Prison Fellowship and the importance of forgiveness
Truell Landy was in her late teens when a friend of hers got caught up with drugs and had to serve time in jail.
It proved to be a really traumatic experience for her and she had to decide whether or not to just give up on the friendship.
Instead she sought out help from a Prison Fellowship Ministries branch in the US, and was able to find healing and maintain the relationship.
Three decades later, Ms Landy is still singing the charitys praises.
The response I got from them was very helpful because it was a new situation to me, she said.
As a young person I had never experienced prison or the court system, not even for a speeding ticket, but they were very resourceful in setting me in the right direction, keeping in contact with me, finding out how I was doing and giving me more reading materials and sending me letters of encouragement for a year or so.
She said she doesnt know if she would have got through the experience without the charitys support and probably would have just abandoned the friendship.
Ms Landy learned the importance of forgiveness and the value in staying connected when loved ones go to prison so you can offer support and encouragement.
Prison Fellowship Bermuda was first chartered on the Island in 1981. The charity provides weekly non-denominational services in the Islands prison systems as a way to bring about restoration and healing.
It also offers an Angel Tree programme each Christmas season to help provide gifts to the inmates children; a similar scheme is run during the back-to-school season to get children needed supplies.
PFB will be hosting an Island-wide tag day tomorrow to get donations for its programmes. Ms Landy said it was important for people to invest in this relevant and vital charity.
Its a needed resource for our community thats for sure. Their message of hope, unconditional love and forgiveness is what I support wholeheartedly.
As a Christian I just believe Prison Fellowship is a ministry that can be used as a resource for the population: prisoners, parents, mothers, wives and children.
One of the great things about the charity is it ministered to her as an individual and helped her to better understand the process and pain she was dealing with.
They helped me to bring some resolve to the issue so I could cope with it for myself, because it was Christian-based it gave me that hope that is what I was most in need of, she said.
I was able to maintain that friendship and would still visit and encourage them at the same time.
Ms Landy said her positive experience with the Prison Fellowship charity was one of the factors, which led her to her current career as programme director for youth anti-drug charity Pride Bermuda.
She said: As a young person I was very drawn to helping people who were down trodden and had lost their way. I always felt I was called to give hope so whenever I saw the opportunity I tried to help.
From that whole experience and my connection with Prison Fellowship I always knew somehow this was what I was going to do in my life.
So every opportunity that came my way I took it and started working for Pride as a volunteer in the primary school system teaching young people about the dangers of drugs and how to keep themselves safe and make good choices.
She encouraged people who have family members or friends in the prison system to seek help for themselves through PFB.
You cant help someone else unless you have had some support for yourself, to bring some resolve and get healing, she said.
PFB will host a tag day at various spots around the Island tomorrow. For more information on the charity, visit www.pfb.bm.
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