Organized by: Paul Craig
My name is Paul Craig.
I have a story to tell you. It begins with these words;
“Your children will be grown before you get out of prison.”
This is my story. The story of how a man can appear to be happy and fulfilled on the outside, but be tortured and despairing in his soul. How a man raised with the truth can fall for a lie. But more importantly, it is the story of how great and wonderful the grace of God is for anyone who cries out to Him. This is the story of how God saved me.
The words that are the heading for this introduction were spoken to me by my first attorney, after he reviewed my case in February of 2004.
Between the last weeks of December '03, and the first weeks of January '04, I had robbed three banks in Fairfax County, Virginia.
It was the worst time of my life. In fact, only the power of a merciful God had kept me from ending my life. During the previous months, I had slowly descended into a deep, suicidal depression and thought all hope was long gone.
I sat in that attorney’s office and imagined what my son and three daughters would go through growing up without a father. How would my marriage survive three decades of prison? How would I survive?
Thirty-three years to life in prison, that's what I was facing. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I was in a state of shock. I just kept repeating these words in mind,
”Oh God, What am I going do?”
How did I get into that hopeless place? How did I survive? How did I get from there to where I am today? How did God bring me through? Those are some of the questions I'm going to answer in this story.
You see, I found hope. God performed a miracle for me. And if God will do it for me, He will do it for you.
I didn't just survive, I came out better than when I went in. I found the God of Hope in a hopeless situation. I found the God of Joy when I had no reason to rejoice. I found the God of Peace when it looked like I was going to lose everything and there was no way out.
If your reading this and right now and your life is a shambles; If you’ve lost all hope and tomorrow looks to be as bleak as today; If you think there's no way out of the endless cycle of defeat and destruction you're caught in; hold on a little longer. Don't give up!
I have Good News for you! God not only can help you, He wants to help you more than you can imagine. God does not play favorites. His love is for everyone. His love is for you. He loves you right now, even in the middle of your mess. Even if you think you're unlovable or unworthy, God loves you and has everything you need just waiting for you. He has more Peace, more Joy, more Hope, and more Love, than you'll ever need. And your Heavenly Father is anxious to fill your life so full of His goodness that you will overflow into the lives of everyone around you. God is a good God, and He loves you.
You are about to read the story of an ordinary man who happens to serve an extraordinary God. My story is about how God's grace is available to everyone. The only thing you need to have done to be eligible for His love, His mercy and His grace; is to have been born on this planet.
The Bible says that God loved the entire world so much that He sent Jesus to pay the price for all of us. It also says that anyone and everyone who cries out to Him will receive the precious gifts He has to offer. So if your life is mess, if you're hopeless and in despair, if it looks like there is no way out and you don't know what to do; I make you this promise. The same God who rescued me and turned my life around loves you completely. And He is ready, willing, and able to do the same for you.
The passage above is the Introduction to a book I'm writing about my experiences, failures and how God turned my life around.
One of the keys to my overcoming the situation I was in, came through the selfless, generous people I met. Those people gave of their time and their hearts to help a stranger. They helped me get on track and stay there through the hard times. Because of their sacrifices, because of their compassion, I survived and overcame.
Now it's my turn.
National statistics show that 85% of released inmates commit another crime and are sent back to prison. Most studies by objective, independent sources show that faith based re-entry programs flip that statistic and have a 85% success rate over ten, fifteen, and twenty years of observable data. Millions of federal dollars are set aside annually as grants for such programs, yet very few programs exist. Government spokesmen proclaim that crime rates are dropping; and yet more prisons are built every year.
2.2 million men and women are incarcerated in the United States right now. more than any other country. The U.S. places a close second compared to all nations, in prisoners per capita also. Obviously something is not functioning properly in the "correctional" system.
Restoration House believes that the road to rehabilitation begins with an attitude of personal responsibility. The applicants must have shown a true awareness of the consequences of their actions and ownership of those actions that led to their imprisonment. Healing can begin only with the knowledge that one is in need of a healer.
Restoration House believes that every life is precious. We believe that changing the direction of one individual has far reaching impact. Impact in the individual and his/her family, and impact in a community with one less possible offender.
Being a residential facility, we take the former inmates out of the environment that helped form their negative behavior and attitudes; and place them in an atmosphere of safety and normalcy where they can learn the basic skills most people take for granted. We are partnering with an accredited Bible College as well as Community organizations to provide education and training that are the basis for successful futures.
Residents are not required to be employed for the first six months of residency. Instead they will be in various training classes, meeting with counselors, and assisting in community service projects.
This fundraiser is to defer the legal fees, permits, licensing fees, and start-up costs not covered by state and federal grant programs.
- Donations of $20 will receive the CD message titled "Making a Demand on Grace".
- Donations of $50 will receive the CD and a personally inscribed copy from the first printing of my book,"He Brought Me Back".
Thank you for your support, your prayers, and for telling someone else about the vision of Restoration House.