side Ministries, Harriet found a way out of her own internal prison.

Your giving enabled us to send Angela Cooper into prison to serve as Harriet’s teacher and mentor. “I started getting what I needed spiritually,” Harriet says. Along Side Ministries “really filled in the gaps, and helped me realize that I couldn’t do any of this without God.”

When you give to Along Side Ministries, you’re not simply perpetuating a “program.” You’re empowering relationships ... personal one-on-one connections where the Word of God can do its work in powerful, practical ways. Angela made that connection for Harriet. “My teacher was so wise and knowledgeable in the Word of God,” Harriet says. “She really has wisdom and spiritual maturity. She is solid in her walk with God.”

And this was more than a short-term thing. Life after prison can be even more difficult than life inside. Angela would be Harriet’s teacher in prison and her mentor outside. “We talked about every area of life,” Harriet says, “from my spiritual journey to setting goals to what my housing situation was going to be, from finding a job to reuniting with my family. It was intense planning and mentoring designed to make sure you are successful when you leave.”

A few weeks ago, Harriet walked out of prison a free woman ... in more ways than one. She is living for the Lord, the bondage of her addiction has been broken, she is reuniting with her family. And still, we are Along Side!

Harriet attends Along Side Ministries classes almost every evening: Celebrate Recovery meetings, life skills classes, parenting sessions, Bible studies, and one-on-one meetings with mentor Angela. Harriet is even planning to begin the daunting process of restoring her law license.

God used you to give Harriet her new start. She is grateful, and I am grateful. And I hope you will reach out to help another woman or man as they prepare for life “on the outside.” Would you please give a generous tax-deductible contribution to Along Side Ministries today?

I ask with special urgency because a few generous friends have offered us an amazing Matching Challenge which will double the impact of any gift you give today, up to a total of $50,000. This means any donation you make today will be matched dollar-for-dollar. The impact of your generosity, your compassion, will go twice as far.

Please prayerfully consider how generous you can be, and let me hear from you quickly. Thank you for your heart of Christ-like compassion, and your willingness to live out the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:36: “I was in prison and you came to visit me.” God bless you!

Yours in Christ,

Ken Sheets

Executive Director

P.S.Our $50,000 Matching Challenge — from five area churches, a local business, and two anonymous individuals — couldn’t come at a better time, because summer is often a difficult season, as many friends focus on summertime activities and giving declines. This year especially, in the pandemic economy, many folks aren’t able to give like before. So if God has blessed you, we really need your help today. Thank you again!

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