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  • Writer's pictureAlong Side Ministries

Through it all Jesus won!

November 2023 • Newsletter

Homecoming & Volunteer Appreciation Day
Thomas (right) credits his mentor, Alan Lopez as being a source of stability and encouragement – Thomas Jackson’s Story.

Surviving childhood was not easy for Thomas Jackson.
  • Premature birth weighing just 2.7 pounds.

  • Abandoned at 2 years old by his mother.

  • Raised by grandparents with too much drinking and abuse at home.

  • Running from the law with his father, a notable member of a national motorcycle gang, who later went to prison for murder.

The wounds of abandonment and disillusionment followed Thomas all through his childhood and right into high school where he began drinking, doing drugs, and getting into trouble. His visiting a small church in Pinetop, Arizona to hear the Gospel had given way to his acting out – becoming increasingly more intense.


Finally, in 1986, it caught up with Thomas. He was arrested and convicted of burglary second degree. But that was only the beginning. He was given a life sentence in 1989 for eight counts of armed robbery in Pima County - “I would do as many as 3 robberies a night.”


Prison may have stopped Thomas’ outside activities, but he continued to act out while in

prison, earning forty-three disciplinary infractions. They included manufacturing a weapon, possession of stolen property, conspiracy, threatening harm, and refusal to work. He was at the end of himself. Then in 2013, the infractions stopped. Thomas Jackson was alone in “the hole” – solitary confinement with nothing but a weathered Gideon Bible – he surrendered his life to Christ. “For the first time in my life I read the whole Bible and the words were alive and lifegiving!”

Thomas Jackson was alone in “the hole”

– solitary confinement with nothing

but a weathered Gideon Bible – he

surrendered his life to Christ. “For the

first time in my life I read the whole

Bible and the words were alive and lifegiving!”

After his salvation, Thomas’ life in

prison changed. He was in the Word

constantly and mailing off for more

teachings about Jesus. He was assigned

to a lower security risk yard and

became part of a workday program as

a recovery aid – assigned to help other

prisoners with their own recovery.


Thomas’ introduction to Along Side

Ministries came from a neighboring inmate who invited him to attend Bible study. Soon after, he applied for the Discipleship Program and was accepted. Alan Lopez became his mentor and for three years inside prison, they faced many obstacles and challenges together, never wavering from God’s promises. “Alan was a solid source of stability and

encouragement for me.”


Then in 2017, after 28 years in prison, Thomas was released and began Phase 2 of the Along Side Ministries Discipleship Program. He graduated from the program in 2018.


“Graduation from Along Side is not an end – it is a beginning – the turning of the page of opportunity using the tools you’ve been given.”

“I love who God is forming me into.”

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