The Heart of Texas Foundation College of Ministry runs on a five-term year running from January to December. Each term is eight weeks of instruction. And in each of the five terms, every student is taking two courses. The student body of the Heart of Texas Foundation College of Ministry includes 133 men and 30 women. We are in the process now of identifying the Class of 2026. As the Lord wills, the Class of 2025 will be the first class to graduate both men and women.
The Heart of Texas Foundation College of Ministry for women is located at the Hobby Unit for Women, in Marlin (30 minutes south of Waco). The historic first class of women, the 30 women of the class of 2025, are nearing completion of their freshman year of study.
“Seeing is believing.” There is no more powerful proof of that old expression than to go into a men’s maximum-security prison with us. We often take new friends of our work into the prisons to visit our Field Ministers. We often take donors as well. And our visitors encounter experiences they never could have imagined.
Studies show that the illiteracy rate in prisons is as high as 70%. The Field Ministers skillfully teach men to read. Learning to read requires a great deal of vulnerability and trust on the part of the student. The Field Ministers, as men of God, patiently and kindly teach men to read daily. Throughout the instruction time, the Field Ministers have the opportunity to pray with their student, listen to them, extend godly counsel, and display the heart of Christ as they share the good news of Christ.
What drives us in this calling? It is to take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the darkest of places. For us, those places are where men and women in solitary confinement live out their days, and often years, alone. Totally alone. They are not allowed to go to church, to attend bible study, to take classes, go to the library, the recreation yard, the cafeteria. They are locked up inside the lockup.
For 12 years, The Heart of Texas Foundation has spearheaded the vision for Field Ministry in Texas. As of 2022, Texas Field Ministers have successfully served the male prison population for more than 7 years. Currently, 202 Field Ministers serve in 42 prison units across Texas or 67% of the male prison population within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
One thing I have learned about being a Field Minister is that every day is not the same. Some days are awesome and you can see the light switch turn on, other days you might think you are talking to the wall. What helps me not get a super ego or become utterly frustrated is to know it is not me but God who is in control. I’m merely an instrument.
I don’t think anyone could ever understand the magnitude of what God is doing through the Texas Field Ministers Program.
We gained two more Field Ministers last month and now have five. Our team is now stronger that it’s ever been! We recently baptized nine more in administrative segregation—making over 70 overall in three-and-a-half years.
One of them was Jimmy L. An officer pointed me to him . . .