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Life & Work with Jarvis Guthrie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jarvis Guthrie. 

Hi Jarvis, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I thought I had my whole life figured out. I enlisted into the United States Army while taking college courses at Florida State College at Jacksonville in 2012. I recently graduated high school. This would have allowed me to leave as an E3 Computer Specialist. I had no idea that the road ahead of me would birth my purpose and passion changing my life forever. 

Incarceration was the last place I thought I would ever attend. On the night of January 21, 2012, I almost fatally lost my life. I was at a house party binge drinking. I woke up in clay county emergency room with welps on my head and a closed black eye. I discovered that I got the houses confused and kicked down the door of a police officer. The gun jammed and he pistol-whipped until I was unconscious. 

The case went on for 8 months. The judge gave me an ultimatum of pleading mercy or taking it to trial. I put my trust in God and pleaded mercy. I heard the Judges encouraging words and the gravel hit my heart with Two years in Florida State prison and Three years on house arrest. 

My time in prison was where I began to grow and develop. I was hungry, ambitious, and eager to see what God had in store for me. I was located at Lake City Correctional Facility with young men between the ages of 18-24 years old. On May 13, 2013 I received my calling to become a preacher of the gospel. Countless testimonies of the young men, timeless miracles, and the glory that was shown to me, inspired me to find a solution to help young men after incarceration. 

When I was released from prison, I had no idea that obtaining employment and housing was extremely difficult for ex-offenders. Without my family, church, and support system, I don’t know where I would be. Those I met while incarcerated were so excited with dreams and visions before they were released. By the time I was on house arrest and probation, the hope was lost. Sitting in probation offices and seeing the hardships and cries from ex-offenders sparked me to greater heights of trying to find a solution for us. 

I spent my time bettering myself by obtaining an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in supervision and management. I had the hopes of obtaining good employment. Still the barriers and discrimination of my past still was a stronghold. I didn’t give up. Both my parents died and went on to glory. I’m at peace because my parents were able to see the man that they knew I could always become 

I have dedicated my whole life to this cause. Next year is a very big year for us. We have raised $18,200 out of our $25,000 goal this year! The money will be used to rehab the 900 sqft house. We have a 60-acres. The land has been in my family since 1925. When men are released from prison, they will be able to live on my farm for free. The name of the farm is Nazareth’s Farm. Can any good thing come from Nazareth? Come and see! Our men will be able to go to school and get a trade. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No, not at all. The journey is never smooth. There has been a lot Mountains and Valleys. Storms and Sunshine. The process is supposed to mold us and groom us. I would not be here if it wasn’t for adversity and trying times. I’m very grateful. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I love prison ministry. I met my pastor when I was incarcerated. After I met him, my life changed forever. Having relationships while incarcerated helps reduce recidivism while making a positive impact when we transition. I’ve been doing prison ministry for about 4 months now. I waited 7 years to do so. 

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Great support system. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without help. As well experience. When I got out of prison I went through many hardships. I lost my mother in 2016, father in 2019. Countless closed doors, rejections, and discriminations molded me into the man I am today. It what makes me effective in prison ministry and as a leader 

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