How it all started…
A few years ago, Wayne Dozier received a call from the Autauga and Elmore County Community Corrections Court Referral Office. He had know the lady on the phone for several years and worked very close with her. She asked if he would come by their office for a conference with her and the officers. Although somewhat puzzled, he agreed to the meeting.
Just in case you do not know who these officers are and what they do – here’s a short explanation: When prisoners that are already incarcerated or else facing criminal charges come before the court, they face a judge. The judge will typically rely on the input from the officers who will have or already had these prisoners assigned to them for supervision and monitoring.
As Wayne sat in their office a few hours later, he was shocked and felt chills all over his body from what he was hearing. “Mr. Dozier, we know what you and your people stand for and believe in. If you and your people would come up with a program, we will not question what you do, why you do it or how you do it. We will keep your program filled.” She went on to say that they have many people that are in jail, but not all of them need to be in jail… yet, have broken the law and need to be held accountable. “If you you and your people will come up with a program we cannot court order them, since it is a Christian or faith based program. However, we can give them several choices and they can decide to either stay in jail and possibly go to prison, or meet the qualifications that you require to get into your program.”
He was in shock and speechless – something that is almost impossible for him!
Since that meeting, Wayne has been praying and fasting as to who ‘his people’ is, and God has given him a vision that he shares with supporters and prisoners alike. The list of testimonies of changed lives continues to grow!
A prisoner and a Bible…
On his first official visit as Chaplain of the Autauga/Prattville Metro Jail, a prisoner named John sat on the other side of a glass window and shared his life story with Wayne. He talked about how made it to the top but had now lost everything. He was once a Full-Bird Colonel in the United States Air Force. He had been on staff at Maxwell AFB War College as an instructor. In his years of serving our country he was a commander over 5,000 service members and 150 fighter jet planes. But now, due to alcohol addiction, he was sitting in jail – charged with domestic violence. His wife of 25 years had filed for divorce and he was court ordered not to make contact with his two children.
Wayne told him: “Hold everything and do not leave (as if he was going to go anywhere). I’ll be right back. I can’t help you, but I know someone who can!” John looked somewhat puzzled and Wayne promised an explanation upon his return. The guard granted Wayne permission to retrieve a Celebrate Recovery Bible from his car for John. He returned shorty and, through the glass window, showed John the devotions and testimonies that went along with this version of the Holy Bible. Wayne told him about his prayer and fasting and his vision of developing some kind of ministry to help people like John. He also told the John that he has been praying for God to send someone like him to help develop this program. He then told him that if he would let God change his life, it would be a real miracle in both their lives and an answer to Wayne’s prayer.
The full story that followed that encounter is for another time, but, in short: John read the Bible from cover to cover in the next few days. Since then, God has restored his marriage and family, and he and his wife have started Celebrate Recover River Region in Autauga County. He now goes into the same jail where he and Wayne met and has a weekly Celebrate Recovery Inside Bible Study, impacting 40 – 50 men in various jails where both him and Wayne are now chaplains. He has also been holding a Celebrate Recovery Inside at one of the local state prisons along with going into the Montgomery County Jail. On Friday nights John leads a team to the Montgomery Salvation Army and started a Celebrate Recovery for any of the homeless who are interested. John now holds a degree in Addiction Counseling and his wife or over 30 years (praise God!) holds a degree in counseling and they feel called as a couple to serve families in recovery from addiction. John has also been ordained as a pastor by his local church. John also accepted the invitation to come alongside Wayne to serve as the co-facilitator of Family Home & Parenting.