"Not Just a Number" by Stephanie Dellinger

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W087482… to some it’s just a letter with 6 numbers. From 2013 – 2016, it was me. An offender in the state of Ohio.

How did I get there? The bondage of addiction. I was a thief, a liar, a manipulator—a sinner! My heart was hard, I felt I would never be worthy of anything.

One cold evening in November I heard of this “True Freedom Ministry” that was coming for a visit. I jumped at the opportunity of getting out of the confines of the dorm. Gary Koly shared the story of how he was once in this dark, lonely place, and how he found joy and freedom: Jesus! After that meeting, I went back to my dorm and surrendered my life to Christ. From that moment on, I was never the same.

When I was released, I knew I had to find this True Freedom. I did! I started attending their Reformers Unanimous meeting every Thursday. I developed real relationships with other believers. I had sisters in Christ that I could count on to keep me accountable. Mike Swiger provided marriage counseling for my then fiancé and me. And he introduced us to a wonderful godly couple and a sound Bible believing church.

Since my release, God has proven faithful and gracious. He has blessed me beyond words. Besides the numerous opportunities afforded me to serve the interests of His kingdom in association with True Freedom Ministries, the Lord has provided for all of my needs. My husband and I have been gainfully employed since our release. Furthermore, we have not been without shelter, food, clothes, or transportation. More recently, God opened a large door of opportunity for me.

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I was hired as site director of True Freedom Enterprises’ program in partnership with Ashland University to provide education to those who ended up on the wrong side of the justice system.

Prior to release and after, my desire has been to reach out to those who have been just a number, giving them hope, confidence, and a future. In God’s time, He has done it!