Welcome to Changed Lives Ministries
My Name Is . . .
. . . Larry Skrant. I am a member of the First Baptist Church of Spencer, Ohio. I am the Director of Changed Lives Ministries. Before that, I was 230-915, 282-320, and 324-342. Those are prison numbers.
To the state of Ohio, I was a three-time loser. To society, I was beyond salvage. To me, I was beyond hope. I was so convinced of that hopelessness, my third number I made the decision to cut off all communication with my family.
One year later, I would receive a letter written in a little girl’s hand in block letters with crayon. The letter simply read, “Dear Dad, my name is Stephanie. Do you remember me?”
A little girl should not have to write such a letter to her father. The Lord would use that letter to convict me of my sins. In my prison cell, I would fall to my knees and call on His name. That moment I would be saved and spiritually set free.
Several years later, I would be set free again, this time physically. I would walk out of prison fourteen years before my anticipated release date with a new heart and with a message. Today, I am called to take that message back into the prisons, into the juvenile homes, into the churches and youth gatherings. The message is one of a God who is good. A God who said, “I know the thoughts I think towards you . . . thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11) The God who alone can change a life. The God who sent His Son to die on the cross, so our hope might be made complete by believing in Him.
Today, I hold that Hope out to a lost and dying generation. I tell them, “There is no pit so deep, He isn’t deeper still.” (Betsie Ten Boom) I tell them, “What He has done for me, He will do for you. All you need do is call upon His name.”
Won’t you help me take this message to the lost? To those who feel, as I once felt, that they are beyond hope. Maybe, by God’s grace, a father will be changed, and a little girl won’t need to write a letter in crayon. They might, instead, live out God’s perfect and wonderful will for their lives.
My ministry is to go where God tells me and to share the testimony of how He changed my life. If a Pastor were to ask me the question today, “What is your ministry?” I would answer, “My ministry is the ministry of hope, and it is for everyone.”
What is your ministry?
During my trip south, a pastor in Warner Robins, Georgia, asked me a strange question: “What is your ministry?” I thought this a strange question because I had just spent the entire morning at his church sharing my testimony. Obviously, mine is a prison ministry. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I began to see the wisdom in his inquiry, and I began to see what I believe the Lord intended me to see . . .
. . . mine is not a prison ministry only. I remembered another church and a little boy of about ten who had told me he wished his mother could have heard my testimony. When I asked him where his mother was, he informed me she didn’t come to church much anymore. He said his mother had backslid, along with his stepfather. In my witness, this little man saw hope for his mother, and he knew in his heart that hope, the hope of a changed life, was not beyond his prayers for her.
Several times I’ve been asked to address youths brought to church via a bus ministry, and, inevitably, some of them have a parent in prison. Listening to my testimony, they begin to see that parent in a different light – they see him (or her) through the light of hope. Thus far, in every church I’ve shared my testimony in, a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a son, a daughter, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, or a friend of an inmate hears about how God changed my life, and they take hope.
Everywhere I share my story there are people who are living in a prison of their own making. In me, these people see themselves set free, and prayers of renewed hope go up to heaven asking God to do for them what they cannot do for themselves. I know this because they tell me.
Toward the end of my month’s sojourn, a man stood up in his pew and said before the congregation of his church, “Yours may be a prison ministry, brother, but you have ministered to me as well. You have given me hope.”