Browatzke August Prayer Letter
Dear Family and Friends,
So many stories of lives you are impacting! Today, I will let Joey tell you his:
My birth mother was a drug user who lost her parental rights, and I was placed in foster care at ten days old. I was adopted at three and experienced years of maladjustment. I developed an addiction to drugs at age twelve, until age fourteen when I was arrested for first degree murder. I had nothing to lose. My greatest comfort was knowing I could commit suicide. One night I was painfully aware that I had never given God a try—I had rejected Him. At that moment of emotional breaking, I called out to Christ for salvation.
As time passed, I embraced Christ with greater passion. Very few teenagers in juvenile hall professed faith in Christ or strived for obedience. As I began carrying my Bible openly, other teenagers would ask me to share stories from the Bible. This began the first incarceration ministry I was involved in.
Within the next year I was sentenced to life in adult prison. God sent volunteers, staff, and complete strangers to emphasize His purpose for my life. Against all odds, I believed what they spoke to me from Scripture. I did not choose to commit suicide because I believed God could still use my life to glorify Him in the prison system. God placed such protection over my life that I was never attacked or harmed.
As the years passed, I engaged each opportunity to learn more about leadership and theology. I was at Ironwood State Prison when World Impact launched a new program called TUMI (Church-Based Seminary). The leadership development was geared toward future leaders of urban ministry. Though I never imagined being set free, I felt the program strengthened Christians to be leaders of their community—whether in prison or the free world.
I never imagined that during my time as a TUMI student, the laws governing juvenile lifers in California would change and I would be granted clemency by the Governor of California. Twenty years into my sentence, at the age of thirty-four, I was set free for the first time in my adult life!
After being released from my life term, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where I joined a healthy spiritual fellowship. I am now married, and we have an awesome two-year-old. I am several units away from completing a Master of Divinity in Christian Education. For the past year, I’ve served as an on-staff Ministry Associate with First Baptist Church of Charlotte. As I engage the urban community in Uptown Charlotte, I am amazed that the lessons I was once taught in TUMI, now serve as the foundation for the inner-city mission God has placed me in.
My vision is to be an ambassador for Christ and serve the current and formerly incarcerated population of North Carolina with the training and resources of World Impact to create well-equipped leaders who can impact their communities with the gospel. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!
What an incredible testimony! Thank you so much for your support—it makes stories like Joey’s possible!
For His Glory,