Rev. Jack Bryan - Transforming the Lives of Men
This week's 'Pay it Forward' takes us to Etowah, Tennessee, to a place called Miracle Lake.
That's where we meet Reverend Jack Bryan.
For nearly four decades he's helped hundreds of men overcome adversity and have a second chance at life.
'Pay it Forward' nominator Mary Ensley meets us in a parking lot just a couple miles from Miracle Lake, a Christian treatment and training facility for men who are trying to overcome addiction.
Her son, Matthew just completed the program.
Mary says, "I was just really touched by how Matthew started making a change in his life. He's a lot more happier. He's peaceful, you know. He's starting to accept God in his life and go to church and just have positive influences in his life."
Matthew and his friend, who also completed the program, are joining in on the 'Pay it Forward' surprise.
"He wanted to be a part of it because he just realizes that they did, that they're there for him and they did help him. It's just like we had no where else to turn," Mary explains.
It's time to count out our $500 cash.
We arrive at Miracle Lake to find Reverend Bryan helping in the construction of a new administration building.
"Hey Jack," Mary shouts.
He walks down the hill and she greets him, "On behalf of the McMahan Law Firm and NewsChannel 9 I'm so honored to be able to 'Pay it Forward'. You have been such a blessing in my son's life and in my life, and I really thank you for everything you've done."
Placing the money in his hands Mary says, "I just want to let you know that Matthew is a better man for coming here and I really appreciate you."
Reverend Bryan smiles and says, "Well, all the praise goes to the Lord."
Matthew steps in with a message to his beloved mentor.
"You've been a wonderful man to me and I've learned so much from you," Matthew says,
Reverend Bryan tells me that his calling came when he saw a need in his jail ministry.
"We were able to take the first man in the program here in December of 1980. So, since that time we've had between 1,400 and 1,500 men who've come through our program since that time," Reverend Bryan says.
For eight weeks the men who study at Miracle Lake learn to minister and share their struggles and triumphs with others.
Reverend Bryan says, "I tell the men if they will busy themselves sharing what little they know about Jesus with people who don't know that much it will keep them busy the rest of their lives, and it does."
I ask him how long he'll continue to devote himself to the men at Miracle Lake.
Reverend Bryan pauses and smiles.
"The Lord called me into the ministry and I'm going to stay in the ministry until he takes me out."
CLICK here to learn more about Miracle Lake.
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