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Laura Suk is no stranger to the transformative power of the Gospel. After years of struggling with an addiction, God intervened in her life and set her on a path toward recovery and faith.

Laura was not only freed from her addiction but freed for a new purpose. God placed a burden on her heart to reach the marginalized and break generational patterns of sin and brokenness. In her community of Orange County, CA, Laura noticed there was a dire lack of support available to people reentering society from prisons, jails, and rehabilitation programs.

NorthEast of the Well is a ministry that is focused on using the power of the Gospel to break generational patterns

Reentry is a critical point when the need for belonging and accountability is at its highest.

Although they are no longer behind bars, many peoples’ hearts remain captive to sin and addiction. God gave Laura a vision for a ministry that would provide hope and healing to those captives, and in 2010, she founded NorthEast of the Well. Laura hosted the first NorthEast of the Well gathering in her living room with only a keyboard and a Bible. “We weren’t churchy,” Laura says, “we just said come on in.” This was a place where former inmates and rehab graduates could be a part of a supportive community and deepen their faith. Laura invited men and women to experience the love of God through worship, Bible studies, and authentic relationships. Those early gatherings grew as she continued to respond to the community’s needs.

Today, there are 21 weekly gatherings across Orange and Los Angeles counties.

NorthEast of the Well serves a highly vulnerable population, and 75% of the ministry’s participants have been incarcerated. However, Laura believes that “God’s Word goes out no matter what barriers get set up.” She and her team make their gatherings as accessible as possible by offering transportation, childcare, and meals to over 100 people every week.

At NorthEast of the Well, showing up is only the first step.

The Power of Discipleship helps NorthEast of the Well to create a faith community to help overcome the bondage of incarceration

“We do discipleship,” Laura explains.

“We don’t just meet people where they are, we form a community.” NorthEast of the Well makes disciples of men and women who become disciple-makers. This is a key element of NorthEast of the Well’s ministry, as those who once were “takers” become “givers.” Multiple staff members at NorthEast of the Well are formerly incarcerated individuals whose lives were changed by an encounter with Christ. Lisa was arrested 30 times before giving her life to God in jail. She decided she

wanted to do things differently, but she couldn’t do it alone. NorthEast of the Well provided Lisa with a place to be fully known and fully loved, and now she serves others who the criminal justice system has impacted through her role as the Outreach Coordinator.

Another staff member, Lorena, was trafficked and living in a brothel before Jesus rescued her from the only life she had ever known.

At NorthEast of the Well, Lorena found people who were willing to walk alongside her and remind her every day how much she was loved. In her role as the Outreach and Human Trafficking Coordinator, she gets to encourage those who are on the brink of relapsing or reoffending that, “if God can do it for me, He can do it for you.” Lorena discovered that her past does not define her and that God created her for a purpose. She shares this good news with the NorthEast of the Well community because it is only when people understand they are loved that they can break out of their destructive patterns and walk forward in freedom.

Giving formerly incarcerated individuals an opportunity to develop as Spiritual leaders

NorthEast of the Well offers formerly incarcerated individuals the unique opportunity to develop as spiritual leaders in the Holy Land. The Jail to Jerusalem program ignites their faith as they witness to one another in the places where Jesus taught his disciples. For Shane, who spent 25 years in and out of prison, the Bible came alive during this trip. He gave a sermon about King David and returned home with a newfound passion for teaching. Jon, another former inmate, and addict was baptized in the Jordan River. His spirit was filled with joy, and he wants to spread this joy to others like him in one of NorthEast of the Well’s discipleship groups. In the kingdom of God, every changed heart becomes the catalyst for another changed heart.

When Laura started NorthEast of the Well 13 years ago, she was guided by Micah 6:8:

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Laura knows this walk of faith is not always easy, especially for those in the precarious position of being newly released from prison or jail with no one to journey with them. The end of a sentence does not have to mean the beginning of another cycle of addiction, crime, and incarceration. For the community of NorthEast of the Well, it is the moment at which God reaches out and bids them walk a new way, a better way, the way He designed.

"The Outcast Becomes the Witness"

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Each month Serving USA publishes a newsletter featuring our amazing ministry partners. We are so blessed by them as they work to make an impact with veterans, women in recovery and individuals who have been incarcerated.


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