Hollywood Impact Studios Prison Ministry has been serving inside the Los Angeles County Jail since 2009 and operating its re-entry program since 2011. One of our first inmate/students from 2009 was an older grey-haired man named Alfio. He was rough and weathered, with a deep, world-worn gravelly voice. We learned that during his lifetime, he had been in and out of jail or prison more than 50 times and suffered from addiction.
Alfio was very upfront with us that he did not know where his faith was or even how he felt about God, but as the semester progressed so did Alfio’s faith. By the end of his time with us, he was talking about prayer and wanting to be baptized when he got out. After spending much time on his knees in prayer, Alfio was released from prison two years early, he gives all the credit to God.
Fast forward a few years, Alfio had gotten plugged into our Alumni Support Group and a Bible Study held on the 20thCentury Fox Lot.
Life plans changed and Alfio and his wife moved up to Washington State where he began making crosses for churches. When I thought about it, it was almost overwhelming, how our mighty Lord could take this man who had spend much of his adult life in jail, prison, and addiction and so totally transformed his life.
Alfio is very humble and appreciative of all that have helped him on this journey to sobriety and restoration.
Recently Alfio completed construction on a handmade cross that stands 11-feet high and weighs 450 pounds, his very special gift to HOLLYWOOD IMPACT STUDIOS REHABILITATION & VOCATIONAL TRAINING & RE-ENTRY CENTER. It means so much to us because he made it with his own hands, including milling the logs.
But how do we get this very large gift down here from Washington State?
Well, this story of redemption, restoration, and recovery continues. One of our other guys, Tony, who spend more than 20 years in jail and 30 years in addiction is going to drive up and get it. The cross will be transported from Washington State in an open trailer On his way down, Tony will interview people touched by this ministry, family members of formerly incarcerated HIS students, and some former students themselves. He will also talk to people along the way who have suffered from addiction.
We plan to send Tony off with a large roll of blue painters’ tape for people to write their favorite Bible verses, names of people touched by addiction, prayer requests, or other words of encouragement. People can then stick that piece of blue tape on Tony’s car (yes, he said that was okay), on the cross itself, or on the trailer. We suspect the sight of Tony hauling such unusual cargo will draw much attention on the road, and we anticipate him meeting many folks at gas stations, rest stops, church parking lots, recovery programs, restaurants, and many more places along the way Tony will be sharing his testimony and hearing theirs.
At a time like this in our world, we pray this cross and this story of Alfio and Tony and their journey of redemption, restoration, and recovery will give people hope along this trip.
Tony will leave Los Angeles headed for Washington on Monday, October 26, 2020. We will be monitoring the California wildfires.
This trip will not be free so we really need some financial support. We'd love to get some corporate sponsorship as well.
Also if you have a prayer request, favorite bible verse, or the name of someone touch by addiction or incarceration, let us know we will write it on the blue tape for the trip.