BRANSON, Mo. — Continuing our Courageous Conversations series, Everyone’s Child, this time we’re taking a closer look at how church can help those in the community who might find themselves in a crisis.
According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, men make up more than 90 percent of the prison and local jail population.
Skylar Thurman of Branson was a part of that statistic.
“You know I did all kinds of stuff growing up, you know experimented, and it wasn’t just alcohol,” Thurman said. “Alcohol is what caused me all of my legal problems that I went through. You know as far as getting a DWI and as far as having to go sit in Taney County for a couple of months.”
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that more than 1 in 4 children in America lives without a father in the home.
Pastor Kevin Reich of Brookside Church in Branson believes this is where the Christian church can play a key role.
“I think it’s important for the church, especially to reach out and to mentor,” Reich said. “I think it’s important for there to be fathers.”
Thurman said he didn’t want to deal with his problems.
“So, whether that be substance abuse or alcohol, or whatever it was escaping reality,” Thurman said. “It was me not dealing with my problems and just taking the easy way out.”
But the easy way out turned out to be the hardest way for Thurman.
“One of the lowest points was to get on a video phone and talk to my children,” Thurman said. “I don’t want that. You know that was enough.”
Thurman finally reached out to New Life Restoration Center.
“But you know when things started to really change when I noticed was when I fully submitted and completely surrendered to Jesus,” Thurman said.
Reich said the Bible is “filled with boys that didn’t do things so totally right.”
“But yet, God used them and you see where there were things that they were used for the purpose in their life,” Reich said. “The Lord does give us the grace to do things and I think if we ask Him for help and we do our best, you know it’s amazing. Love makes a difference and love never fails.”
Thurman now owns a voltage cabling company and has a new wife and baby boy.