From dealer to healer – ex con rebuilds life
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From dealer to healer – ex con rebuilds life

A former drug trafficker turned pastor has re-dedicated his life to giving fellow ex-convicts a “fresh start in life”.

Gerald Ross is a pastor at Beenleigh Baptist Church, where he runs a program that helps reintegrate former prisoners into society.

He said the program works so well because of his own brush with the law.

“I was living a life of crime for a long time, and I ended up in prison,” Mr Ross said.

While serving time for drug trafficking, Mr Ross said his “life was changed” as a result of meeting former prison chaplain George Stubbs.

“I turned away from my old lifestyle and became a christian,” he said,

“The prison chaplains showed the love of Jesus in themselves and that was a turning point for me.”

Inspired by his interactions with Mr Stubbs, Mr Ross was eager to “make a positive difference” in the community, so following his release, he joined a local church and helped start the “restore ministry”.

“We help by getting [former prisoners] back into the community and turning their life around, while breaking the cycle of drugs and crime and prison,” Mr Ross said.

“There’s a lot of guilt and shame associated with going into prison, so we try to create an environment where there’s no judgment or stigma, not matter what
background a person may have.

“We then started to use it to help people from diverse backgrounds, people struggling with drug and alcohol addictions, getting out of prison and people struggling with homelessness – we found these areas interlinked most of the time.”

Mr Ross said the ministry offered life coaching and help securing employment.

“And getting them to a point where they are not just surviving, but thriving,” he said.

“Knowing that someone cares for you – it goes a long way.”

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