NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A rehabilitation residency for East Texas women who are starting over after a jail or prison sentence is under development in Nacogdoches County.
Many people are involved, but it took the "push" of one person to get the project rolling.
Francis Burns says if she had a penny for every time she walked across State Highway 21 from her childhood home to the family church, she would be a rich lady.
The prison minister of 15 years now crosses over to the St. Francis House of P.U.S.H., named for Francis because she has a habit of "praying until something happens." She's not so sure about the saint reference.
"No, no. I'm just a servant that wants to help young ladies to go farther in life," Burns said.
Francis opens her home to one or two women at time after they're released from jail.
"Until they got a job, out on their feet and went back out in society," Francis said.
Francis wanted a bigger facility, so she prayed until something happened.
"It come to me that's a place over there," Francis said. "And the building wasn't being used, so thank you lord."
The pastor and deacons of Scott's Temple Church couldn't think of any better purpose for their former church.
"And it lets me know that god is still working with this great church, amen," said Robert Johnson Jr., the pastor of Scott's Temple Church.
Now several building and service contractors are donating materials and time toward remodeling when they could be getting paid somewhere else.
"That's okay. The Lord will give back to us," one of the contractors said. "It will come back ten-fold."
A similar residential rehabilitation program got Sheila Shepherd back on track. She wants to pay it forward in East Texas.
"We will help them spiritually. We will help them financially," said Sheila Shepherd, a volunteer with the ministry. "We will help them find a job, so they can have a better life."
Justice of the Peace Dorothy Tigner-Thompson say a faith-based rehab center is needed.
"Those that are coming out of prison need a residential place to parole out to," Tigner-Thompson said.
The House of P.U.S.H. is big enough to shelter 12 women. Prosperity has come to the prison minister after all.
St. Francis House of P.U.S.H. continues to need volunteers and supplies. An account for donations is set up at the Nacogdoches Credit Union. Anyone wanting to provide services can contact Scott's Temple Church or Tigner-Thompson.