Jeff Deakins is training at CLI so he can have the knowledge to be a prison Chaplain and touch the lost souls he sees at the prison he works at.
Read Deakins story below in his own words
My name is Jeff Deakins, and I am a 56-year old husband (wife – Lisa), father of four (all girls), and a grandfather of 4 (3 girls and, finally, one boy). I live in Brazil, Indiana, which is located just 60 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
I was baptized at the age of 13, mainly due to the counseling that I received from a man who had been blind since birth. His joy for the Lord was authentic, and he was very excited about the fact that Jesus would be the very first thing that he would ever see.
I worked for a business that my father had started for 25 years. We sold the business in 2004, and I left in 2006 to pursue other ventures. In 2007, I purchased a sports training facility (without consulting with the Lord as to whether this is the direction that he wanted me to go) and by the spring of 2008, it was gone. The financial crisis of 2008 had taken its toll, and I had lost a considerable amount of money. My family and I were now struggling because I didn’t seek out the Lord’s will and direction for my life.
Later that year, it was brought to my attention that a state correctional facility for men (20 minutes away) was hiring. The Lord impressed upon me to take the position for two reasons: First, and foremost, my family needed the income in order to sustain us and help us get back on our feet. Secondly, the Lord filled me with the desire to show these men that there was a different way to think, act, and live. I spent three years at the men’s facility, working hard to be professional, respectful, and role-modeling Jesus’ heart (compassionate, understanding, caring) to these men. It was my prayer that the offenders would see Jesus through me. I experienced times when an offender would approach me and ask, “You’re a Christian, aren’t you?”. I would tell them, yes, and they would respond, “You can tell.” It was during those moments that I knew that God had me where he wanted me to be and was using me to influence lives.
In 2011, I transferred to a women’s correctional facility and in 2012 was promoted to Sergeant. Even though I was now working with women, my mission was still the same. After all, I’m still working with human beings and lost souls. People in need of support, direction, self-esteem, and a purpose for changing their thinking, habits, and lives. In some cases, people needing a purpose to even carry on. Again, my goal was to role-model Jesus and have him work through me to reach these women and get them to see the world differently. For them to know that they are loved far more than they could ever imagine and that their transgressions can be forgiven if they would simply ask Jesus (with an open and repentant heart) to take them away.
Recently, the Lord put on my heart to ask about leading a worship service at the facility. Little did I know that God was working on a bigger idea. Through my words and actions, most everyone in the facility knows that I am a Christian, and while speaking with the facility prison Chaplain about the worship service, he asked me if I would be interested in being a prison Chaplain at the facility. (I know, I didn’t see that coming either!) He explained that in serving 1,150 women at the facility, his duties were beginning to become overwhelming. There was a need for a second prison Chaplain. After praying and seeking God’s will and direction for me, I felt compelled to move toward this new challenge.
This is where Christian Leaders Institute comes in. Even though the Lord has provided for my family over the years and put us back on solid financial ground, I’m not in a position to pay for college/courses for myself at this time. My youngest daughter is currently attending Indiana University while living at the Christian Student Fellowship House (a tremendous blessing!) in Bloomington, so we are already paying for a college education at this time. CLI will give me the opportunity to prepare myself and gain additional biblical knowledge so that I can fulfill the mission that God has placed in front of me – to lead and biblically counsel the offenders at Rockville Correctional Facility.
This dream to be prison Chaplain would be impossible without the free classes offered at CLI. I will be forever grateful and will commit to being a CLI donor in order for others to realize their life’s calling from the Lord. I have also secured my church pastor as a mentor (as CLI recommends) over the coming year. I thank the Lord for directing me to the Christian Leaders Institute website and pray that he will bless those involved at CLI and all of those utilizing its resources.
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