Local Man Serves Life Sentence Ministering to Prisoners - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/8/04

Local Man Serves Life Sentence Ministering to Prisoners

Don Castleberry is spending time behind bars, with a lifetime sentence by choice, to teach others about God. His message emphasizes forgiveness. His weapon is the Power of Prayer.

Don Castleberry is going to prison. During his time there, he's become good friends with assistant warden, Lorrie Wills.

"He is precious. He is great. He does so much for us," says Wills.

And he's even earned the trust of many inmates here.

"When the offenders come in and they haven't been exposed to the positive choices and to those positive reinforcements, if we don't do something and provide something to give them an avenue to learn how to make those positive choices in life, then they're gonna reintegrate back into society and recommit," says Wills.

But Don's been here before serving his sentence more than 25 years ago. Even though he's been released, he's still spending time behind bars, misintering to prisoners.

"I was a federal inmate in 1976-1977. On January 9, 1977, is the day I was saved," says Don.

Don puts his heart and soul into ministering to inmates who walk here in his very same shoes. They want, need, search for a friend and someone who can help them find sanctity instead of suffering.

"I don't think I chose it. God chose it for me and I knew how the power of prayer worked for the gentleman who had prayed for me first, and I wanted to see men's lives change for the good and I knew that the only way men's lives are gonna change is if their hearts change first," says Don.

"He puts people in front of you that want to help you and see you make it out in society, and brother Don is one of those that help me out in this area," says inmate, Marty Rangel.

Inmates like Marty and Craig say finding peace in prison is difficult, and finding peace starts with the Power of Prayer.

"When you notice an inmate carrying a Bible a little more, he's kinder to an officer, he quits cussing, and wants to be a participant in every church service, we know their hearts are changing," says Don.

"It makes it very easy for us to say, 'Hey, I used to be like this and now I'm like this' and Jesus Christ is how I got here," says inmate, Craig Jackson.

You could say Don has a God-given talent for changing lives. One lost soul at a time.

"It humbles me that God would use me and it gives me alot of humility over it, and I'm proud to be a part of a ministry of changing lives, because my objective is to get as many people to heaven as I can," says Don.

"My life has changed drastically. When I got to know Christ and got to know how he loves us and how he cares about us and how he has a purpose and plan for all of us, it's made such a difference in our lives, in my life, that I can't help but keep serving. He's everything to me," says Marty.

Don Castleberry has been in prison ministry for more than 25 years. He's even served as Chaplain for the Lubbock County Jail. And visits dozens of prison each year in his ministry.

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