This heartwarming devotional is inspired by letters, prayers, and poems written by the inmates, parents, volunteers, and caregivers.
It is comforting to know that during our darkest times of loneliness and loss or when we experience overwhelming feelings of disconnectedness and frustration, God never leaves us. God loves us and can use us for His own purposes.
As the child of an inmate, Scottie experienced the pain of not having a father’s love until she came to realize she was a responsibility her father didn’t want. She grew up with the stigma of having an incarcerated parent. From the ages of four to forty-two, she searched for peace and hope. Finally, she and her father reconciled, and Scottie’s love for God led her to find forgiveness in her heart.
In 2000, she and her husband, Jack, established Forgiven Ministry, a non-profit organization, because they desired to follow God’s divine plan and implement a prison ministry. Together, they have served faithfully for 22 years and have dedicated their lives to reaching inmates behind the walls and their children who live in the dark world of incarceration. Their hope is to give unconditional love and support to children, inmates, and their families through services and programs that will promote rehabilitation and the re-entry into society as productive citizens. Through their ministry volunteers who unselfishly share messages of love and forgiveness, bruised children can find peace and self-worth.
On May 5, 2017, Scottie and Jack celebrated 45 years of marriage. Her two daughters have blessed her with six grandsons and three great–grandchildren. At age 70, Scottie is still passionate about seeing the ministry grow and giving more children hope. She has earned many awards and commendations: NC Volunteer of the Year for the Department of Corrections; Volunteer of the Year for Caldwell Correctional; Raleigh Correctional Center for Women; Volunteer of the Year for Alexander Correctional; certificate of appreciation from NC Gov. Mike Easley; Texas State Volunteer Award; Hope Award by the American Bible Society and World Magazine, and the Prison Fellowship Star of Victory Award. She has been written about in numerous magazines and newspapers, and she has appeared on numerous television shows, including CNN and Nightline.
“The greatest reward of my life is to be part of a family coming to know Christ and to reconcile with each other.”
Thom Black is a new retiree after having served a 35-year career with Duke Energy. He is ecstatic about his new position as “domestic engineer” for the Black household while Betsy continues her career at Duke Energy. Betsy holds a B.S. degree in Mathematics from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. They were born and raised in Charlotte, NC.
This year the couple will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. To relax, Betsy hikes the beautiful NC trails or plays the piano for enjoyment and church activities. Thom is an avid fan of the UNC Tarheels and the World Champion Chicago Cubs. Together they enjoy traveling throughout the United States to see the amazing wonders of our Creator. They also enjoy spending family time with their children: Thomas and wife, Ashley; Jordan; and Carrie Beth.
Thom and Betsy have served as volunteers for Forgiven Ministry – One Day with God camps since 2012. “During our time with Forgiven Ministry, we have seen the power of family, love, and forgiveness. We see the way God used the hurt of one little girl to bring love and hope to countless inmates and their families. Never underestimate the power of forgiveness through the shed blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Scott Horne has worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for thirteen years. Prior to his work with Billy Graham, he spent thirteen years in Youth Ministry. Scott majored in Bible and Theology at Columbia International University and loves teaching the Bible.
Scott has taught Sunday school for over twenty years. Scott is married to his childhood sweetheart, Amy. Scott and Amy have two amazing kids, Caroline, who is studying at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Christopher, who is a junior at Northside Christian Academy. Scott is a major movie fan, an avid reader, a beach bum, and would be quite happy living at Walt Disney World.
Since the year 2000, Scott has volunteered with Forgiven Ministry and has also served on the Forgiven Ministry Board of Directors. Scott has the greatest admiration for Scottie and Jack Barnes and loves the work of Forgiven Ministry.
He is a native of Charlotte, NC, where he and his family still reside.
Sandi Huddleston-Edwards, a proud North Carolinian, has passions for teaching English in local universities and colleges and for writing novels and memoirs. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Sandi has written articles for Lake Norman Publications, Tarheel Wheels, and Reader’s Digest. She is the author of two novels, Richard’s Key and Roy’s Sandman; a historical novel, Three Day Nights; a memoir, A Stranger to Myself, and a children’s book, The Clumsy Little Angel.
She and her husband, Barry, are the proud parents of three grown sons and five grandchildren. They enjoy traveling and spending time at Myrtle Beach with their two Yorkshire Terriers.
They began volunteering with Forgiven Ministry – One Day with God camps in 2016 after Thom and Betsy Black introduced them to Scottie, Jack, and the ministry. “We have witnessed the visibility of Jesus Christ on Earth through the love and reconciliation as families are reunited and rejoice in the nearness of each other. What a joy and blessing it is to call Scottie and Jack Barnes friends. They are faithful followers and true witnesses of our Lord and Savior’s powerful love and caring for each of us.”