CM Logo
Carmen Ministries

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)


Some people say that a bad childhood is just the cards you've been dealt. If true, who is the dealer? Some may blame God, some blame parents. I  blamed both at one time or another. My father was physically abusive and my mother was a heroin addict who abandoned me when I was just two years old.

Fast forward through years of neglect, beatings, and a genuine lack of love, and I ended up being a drug addict, a dealer, a criminal and an absent father to a baby girl. Despite how badly I tried to get my drug habit under control, I could not leave the drugs alone and I turned away from those who loved me. I did exactly what my parents had done to me. I chose drugs and the instant gratification of getting high over raising my daughter.


In 2018, I was sentenced to a three-year prison term. It took time to heal my mind and body. My lifestyle in jail is far healthier than the life I had been living on the streets. As for my soul... I started attending a Christian Bible study led by volunteers from Carmen Ministries. When I met them, I was greeted with a heart-warming hug that said, "I love you, Christian brother." I knew I was saved. Every word spoken by these men seemed to be directly spoken to me through God. My heart was pounding, my eyes were tearing and I experienced such inexplicable joy. Better than any drug has ever made me feel. 

In my short lifetime, I have overdosed six times and was pronounced dead on arrival once. Still, through the grace of God my life is still unfolding. I stand here today in the presence of the Holy Spirit hungry for the Lord and His word. I hope that through my trials and tribulations I may impact someone and shed some hope upon them. Nothing in my life is glorified without God the Father. May His blessings reach each and every one of us and in his name I humbly praise, "To God Be the Glory!"

" Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."
Hebrews 13:1-3
"May God bless you richly in every way and meet all your needs in Christ! May He keep you very close to Himself and give you great joy as you abide in Him! 

Only in heaven will you meet, day after day, the people you and the Holy Spirit have brought into God's kingdom! "

"I have a beautiful wife and five children. I've been a carpenter for 19 years now. I just wanted to reach out to you and let you know that even though I can't put a face on God, whenever I'm in a struggle or there is a bump in the road and I need to reach out to God, I see the face of Tony Wood. When I think about the past, I picture you and I sitting at that metal table that was bolted to the floor with our Bibles in our hands. It is a picture that helps me stay on the right path. Your words and face will stay with me for a lifetime. I want to thank you for everything. You are thought about more than you know. God Bless!"

Daniel with his CDL License

My grandparents were originally farmers from the south. Growing up my Nana always kept a beautiful garden filled with tasty produce. I frequently labored in her garden as a youth, usually against my will. I spent countless Saturday mornings tilling the ground, selecting ripe tomatoes or snapping peas. Good harvest is always best, but without proper preparation of the soil, it cannot be achieved. In the parable of the sower (Luke 8), Jesus speaks of a farmer who sows seeds. Some fell by the wayside (V.5) but some fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a hundredfold crop (V.8).

A defining moment in my life was when I chose to stop depending on my limited knowledge and trust in God's master plan. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) was the verse I held onto as I found myself drifting through the NJ prison system. Walking in faith, I decided to attend Bible study held by Carmen Ministries. There a seed was planted. I met Tony Wood (Pops) and instantly a bond was made and Pops began to sow seeds in my life. I admire Pops because of his dedication to his mission. After my release, we initially lost contact. However, I recalled his love for the vision God had given him to foster fatherless young men in the prison system and how Christ's love overflowed into my life as a result. So I reached out to Pops, and he continued to disciple me.

He continuously encourages me to be the mighty man God has called me to be. He does this by challenging me through the Word of God and showering me with books to help mold my mind. Plus, he encourages me to be fearless in growing my faith. Through prayer and encouragement, I recently completed Commercial Driver training and have received my Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Carmen Ministries has been a blessing in my life. I pray God continues to use this ministry to touch lives and save souls. 

But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
Luke 8:15 


For my twin brother, I ask that you pray he makes it home in time for his son's first birthday and ask God to allow him to stay home so he can be a father to his son. I also ask that you pray for me to be accepted into a program that allows me to go home early and keep me on track to better myself.

Pray that I start making better choices and that I gain wisdom and understanding and that my relationship with God and Jesus keeps growing.

I just took my GED test and joined a vocational program. Please pray that I keep up the good work and focus on myself and my family.

I pray I don't get killed when I go home and that my brother makes it home to see his daughter.

As the time gets close for me to go home, pray for me to not lose focus and to stay on the right path. Once I'm in the halfway house, pray for me to not lose sight of God's will for me.

Lately I've been feeling lost. I've prayed but feel as though my prayers fall on deaf ears. I ask that you pray that I find guidance through Jesus Christ and don't lose myself in the chaos of my own mind.

I'm still waiting for the decision on my appeal for a parole date. Pray for approval so I can go home this summer. I also hope my best friend achieves his dreams of being a director and screenwriter.

Pray for my family and my daughter. Help me to keep faith and remain strong in God. Keep me safe while I am away from home. 

Pray that my family will have peace in our lives and find joy in the Lord.

Please pray for my family. My mom's health isn't very good. My aunt is now blind and has to have surgery. My girlfriend and kids are having financial problems and are too proud to accept help. Please keep me from falling back into old patterns.

Pray for peace and joy and that my family may find it in their hearts to forgive me for what I have done.

May my family be safe in their travels. Keep the devil as far away from me as possible so that I can walk the journey God has in store for me.

I give thanks for the opportunities I've had even though I was blind to some of those opportunities. Even though at times I feel lost, I still have hope that I'll find the right path.

2020 Bible Verse 

"Let your light shine before others, so that they might see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16


Incarcerated body, free b4 mind & spirit;
Days turn 2 night & nights turn 2 days,
As time passes, memories start 2 fade.
You start 2 see in only khaki & greys.
13 grand is what we are 2 the state.
Another form of modern day slaves they say.
I say we're victims 2 the cards our hands played.
All we can do is patiently wait & pray.
Relationships are golden,
But you wonder if they're everlasting.
Who's next 2 start packing?
Ten toes down you stand, as the floor around you crumbles.
You mumble curse words under your breath,
As you try not 2 stumble.
Stay humble nowadays is another way of saying you
Bouta get muscled.
Soon this nightmare will be over & my life will
Strive for a new hunger.
~ Carlos


Please consider supporting Carmen Ministries in Hackettstown, NJ online through the  Amazon Smile  program. 

Amazon will automatically donate 0.5% of your purchases to Carmen Ministries. 

Alternatively, you can lend your support to Carmen Ministries by donating directly online  through PayPal or by mailing your donation to Carmen Ministries, PO Box 421, Hackettstown, NJ 07840-0421.

Carmen Ministries is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. Any donation to Carmen Ministries is fully deductible to the extent allowable by law.

Thank you!


Please patronize our ministry sponsor, HMI Auto Care. To contact HMI Auto Care, click  here .


To provide every youthful offender the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel, to grow in his or her relationship with Christ, and to become a responsible contributing adult.

Please Note:

Names of the incarcerated have been omitted or changed to provide anonymity. Content may have been edited and condensed with the intent of preserving the author's original message.