Recovering addict speaks at prisonBehind the walls of the Stillwater Prison, Mark Foss could sense a feeling of heaviness and a lack of hope.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
Behind the walls of the Stillwater Prison, Mark Foss could sense a feeling of heaviness and a lack of hope.
Walking around one of Minnesota’s state correctional facilities, Foss could feel the pain and hurt.
“I could recognize that,” said Foss, who walked into the facility not as an inmate, but as someone who was there to share the message of the gospel.
“It was my first time as a visitor,” beamed Foss.
Foss is the founder of LifeRight Outreach in Alexandria, a home and Christian-based transitional program to help those getting back into mainstream society get a job and some order in their lives.
He and Jay Jenson, who is the director of ministry at LifeRight, were recently guest speakers at the Atlantis drug treatment program inside the Stillwater Prison. It is a program to help male prisoners “get clean.”
Foss went through the program in May of 2002 after he said he “surrendered to the Lord,” which was in April of 2002.
After visiting with the director of the prison, Foss said the director told Jenson that Foss was a handful. Apparently, he didn’t leave the facility on the best of terms, he said.
But this time was different. This time, being inside the prison meant something to Foss. He was there to help, to share his story – to offer up hope to those who needed and wanted it.
Foss recalled that when he was an inmate going through the same program, he heard a speaker, a man who offered him what he hoped to offer the prisoners he was speaking to – hope and encouragement.
“I don’t remember the guy’s name, but I do remember his message,” Foss said.
The message Foss and Jenson brought to the inmates was simple. It was a message that let them know they matter, that they are loved and that there are people who care about them.
“We gave them hope,” said Foss.
The two are planning to head back to the prison – as guests again – in December and then hopefully every three months. They want to share/teach the mission of the LifeRight Outreach program.