Endorsement by Pastor Jerry Tharp, Lone Jack Baptist Church, Lone Jack, Missouri
“I remember sitting in a Japanese jail purposing within myself that I would never do or sell drugs again. I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ at the time so all I knew was my own will power. My will power would fail me in time and I would again find myself a slave to my own pleasures and desires. Looking back, I see God using two people in a significant way to aid me in my understanding of my need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He has also used a host of others throughout my spiritual journey.
In essence that is what I found The Theotherapy Project and the Rivera House to be – a ministry of people helping people. But in the case of these two ministries it began as people helping people, who most would rather ignore.
While visiting in a Tennessee women’s prison with Mark West, founder and Executive Director of The Theotherapy Project I saw women prisoners voluntarily come into a classroom setting eager to spend time hearing about God’s ability to change one’s life. Some of these women had come to experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, others were learning of that possibility from Scripture, and certainly others were just looking for a break in their daily schedules and willing to quietly listen to God’s word. Theotherapy’s goal of training believing prisoners to help fellow prisoners allows the ministries to flourish on levels that cannot be measured nor accomplished in a classroom setting. Prisoners that are moms, sisters and daughters have an opportunity to hear the gospel, grow in the Lord and break sins binding chains, not because they have “paid their debt to society” but because of the truth of God’s word that is being proclaimed through Theotherapy.
Several from our church have been on-site and helped in this ministry and each one sees the Rivera House as the perfect compliment to The Theotherapy prison ministry. The Rivera House serves as a transition home for women as they move from incarceration to complete freedom. House and work rules are established and upheld, but it’s done in an atmosphere of grace and love. Women are helped as they move from no freedom to being responsible in their freedom. The truth of God’s word from Theotherapy Project and the continual spiritual mentoring of those more mature in their faith are the main tools for genuine life change in the lives of these ladies during their time at the Rivera House.
As the pastor of a rural Missouri church I find The Theotherapy Project and The Rivera House so significant in their spiritual ministry that we invest missions dollars to aid in the accomplishment of our mutual goal – changed lives for the glory of Jesus Christ.” Jerry Tharp – Pastor, Lone Jack Baptist Church
Endorsement by Leslie Collins, MD – resident physician at Tennessee Prison for Women
Mark, It was so good to meet you! Keep up the good work. I have seen so many women experience healing in your work. They lose weight, their blood pressures go down, their physical pains are lightened. Keep the good healing going! Leslie Collins, MD
Endorsement by Thomas Kleinert, Pastor Vine Street Christian Church
“The Theotherapy Project helps to make prison time a time transformation and renewal. Men and women take responsibility for their actions; they begin to respect and honor themselves and others. We are happy to support this ministry of healing!” Thomas Kleinert
Endorsement by Tom Milner, NASA Aerospace Engineer
“The Theotherapy Project is a touch from God to a needy group in our world. I praise God for their commitment to changing the world one precious soul at a time and for making the world a better place. I support this God-sent mission 100%!” Tom Milner
Endorsement by Richard Dixon, Former TDOC Director of Volunteer Services
“As the former Director of Volunteer Services for the Tennessee Department of Corrections, I have seen the Theotherapy Project representing the love of God in a tangible way. It helps people work through issues that may have led them to where they are today. They are in prison, so positively dealing with their past issues can help prevent future crimes. I support Mark West and the work of the Theotherapy Project.” Richard Dixon, Associate Pastor, Bethel Word Outreach Center and Former Director of Volunteer Services TDOC
Endorsement by Chaplain Yolanda Walker
“On my spiritual journey as a minister I have been involved in youth ministry, counseling and now prison ministry. I have been blessed to be able to pray for those who were in the last stages of cancer, passing from this world into their new life. I have been blessed to work with youth in helping them to find themselves and to find a life of freedom in Christ. And now, I am blessed to be able to minister as Chaplain to those who have been wounded spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually and socially. I have come to prison as a wounded healer to minister to those who are incarcerated and I have also been ministered to by them through their prayers, testimonies, encouragement, songs, etc.
I am amazed as a minister to see how they have struggled and survived the many storms of life. As a Christian addiction counselor, I have personally witnessed Mark West minister through the Theotherapy model and have seen firsthand the positive effects it has on those who are incarcerated. Theotherapy is truly life-transforming, not only to those in the free world but also for those behind prison walls. I was so touched by the ministry of Mark West and the Theotherapy Project that I decided to enroll in this program of study to become a facilitator myself.
Regardless of the journey, we want to know we are truly making a difference in our respective areas of ministry. Truly, through Jesus Christ, Theotherapy is making a difference. I salute you for walking on your journey, serving those who are hurting, incarcerated, depressed, broken, angry and abused. I believe our Heavenly Father is smiling on the Theotherapy Project’s journey and I believe He is saying, “I am well pleased”. Continue the journey!” Chaplain Yolanda Walker, Tennessee Prison for Women
Endorsement by Chaplain Tim Coleman
“My name is Tim Coleman and I’m the Chaplain at Turney Center Industrial Complex which is located in Only, Tennessee. I’ve worked at this facility in various capacities for over twenty-four years and have witnessed a lot of things happen over the years. Some things were bad, other things were good. One good thing that has blessed our facility is the Theotherapy program.
The Theotherapy Project, under the leadership of Mark West, began ministering to the inmates at Turney Center Prison in June of 2006. The Theotherapy Project is a great program and it has helped many of the inmates who have taken advantage of this unique ministry. Unlike many of the religious groups that have just come and preached the Gospel, Theotherapy helps the students resolve past and present issues and also helps them learn how to deal with future issues from a soundly biblical perspective.
Mark and the Theotherapy volunteers are sincere and dedicated to their work. I’ve heard many of the inmates tell how this program has impacted their lives in such a positive way. Not only have I heard this from their lips, but also I’ve noticed a positive change in their actions.” Chaplain Tim Coleman, Turney Center Industrial Complex