Restorative justice introduced an element of humanity into a situation which had dehumanized both the attacker and myself. The process may seem difficult, but I think victims and offenders can get so much out of it. The only way to resolve conflicts between people is to sit together, talk, and find a way to move forward.
For me, forgiveness is absolute and final. There isn’t a day I wonder whether I have forgiven my father or not. I’ve come to believe that we all have good and bad in us; we’re all figuring life out as best we can. When people make the wrong choices they are figuring it out too. Forgiveness is not about forgiving the act but forgiving the imperfections which are inherent in all of us.
I began volunteering a few years ago. Why? Because I love the way it feels to be able to serve/help others, especially those who have a true need. Both prisoners and victims of crime need our support, even if it’s just a weekly visit.
For me forgiving has been about turning what has happened to us into good. Forgiveness is not just a one off event, nor does it mean you’re doing the same thing again and again. The issues of my wife’s murder present themselves differently every day. Forgiveness is a fresh, on-going, ever present position of the mind which takes on many different forms. It’s a promise of what we want to do, a goal, a North Star, a mantra.
With the support of the Ad Deum Foundation, his heart has not turned black and we are not bringing an angry, hateful person back into society.
The Ad Deum Programs have given me a new outlook and a new direction. It has been a transforming light in a dark world for me.
I've never felt as deeply appreciated as when volunteering with prisoners and victims of crime. To be a part of something that really delivers where the rubber hits the road is remarkable.
For his future I just hope for the same things all moms hope for their children, and that is that he finds good work and meets a great woman to share his life with. I hope he will have happiness and peace the rest of his days on earth. Thanks Ad Deum for being there and helping him understand and believe that he too is one of God’s children.
This letter is to say thank you because the Ad Deum Foundation has helped me so much. I still have a lot of time to do here, but one day I will walk out of here a new man, with a better outlook on life. My life means something now. I may not be the man I want to be yet, but I am not the man I used to be.
I have come to believe passionately in restorative justice. I knew that if I didn’t forgive, anger and bitterness would turn me into a person my daughter would not have liked.
I’ve always had a problem with forgiving people but I’ve learned how important it is to forgive in the Ad Deum Programs. I’ve learned how to respect and treat people the way I wanted to be treated. I’ve learned how to open up and talk to someone about any problem I might have.
The books we have read together as a group in Ad Deum and the fellowship and discussions with the volunteers and other inmates have made me realize I must do something about myself before I will ever be able to be half the father I wanted as a child. I would just like to say thank you for the hope.
I’ve been blessed with many advantages and opportunities in my life. It is important to me that I find ways to share with others. I think most people recognize the need to give back to the community. But for many of us, there are perceived obstacles to our volunteer involvement. For me, I wasn’t sure I could make the time to commit to a regular schedule. Now I know that even a few hours of regular volunteer work makes an incredible difference.
In the Ad Deum Group I was overwhelmed with a sense that the volunteers believe in us... in our ability to change our damaged selves into thoughtful, mature, compassionate people. They are a blessing to those of us who struggle with ourselves. Thank you.
I went into the prison not knowing what to expect. Almost instantly, I noticed how friendly and welcoming the prisoners were. It was amazing to see how happy they were to get a visit from me. I don't think anything will ever come close to how it made me feel when I realized how accepted and appreciated I was.
To be able to help victims endure from week to week and in some cases, day to day is gratifying to say the least. I share with them that I too was a victim of a crime and experienced many of the same issues. I shared that the best thing I did was to get involved to help someone else. So I encourage them to consider volunteering.
Although I was admittedly nervous about going into a prison, I now see prisoners as whole people… I have had a glimpse of the pain, the disconnection, the unmet needs built up over the course of a lifetime. In seeing the heartfelt remorse they expressed, and how they cared for and supported each other in their healing, I get to experience them as far more than the acts they committed.
I remember the very first time that I was sitting in the Ad Deum Group and not knowing what to expect. After a couple of sessions it became clear to me that I was on a spiritual journey of learning that I had been searching for. During the times of meeting every week I noticed that the fellowship within the group became stronger.
I pursued this opportunity to go into the prison because I wanted to do some exploring in between college semesters. However, it turned into more of a personal journey through which I gained perspective on my own life as I experienced and learned about the lives of the people I met. It was impossible not to appreciate the strength of human spirit and perseverance at this place where everyone has a difficult story to tell.
My son has caused me heartache since he was about 14-15 years old. He is now 31 and serving his 2nd prison term. For the first time I am starting to see the beginning of a change in his life. I know he has been attending the Ad Deum Programs and I can only say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I am an alcoholic/addict involved in the Ad Deum Program. I can now acknowledge that I have been closed out from my inner-most emotions and only would show my emotions as RAGE! After participating in the Ad Deum Programs, I can honestly say that I have a soft side.
For me forgiveness is as mysterious as love. I’ve never understood how people who experience pain through violence can see any light or any freedom from the obsession of why or how? I’ve never really believed that I would forgive, but then nor have I ever really understood the cage which anger locks you into.
I want to tell you how wonderful the Ad Deum Programs are and how lucky I am to be involved. For the first time in my life I see progress, and that has never been a fact ever before. Being in jail, sometimes, there’s limited people to share with. When I have emotions that I don’t understand I feel comfortable sharing them in the programs. It gives me a better understanding of my problems.
Ever since then I have been searching for my purpose for surviving the attack. My mission now is to work with the person who attacked me to offer a story of healing, forgiveness and restoration in the hope of inspiring others.
My son has just recently been incarcerated and I can’t even begin to describe how horrible we feel. I find reassurance in knowing that the Lord loves him as if he is the only person on earth. Knowing that the Ad Deum Programs are there to support him help me remember that the final chapter of his story has yet to be written.
Usually the spirit of volunteerism comes alive more when there’s a crisis. Although that’s great to see, I believe volunteering on a regular basis and making a standing commitment to do so can in some cases, eliminate even the possibility of a crisis in our community of families. That’s why I volunteer with Ad Deum
Well, today makes seven years and we had a great visit yesterday. I see him maturing with a heart full of love. Currently he is taking another course sponsored by the Ad Deum Foundation. Thank God! I am so grateful for the support of the Ad Deum Foundation. He now speaks about his knowledge of God and his appreciation for his family.
The programs offered by the Ad Deum Foundation have assisted me in seeing that many of the things I struggled with were universal, and that I was not alone in my quest for inner peace, forgiveness and relationship with God, nor would I ever be alone again in the wondrous journey that continues to unfold. Being supported in my education has truly been a blessing in my life.
To be associated with Ad Deum Foundation as a donor was akin to returning a favor to society in a positive manner. The vision and concept of Ad Deum has had a great influence on me, improving my perspective on life.
In the beginning, my son said to me, "Mom, I have died, I have no life anymore"... Through the wonders of God, prayer, family and the Ad Deum Foundation my son is now taking university level courses and he has a relationship with God. My son will be the first to tell you today " I may be in prison, but Prison is NOT in me"...
While critics sometimes say “forgiveness is weak” or “forgiveness means letting someone off the hook”, I know that forgiveness is about strength and it is about letting ourselves off the hook by releasing a negative bond to the violence we so despise…and opening up possibilities for a positive future. Part of being human is rolling up our sleeves and taking an active part in repairing harm.
During the time of my son's incarceration, there were spots of sunlight, such as when he started to prioritize his time between recreation and structural time. With the support of the Ad Deum Foundation he decided on educating himself, which kept his mind grounded. Then the emotional and spiritual developments followed. I am forever grateful to Ad Deum.
I retired not too long ago and was looking for worthwhile volunteer opportunities to fill some of my newly found free time. I’m very glad that I made the connection with the Ad Deum Group. It is on of the most spiritually fulfilling things I have ever done.
If one can understand why people behave as they do then often the road to forgiveness is opened. Not only is forgiveness essential for the health of Society, it is also vital for our personal well-being. Bitterness is like a cancer that enters the soul. It does more harm to those that hold it than to those whom it is held against.
From the very beginning of the series of events that took place with the incarceration of your son until the end, you wonder how you made it through. Now looking back 4 years later with our experience, it took a lot of prayer and reconditioning our minds not to think of the worst. Knowing that support groups like Ad Deum were there for him made a big difference.
Participating in the Ad Deum Programs has helped me to gain a greater perspective on myself and how I’ve contributed to my situation and my life... Through listening to the stories of other prisoners and volunteers and sharing my own story I have reached a place in my head that before was pretty buried and unreachable. Each time I come away with a sense of hope for myself and my life that before I had definitely been without. . . I realize I’m valuable, worth saving and worth the continued effort.
I began volunteering a few years ago. Why? Because I love the way it feels to be able to serve/help others, especially those who have a true need. Both prisoners and victims of crime need our support, Both in and out of prison.