Surviving the odds
HANNIBAL, Mo. —
Under the hum of a fan, soft music playing in the background and fingers tapping on a keyboard,
These are the sounds that 65-year-old James Beardsly hears every day.
One of his favorite things to do is to volunteer his time at a local soup kitchen, especially when the kids come through.
"You give a little kid a hug and give him a meal and I always sneak in the ice box and give him a little popsicle and little extra treats," Beardsly said.”
Smiles are easier to come by for James now because he surrounds himself with positive people.
But he's only done that over the last year.
For 41 years before that, every day was a life or death situation.
"At 22 years old I ended up in the Missouri state prison with 65 years’ worth of consecutive sentences....You had two choices. You were either predator or you were prey and out here it's just a different world," said Beardsly.”
He was in prison for more than four decades for some serious crimes including kidnapping, drug use, and a shootout with police.
In the past year he's turned his life around with the help of the harvest outreach ministry.
The program helps transition from jails, prisons and treatment centers.
"Our guys they're actively involved in church. They're active involved in ministry and outreach. We feel like that's one key component that a lot of places don't have is that active role in church or Christian organization," said James Bridges, Founder of Harvest Outreach Ministry.”
Not only is Harvest Outreach Ministry for men, but they also help transition women. In fact, a women’s house will be open for use by the end of the month.
In addition to transitioning people, the organization also advocates community service like feeding the hungry and organizing recovery groups.
Without this program, James Beardsly tells me he would most likely be back in prison or dead.
His advice is to surround yourself with positive people and positive activities. Positivity is the key to recovery.