On any given day Matthew Sackett is about the business of being a servant of God. He takes seriously the command to be one of God’s servant leaders especially in the Desoto Correctional Institution Prison Chapel; whether he is mopping or buffing floors, fixing the A/C system, or leading the numerous worship services on the weekend as head of the Praise Team, he is all about serving and helping others along their spiritual journey. Matthew’s passion is music, and he is continually developing a ministry of Praise Team Leaders, men with various musical talents, forming them into a community of worship leaders through Bible Study, Prayer, and Fellowship. The ideas and goals he has in store for these future Christian leaders require capital which is needed to provide materials for growth (devotional books, guitar strings and sheet music) and he would like to provide them some small treats like coffee, donuts, and sandwiches to sustain them in their work. Through generous donations, the Chapel does have some musical instruments and electronics, but they are always in need of replacements as these well-used items constantly become worn.
The T.U.M.I. Program (which is a college level seminary style program offered in prisons) prepares inmates for undertaking urban ministry and is sponsored by Prison Fellowship (Chuck Colson). Matthew graduated from this 3-year institute and is now the Chief Facilitator for T.U.M.I. under the direction of other Clergy (Chaplain & Outside Ministers). Matthew is also a “Faith and Character Based” (FCB) program graduate, which requires men to live together in a Dorm with higher standards than is normal on the compound, regarding conduct and their personal relationships. Matthew also helped initiate, now leads, and participates in “The Re-Entry Program”, assisting men to prepare for life outside prison with life skills and tools they will need as they re-enter society.
Matthew’s talent is not confined to music as his artistic ability is displayed all over the compound; if you come through the Visitor Center, there are realistic murals he has painted of the Blue Angels, the Key West Buoy, and other scenes which make wonderful backgrounds for family photos; the Chaplain’s Office has a serene beach scene painted by him, and many of his other art pieces grace the walls of offices and dorms on the compound. He is extremely generous with his time and talents and that brightens the day of the 1500 men on the compound. One future project is turning The Re-Entry Dorm (through several talented artists) into a “subway station”, with representations of various stops of re-entry into the outside world – stops such as education, vocational training (carpentry, electrical), a halfway house, and other stops to be taken before their release dates.
One thing Matthew does not lack for is a wealth of ideas, needing only the funds to bring these ideas to fruition. The average “free world” person does not understand what everyday life is like in a Florida prison. There are many redeemed men in the system who are improving themselves and living out the best examples of a self-worth within bars.
– Volunteer Chaplain Andrea Yerger
Pastors’ Note: Matt is the son of Sue and Bob Sackett. His ministry is a very worthwhile use of your gifts, so please be as generous as you can. By investing in these men and their relationship with Christ, we can make the world, or at least our little part of it, a better place for all. Checks may be made out to LCC with a note in the memo line indicating the funds are for the Prison Ministry. You can also donate by going to the giving page on our website. Thanks!