Thoughts From Those Within Prison
I want to send out another special Thank You to both Mr. Clifford Parrish and Mrs. Susan “Sue” Parrish who without their presence we never have this experience. Thank you just does not seem like enough for blessing me with something so substantive, something so meaningful, for Free. Where I come from tangible things cost. So for you both to sacrifice so much of your time, energy, effort, love for a bunch of guys thrown away by society, it just humbles me. One day I want to be able to help people in such a worthy way. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Even though that just does not seem like enough. But Thank you for showing me how to make progress in my life.
Cliff and Sue Parrish bringing the “Foundations for Life” course to me has not only furthered my spiritual journey but has broadened my perspective of what spirituality is and also how to build on a solid foundation. They have also taught me the importance of having a strong spiritual part of my life by example. With “Foundations for Life” and their influences.
I’ve been around for a while, 3 decades of consecutive years on incarceration. I’ve been in 5 different prisons, I’ve seen and experienced a lot. Over those years I’ve compiled an impressive amount of program certificates, but none of those previous ones are as impactful as the ones from Freedom From Within.
“I’m here to tell you that you are of value. That you are worth investing time in. I don’t care what you’ve done to get here. It’s none of my business. I am here to show you how to unleash the masterpiece that is within you.” These are words I will never forget. Cliff Parrish, a man I see as a mentor said these words to a whole class. I felt as if he was directly talking to me and really he was. I had never heard these words in that way. Let alone spoken to me. I am 27 years old. I have been incarcerated since I was 18 years old. 1 Peter 1:13 states “Therefore prepare your minds for action…” Keyword Action, you see, if there is no action behind your belief is there a belief? Every day I walk this beautiful earth. I am revealing the masterpiece to myself and the world though I fail from time to time, I am still as Ephesians 2:10 states “A Masterpiece.” I seek, to widely impact the world by showing people they are of value. Just as Cliff Parrish told me.
After being incarcerated for nearly 38 years of my life, I’m looking at an out-date of 2020. Where I’ll finally get the chance to spend time with my children and grandchildren. I want to make up for my past negative actions by helping to save young individuals that are headed to a place like this. I want to feed the hungry, help the needy and whatever else I can do to uplift the conscious and the spirit of those individuals that have given up on hope. My vision is to bring the realities of Christ to these people. Ever since I have been in the Freedom From Within programs, I have wanted to help other people to know what this program has taught me.
It amazes me that I’m a positive influence in my current living environment (prison). I say that because there are subcultures in here where positive change is slow and very resisted. It goes against the grain of what the majority of people are doing here on the inside. Positive role models in prison have to fit certain criteria to be effective. You have to walk the walk and be consistent. In Hosea 4:6 it says, “My people are
destroyed for lack of knowledge.” That’s why I thank God, Lord, thank you for putting Cliff and Sue Parrish, mighty soldiers, on the front line who seen a need and filled it, who’ve recognized the lack of basic knowledge and truths in this place and have come into prison to battle and war against strongholds.
Thoughts From Those Outside Of Prison
We have been friends with Cliff and Sue through our church and small group for more than five years. During that time of doing life together, we have been blessed to do the Foundations for Life study, as a group. The focus of the study was on Godly principles and how they influence one’s character. It takes trust, perseverance and the willingness to be transparent. We can think of no better role models to guide the process than Cliff and Sue.
I came to know Sue and Cliff as a couple in 2015, right at a time I was undergoing some emotional stress in my personal life. I attended a marriage workshop at their home with my husband and learned much about our relationship with each other and the importance of making Christ the head of our family.
I then started to type up a few papers from class projects that Sue and Cliff’ teach in the prisons. Each week Sue brought me papers, and each week I eagerly looked forward to reading the stories and learnings the inmates had experienced in the Freedom From Within Ministry.
While typing these papers, I was seeing how the teachings of Christ imparted the inmates and how real lives were being transformed. This inspired me to submit myself to God and allow His grace and start to receive God’s healing and unconditional love in my own life.
I credit Sue for being a strong sounding board and guiding light to me in my journey of living a healthy life in Christ Jesus. I look up to Cliff as a teacher who inspires me to know more about the Lord and prosper with the right efforts under His kindness.
A few years ago I had the privilege of working together with Cliff and Sue. The lessons taught in Freedom From Within were part of their daily walk and life within their company. It was a great time of personal learning, growth, and application for me. I have known Cliff and Sue for over a decade. We have enjoyed life together. They walk the talk and are authentic in every way. I consider this information to be very useful and continue to work on its application in my daily life. Respect and Recommendations!
Freedom From Within
Phone: (815) 221-1700
Our ambitious goal is to spread God’s true freedom in the heart of others using biblical principles.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.