Merry Christmas and a joyful seasons greeting to everyone. In this crazy season it’s been a chore making all the adjustments and dealing with all the issues. But life does go on and in the midst of this craziness comes the most exciting Christmas present Debbie and I could ask for – The birth of Karsyn Nicole Coffee, our healthy & perfect great-granddaughter. We are both grateful to God for this sweet gift. The picture says it all!!
For our Christmas News Letter this year we thought it would be a great ideal to allow a few people whose lives have been great affected by your committed partnership with us. They’d like to personally wish you Merry Christmas and say a big ‘Thank You’ for your support of the ministry. God has used this ministry in each of their lives in phenomenal ways. As I write this I do so with tears of gratitude to our great God because each one of their stories is also part of mine and Debbie’s journey.
Meet Dallas and Mike Poindexture as they say Merry Christmas and a great big Thank You! I married them May 29th, 2021. Mike and Dallas’ story is pretty incredible. Mike’s life had been a 15 year roller coaster to hell. In 2016 he was in the deepest hole of his life-through God’s intervention he was accepted into drug court which led him back to The Recovery Church. He graduated drug court 2 years ago, now he’s a supervisor in the oil field, Dallas was supervisor over the jails during the time Mike had been accepted into drug court, he was actually in jail several times while she was supervisor. Their relationship begin after they meet at church. She was director of Gabriel house until recently and still sets on the board. She now works for the state of Oklahoma / department of mental health. It was a great honor to marry these two and share a ‘small’ part of their incredible story–Mike’s video testimony is posted on the web site www.recoverychurchok.org / video messages/testimonies.
Matt Harris says Merry Christmas and a big “Thank You”! Matt came to us at the end of 2017. He will tell you he literally was at the end of his life. Having failed two attempts to end his life and several different councilors God led him to us. After a couple years with Debbie counseling him he’s a totally different Godly man-he found hope and purpose and a confidence that was missing. He actually was able to buy my mothers house after her death with a little encouraging direction. He now has two ministries with the church-he runs all of our media and also the responsibility over the bus ministry. He found the family he so desperately needed, has a very close relationship with Jesus, and now just waiting for God’s timing to fulfill his biggest prayer—when God sees the time is right bring a daughter back into his life after many years separation.
Meet Shawna Pierce McCartney—Shawna is another whose life had been eaten up through generational drugs and darkness. She had lost it all. Then in late 2020 she was accepted into drug court which led her to The Recovery Church. Shortly afterwards Shawna accepted Christ into her heart and seriously dedicated her life to following him as a disciple and sealed the deal in baptism. She’s our newest resident at the recovery house and has a bright future. She’s building back her relationship with children and being a good grandmother to her babies. We are so proud of Shawna – hopefully her full video testimony will be soon.
Meet Shayla and Oaklyn – they both recently moved out of the recovery house after nearly 2 years. Shayla is to be married soon to a man God brought her—she gave up on trying to do this her way and waited on God to bring her the right husband when she was ready. Shayla was so shy and had absolutely no confidence in herself. She was in a dark hole of depression, drugs and other addictions were ruining her life. She didn’t see herself with any future and then God led her here. Well I’ll tell you this young lady had and anointing on her none of us saw. She now facilities several life groups and NA meetings, is over the Comanche Gabriel house, an awesome Godly mother, so full of confidence you’d never know she is same young lady. She’s going to make a good Godly wife and help mate to a super young man who adores her for who she is.
Below meet Franky Bryant as she says “Merry Christmas & Thank You”. Franky came to Recovery Church 10 ½ years ago—she had just lost her granddaughter and great- granddaughter, both killed by the same man. She was eat up with anger and hate for this man. It was slowly destroying an already broken life with several tough marriages. Once she begin to feel safe and free with our church family, especially Debbie and I, she begin to open up and let Jesus take it all, She’s as different as night and day, she’s never looked back after that day. She’s totally dedicated to God’s kingdom, married only to Jesus-literally! She is a deaconess, over the children’s and young ladies ministries, secretary, oversees the cleaning of the church, and has done everything else ever needed. She lives in the recovery house behind the church. In 2016 we did a home make over and surprised her with a new home for her. She has dedicated her life to helping other victims become victors. Has done prison ministry with us, and helped many young women dealing with unhealthy relationships—Debbie has taught her well on how not to be an enabler, and how to demonstrate tough love without being hard hearted. Franky video testimony is posted on the web site.
In closing I think each of their stories is the greatest way to say thank each of you for believing in this ministry. Like all of us they each still have lots of growing and maturing and their fair share of struggles daily. But the one thing they now have are new coping skills and a relationship with Jesus—there are dozens and dozens more stories, but space doesn’t allow anymore this time—go to the www.recoverychurchok.org and locate video testimonies for many more incredible stories. We pray your Christmas is full of love, joy, peace, laughter, family and friends, and that your New Year is a prosperous one. Again thank you so much. I have attached Tracey & Matt’s personally written testimonies–Be encouraged together we are changing our world one heart at a time! Merry Christmas and a Big Thank You!
A Spark of Hope by Tracey Smith
Friday night I went to sleep praying about what to speak about for the next day’s event. I woke up with my thoughts in a jail cell. There were so many things that happened in that cell. It was an underground jail, under the courthouse. There was something about being locked underground. It was eerie and definitely felt like a dungeon. Smelled like one too.
Sounds miserable but it was a pause in time and space, yes, time stood still, and it changed the course of my life, and my eternity. I could write a thousand stories about what happened in there but this particular day God showed me this. It was one of many sparks of hope in my heart. A Pastor and his wife visited this jail faithfully. I never met the husband till later. He saw the men and his wife and another young lady visited the women prisoners. They brought in a guitar and sang beautiful songs. Mrs. Debbie, the Pastor’s wife, well she was sunshine in a box. Bubbly and funny, she lit up that dark dungeon. Unlike any Christians I have ever met. She didn’t break out a giant sin calculator or call out my sins. She didn’t even want to know or care what they were. She told us about Jesus and what he had done for our sins.
Looking back I think Mrs. Debbie knew we were already very aware of our wrongs. That she was there to reconcile us in love back to God. I think that’s why she was so easy to love. She taught us about God, not how we were wrong.
One of the ways she did that is she told us about their church they had opened up…The Recovery Church. She gave us a pamphlet and on it there was a mugshot of a man. She said this is my husband. Confused, I sat forward grabbing it. She had gotten my attention.
I had got to know her pretty well but somehow I had missed this part. Actually I know how.
She may have mentioned it in the beginning but I used to see them coming in and stuff homemade earplugs in, till eventually the need for hope and the Holy Spirit drew me to them. I missed a lot of those first visits. I guess I was too ashamed. But this pamphlet told the story of a criminal that made mistakes like me and was convicted of them.
This criminal was Pastor Dennis, her husband, and this is what I read that sparked a hope in me: “Dennis spent 30 years in bondage to alcohol and drugs. His sinful life brought such destruction to his body that at one point his own mother didn’t recognize him. Even though he was in and out of jail, he always thought he could beat the system. But when he was arrested in 2001, the DA was tired of giving him chances. Facing two life sentences and $80,000 in fines he knew he was in real trouble. He finally was sentenced to 65 years, 20 of those years was aggravated trafficking which is day for day, no good time! It was in the county jail that God began the work that would transform his life. One of the volunteer chaplains, Jack Price, was a man who had formerly been an outlaw with him. Jack pleaded with Dennis to surrender his life back to Jesus. He had been saved by the faithful witness of a man in rehab, but now he had the time to begin getting into God’s word. After seven years in prison, God miraculously set him free.
One of his great passions was to return to the county jail he had spent so much time in to share with the men and women how God had transformed his life. Today he is a full time Chaplain in the very jail he spent so much time in. After many months in jail, he went to prison 4 days before Christmas in 2001 with 65 years and 80,000 in fines and 4 days before Christmas in 2008, exactly 7 years, he walked back into the jail a changed man preaching the good news and sharing about this awesome miracle from God. But now he is free from both prisons. Prison was the beginning of God setting him free from the real prison he had been in for 35 years, prison to sin and the devil! Dennis met his wife seven months after being released from prison and one and a half years later they were married. He and Debbie now Pastor The Recovery Church, a church they planted seven years ago. A church that God birthed in October 2010 out of this incredible story. They also continue the jail ministry and 4 prisons, one of them is Cushing Prison where Dennis spent 7 years of his life. God is still writing the book of this journey which includes a godly wife, 4 grandchildren, and an awesome church family.”
This is one of those stricken moments where God really gets in there.
I remember thinking God forgives him? I mean the Bible says that yeah but who have I met that has done this stuff and been forgiven? Maybe God would forgive me too. I also remember thinking, he did those things and God loves him, maybe just maybe he would love me too. Somebody lit a match. It ignited hope. I sure had messed up. I didn’t have much to start with but I didn’t have a single thing left to hope for till now. God didn’t just forgive him. God didn’t just love him. God was using him, maybe he could use me too. Mrs. Debbie kept coming and we had an opportunity to get baptized.
Pastor Dennis did the baptizing. Just knowing this story of being set free. I remember meeting Dennis for the first time and I said you better hold me under till the bubbles almost stop ha-ha. I was serious this time. I didn’t want to go back. I don’t know what was different about this time but a change of heart happened and I think what would’ve happened if God had no one to send? What if I never met Debbie Hall?
Where would I be? And then I throw those “what ifs” in the trashcan because it’s obvious God had a plan for me to meet this woman and this man. Fast forward 6 years later, I’m a chaplain in the hood county jail, in Granbury TX, I baptized my first set of ladies. And I told them that a forgiven man baptized me also. In a tin trough in a county jail also.
So today God showed me what he wanted me to speak about. He showed me that sometimes to truly understand forgiveness we have to see the face of someone wearing it. And years later I walked into a jail and forgiveness had a face they also could look at. I wonder why all those years I never met anyone like them. I wonder why even though this Pastor’s wife had never been in trouble but she took time to love and respect me in a way I had never known. Respect the malnourished junkie that she had no idea what my charges were and didn’t ask either. To love the addict by telling her these stories and bringing hymns and hope and God to all of us. But besides all that, what she did that affected me the most is she simply just loved me, dirt and all.
I know everyone’s story is different. But when God changed my heart, when he gave me that new heart, time stopped, a moment with God that felt like a thousand years. A pause in time and space. A rip in eternity. Thank you God for rescuing me. You never stopped sending your people. You never stopped reaching out to me. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11
I MIGHT ADD TRACEY NOW MINISTERS IN SEVERAL TEXAS PRISONS, JAILS, RECOVERY HOMES, AND DETENTION CENTERS ALL OVER TEXAS—ONE SPARK FROM STEPHENS COUNTY JAIL SET A FOREST ABLAZE FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD—PASTOR DENNIS
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our partners. My name is Matthew Harris. I am a born again believer and a member of the Recovery Church family, and have been for the last five years. I want to thank you for helping make a sanctuary and a home for me. The Recovery Church is one of the most welcoming and loving and accepting places I’ve ever been to.
I’m going to tell you a little bit about me. I’m diagnosed as bipolar 2. I have mood swings and hear voices. I’m better now but it wasn’t always so. When I first came to recovery church I had just gotten out of jail, for the numerous time. That’s where I first met Dennis. When I got out of jail, I bounced around from church to church just trying to find somewhere to belong. Not only was I a convict, but I also heard voices. Needless to say I had trouble fitting in. I was a baby Christian without a home. I had recently been saved and baptized while in jail. But before I was arrested, I was a shut in. I was on drugs. I hated myself and my life. I was suicidal. I had already attempted suicide before. I needed help but couldn’t find it. I lost all hope.
I’m telling you all this to show you how much recovery church means to me and how much it has helped me. Being a part of Recovery Church has changed my life.
They have been there for me time and time again no matter what time I need them. The support I receive is tremendous. I have learned so much. But mostly I’m loved.
I no longer hear voices. I own my own home. My vehicles are paid for. I’m not bragging because it’s all been made possible through God and through the ministry of Dennis and Debbie Hall, and all the family of the Recovery Church. So, thank you so much for all your support and prayers. I’m a living testimony of how this ministry works. I thank god every day for my church family and it’s made possible from the help of people like you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and God bless you in all you do.