praying incarceration

Former Teen Inmate Finds Christ through YFC and Impacts Community with Faith

January 23, 2023

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Meaningful Relationships

Meaningful relationships can make a huge difference in the lives of youth who are struggling with pivotal life choices. This also includes those dealing with the consequences of negative choices already made.

 

In 1992, 15-year-old David Welch was driven to desperation after years of living with an abusive alcoholic father. He woke up one fateful morning knowing that he was either going to kill himself or his father. Welch felt there was no other way out of the cycle of abuse. He fatally shot his father, resulting in a hasty trial and a verdict declaring Welch guilty of first-degree murder. The mandatory penalty was life in prison and the possibility of parole in 25 years.

 

The situation seemed dire, but God used it for His glory. In prison, Welch met volunteers from Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a leader in missional youth outreach for 78 years. YFC’s Juvenile Justice ministry works inside the justice system, coming alongside youth and building relationships that are sustained through ongoing involvement as young people navigate the different pillars encompassing the juvenile justice system: Community, Courts, and Corrections.

God Loves You

The YFC volunteers told Welch that God loved him and that there was a plan for his life. This new outlook on his life gave Welch’s life a new trajectory. After leading him to Christ, the volunteers helped guide him through his GED and seminary. This ultimately inspired Welch to be a model inmate and lead classes within the prison himself. The YFC staff were so moved by his story and the way the Lord was changing his heart. They sought legal help to get clemency.

 

While waiting for freedom, Welch taught classes in the Corrections Transition Program. This included one whose focus is finding meaning in life while stuck in a situation that seems hopeless. It’s also about learning to accept responsibility.

 

“I’m responsible for my actions,” Welch said. “But who I am today is not who I was when I was a teenager.”

Share your Story

After 27 long years and many clemency and parole hearings, Welch was granted parole in 2019 and is still using his story to share the Good News.

 

Eric Holm is the YFC Polk County executive direction. Holm said, “While David was still in prison, other prisoners would be released and call YFC to share that they came to faith through David’s witness in prison. David has often shared his story with young people and discussed the redemption he found in Christ after being release from prison. He serves our ministry at any chance he gets! Recently, David’s parole was terminated. He is now completely free from any supervision by the Department of Corrections. He attributes his success and second chance in life to God’s divine purpose and plan for him. This is a lesson he learned in a juvenile detention center from a volunteer YFC leader.”



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