Original article featured in the Sunday Brunch of the Herald Banner on January 15, 2012.
Written by: Amber Pompa
Susan Neyra founded a prison ministry in 2005 in an effort to help those incarcerated find their way to God and keep themselves from falling back into old habits.
Susan Neyra is the founder of Disciples 4 Christ Outreach, a non-profit ministry with a heart and a call to reach incarcerated juveniles, women and men locally throughout the state of Texas. It was shortly after her first husband’s passing that Neyra was called to create this ministry.
“God laid it on my heart to reach out to some ministries that had discipled me and one of those was Mike Barber Ministries,” she said.
Mike Barber Ministries is a prison ministry that touched Neyra deeply during her time spent incarcerated.
Yes, Neyra spent time behind bars, though you couldn’t tell it to look at her. That, however, is exactly the point. The goal of the ministry that spoke to her and made such a difference in her life is to teach those incarcerated that while they may be in prison, prison doesn’t have to be in them.
This ministry, and this statement, made a tremendous impact on Neyra and was, in fact, one of the reasons for her creation of Disciples 4 Christ Outreach.
“They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” said Neyra. “I was like a sponge and they just kept feeding me. I soaked up the word to the point that when it came time for my release, God showed me the path I’d been on and the path He wanted me to follow.”
Before beginning her own ministry in 2005, Neyra teamed up with Mike Barber Ministries, three years after her release, and went into the prisons to assure the women there that there was life after incarceration.
“I call it the ripple effect and I believe there will be people that I’m speaking with now that will turn around and do the same thing upon their release,” said Neyra.
Disciples 4 Christ Outreach offers a variety of services for inmates.
“We do whatever God lays on our hearts,” said Neyra. “Sometimes I bring help with the praise and worship, sometimes I bring the word and sometimes I just speak a word of encouragement,” she said. “We even perform skits. Each service is different. Many pastors and music groups partner with me in my efforts. We’re basically a coalition of churches and volunteers who know the importance of what God’s called us to do. That’s the beauty of it… all these people coming together for the work of the Kingdom. It’s all about coming together and doing work for the Kingdom.”
The ministry is completely manned by volunteers.
“Disciples 4 Christ Outreach consists of individuals who have fallen and know what it means to have God’s grace to get back up,” said Neyra. “We gladly take on the responsibility of being our brother’s keeper through encouragement, hands-on assistance, referrals and inspiration. Disciples 4 Christ wants to break the generational curse of incarceration, and put a purpose and a meaning back into the lives and hearts of these individuals as they go back into society. Without a plan and a goal, the statistics show that one out of three will be re-incarcerated within a year of their release.”
According to Neyra, a good support systems is pivotal upon release and her nondenominational ministry offers that support, along with a variety of resources aimed at keeping inmates from walking down the same dark path.
For more information on the prison ministry or volunteer opportunities, send us a message or call 1-214-230-D4CM.