Baptized Nacogdoches Co. Jail inmates say new jail ministry is a blessing

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - It was an intimate moment for two Nacogdoches county jail inmates Monday morning as they began their walk with God as baptized men all thanks to a Douglass pastor.

"It was a blessing because I prayed about it the night before and then he came and it really just gave us an opportunity to hear the word," Thomas Howell, 24, an inmate said.

"It was a miracle waiting to happen because I've been waiting for somebody—I mean I'm not saying this is a bad place, but where they got us at we're not allowed to go to church and when he came…he lifted my spirits and made me feel better about myself," Arthur Hadnot, 25, an inmate said.

Gustavus Patton, a pastor for County Line Baptist Church, has been wanting to provide a ministry service to inmates for years, but hadn't had a chance.

"This is something that I decided that I wanted to do that God put on my heart to let the young men and young women know that they are not forgotten at this point," Patton said.

Patton has been preaching the word of God for 19 years, but that doesn't mean he isn't sinful. Several years ago, Patton found himself behind bars.

"Even in the midst of being in the cloth—being a man of God—I made mistakes and did not take care of my personal business, which caused me a lot of problems. And what I try to convey to these young men to take care of their own personal business. It's going to cause you pain in the process, but on the other side of the pain you get joy because even though I've been here, I learned a wealth of information. But I was able to bring the Lord inside this place," Patton said.

Patton served two 30-day sentences because he hadn't taken care of decade old bad checks. He said it was one of the most embarrassing moments of his life and that's when he was able to really see what type of person he truly was.

"A sinner and a person who was lost; even though I was in the ministry, I was lost. When I got here, I spent a lot of nights crying to be honest with you. But the Lord visited me where I was. He didn't wait until I got out of jail to come see me. He came. He sat on my bunk. He talked to me in my prayers, when I slept, through my daily readings and I got closer with him. He got closer to me and we were able to forge a better relationship together," Patton said.

That's when he decided to spend his time helping inmates seek salvation.

Monday was the first day Patton offered the baptisms to inmates but is hoping to continue to help other inmates. He plans on visiting the jail every single Monday and will continue to keep in touch with every inmate he has baptized or helped throughout the journey, even when they leave the jail.

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