Carmen Ministries' Newsletter
Issue: 2013November 2013
CM LogoTop
A Message from Executive Director, Anthony Wood


Mr. Anthony Wood
Mr. Anthony Wood

Friends of Carmen Ministries,


Thanks be to God for His judgments, His grace, truth, mercy, love and provision. As I reflect on my 33 years in prison ministry and my journey toward a deeper and more intimate relationship with God, I visualize my life choices playing the role of the father, prodigal son, and judgmental elder brother. (Read Luke 15:11-31).


I have experienced the "dark nights of the soul" and the overwhelming presence of God. I have come to realize that my experiences and choices, much like the young men we serve in Carmen Ministries, are part of my journey.


Yes, we fall down, but He's always there to guide us through. Thank you for your support through the challenges and celebrations!

Yours in Christ,

Anthony Wood

CEO, Carmen Ministries

If I Can, You Can 


John B.

When I met Tony Wood at Warren County Correctional Facility in 2008, he asked me why I was destroying my life. I didn't have an answer. 


My shame and guilt brought me to prison three times; my last sentence was for five years.


However, when I was in prison, I went to Bible study as much as I could. That's when I started to truly understand I was destroying my life. Then I learned how to deal with my issues in a proper way. I couldn't do it on my own, but by the grace of God, now I can share my experiences with others.


This now I know: If there is a recurring problem or difficulty in your life, continue to ask God for help and be willing and ready to make a change in your attitude and behavior to correct the situation. Take direction and suggestions; ask God for help. My brothers in Christ, when I truly accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior in 2009, I took full responsibility for my own behavior. 


And God answers prayers. When I came home from prison, my family was there for me. Thank God. I thought I would be rejected but once again, God was there. I started identifying my feelings. I had to change my addictive personality to start acting like a responsible adult. I needed to be a good father and a true man of God. I needed to stay sober and focused. Now I share my experiences with others and let them know if I can do it, anyone can.


I know God has a bigger plan for me. I will give back what was freely given to me. 


Thank you to all those who stuck with me and helped me along the way, especially Carmen Ministries and my spiritual father, Tony Wood.




I Dance

My name is Anthony and I continue to be a part of an elite group called the "Special Forces." This group is for all the young men and women who have put on the full armor of God and fight to do His will. This group is not for the weak of heart, people of little faith, or doubters, but it is for those who want to press toward the mark of the higher calling.


I wasn't always a part of this group. Like many of you, I was caught up in the devil's lie that I didn't need God. "I can do it all by myself." Boy, was I wrong! I thought I had all a teenager could have: friends, who I later found out were not my friends; women, who I really had no regard for but were only there to satisfy my physical needs; and popularity, which I later realized was only for the enemy.


God had better plans for me. He allowed me to fall into my own lower desires and fall to a low point where I had to rely solely on Him.


I found God on December 26, 2009 and that was the best moment of my life. Even though I was going to jail, I walked with my head high knowing God was with me each step of the way. He led me to a man named Tony Woods, a.k.a. Pops, who made me a leader of the "Special Forces." Pops showed me how to take the burning desire I had for the world and turn it into a burning desire for God. Now I burn down Satan's lies with Jesus' truths. I still fall at times, but I've learned it's not about being in the rain: it's how you dance in it. And I've been dancing ever since!


Staying Focused


A lot of tests challenge a man of God, especially in prison. The tests draw us closer to God and show us His will. I thank Carmen Ministries and Pops. You're never forgotten. You are always in my prayers. You've done amazing things for me. Stay focused!


The Bible verse for my life:


"As iron sharpens iron, so does a man sharpen the countenance of his brother."           
Proverbs 27:17




He Threw His Arms Around Me


God has been so incredible. I just can't believe the incredible healing and drive I've attained. God has done a heck of a job on me and I'm so grateful. Life will be so much better now, and I trust Him with every step I take. I know He is guiding me toward great things.


I'm finally free from the vices that held me. Like in the story of the prodigal son, the father saw his son from afar. Why? Because he was looking for him; waiting for him. I love that my father, God, was waiting for me but never gave up on me. When I finally came, He ran and threw His arms around me.


For me, the definition of hell is having an understanding of how much God loves you but rejecting that love, so there's only suffering and the loss of an immeasurable amount of love. Now I just soak and bask in the infinite love of His glory. I've never known love such as this.


And you, Pops, played a big part in developing my relationship with God. You taught me that there is healing for EVERY man. Thank you for everything you've done for me. Your lessons continue to carry me along. 




The Great Compromise 


This is an excerpt from the book titled, "The Great Compromise" written by Greg Laurie and published in 1994.


"During the past three decades, violent crime has increased 560%. Illegitimate births have increased 400%. Divorce rates have quadrupled. The rate of children being raised in single-parent households has tripled, as has the teen suicide rate. Every year, in the U.S. alone, 23,000 citizens are murdered. Six million other violent crimes are committed in the U.S. annually. According to the FBI, the number of violent crimes reported to police jumped from 168 per 100,000 people in 1963 to 758 per 100,000 people today. Today's crimes - crimes like drive-by shootings, crack wars, gang-banging, car-jackings, and parent-killing - were virtually unheard of a generation ago. Now these terms are part of America's new vocabulary." 


And nearly 20 years later, the statistics don't get any better. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one-third of American children - a total of 15 million - are being raised without a father. Nearly five million more children live without a mother. In 2008, 40% of children were born to unmarried parents and 30% of children were raised in single-parent households.


The Ten Commandments are God's community development project and our answer to these seemingly insurmountable statistics.

Tony Wood
"Dad" and "Pops" to all the Carmen Ministries' Young Men

Excerpts from Letters from Our Young Men

As you read these excerpts, you will see that these boys have such a desire to succeed. We can see them grasping for hope and wisdom. Their fear is always that they will fall back into sin and end up back in the system. Their biggest challenge is to find positive role-models; someone they can turn to in their time of need. Our goal is to continue to mentor them and to help them find the things in their lives that offer them encouragement and allow them to contribute positively to their communities. Please continue to pray for them and for our ministry, so we are able to provide them with the skills they need to live productive, happy lives.



I've been attending Carmen Ministries' Bible studies for over a year. I attend church every night, because I want to have knowledge of the Bible; you have to read the Bible in order to know it. My story is a familiar one. I was generally a good kid. I did well in high school and attended one year of community college. Then, one day I gave into temptation and committed a crime. I acted out in violence against someone who humiliated me. I am very sorry for what I've done. 


My life changed because of this event, and I'm determined to have some good come out of this terrible deed. I've never had a good relationship with my biological father and our relationship continues to deteriorate. 


So I turn to you and Carmen Ministries as my spiritual mentor and father. Your love has touched me and made my heart softer because you care about me so much. You are here and you reach out to me, which is incredible. Some of us here have fathers; some don't. But because of you, we all know that we always have a spiritual father we can turn to and count on.


* * *


I've been in and out of the DYFS system and foster care since I was six months old. Most of my life I have been in some type of system, and I really want out of it all. I am 27 years old and haven't been charge-free since I was 13 years old. I can only seem to last a month out on the streets. I've been told I have some mental health issues, because I have suicidal thoughts and have had these thoughts since 2008. Maybe it's because of my upbringing. 


Growing up, I really didn't have anyone in my life. My grandma and my mom were only around to collect welfare and child support checks. As soon as they received the checks, they'd disappear again until the checks came around again. I was bounced from house to house and family to family. I wish that one of those families took care of me. Instead, I was sexually assaulted when I was five years old. I still can't get those images out of my mind, but by the grace of God, I'm still alive. 


I need help. I need a spiritual mentor because I feel lost. I need someone to help me along this journey. I'm trying to get myself onto the right path and I have the right mind to succeed, but I need some real support. I can't do it alone. I need positive role models to help me through this - a mentor and father figure.

* * *



Christmas Thanks
We would like to give a special thanks to those who contributed to Carmen Ministries' 2012 Christmas program. This program sponsors families of inmates during the Christmas season. Carmen Ministries sponsored one particular family last year who received toys, clothing, and a substantial Walmart gift card. Your expression of love relieves some of the burden from the fathers during their time of separation from their family.
"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." 
Matthew 25:40
Ministry Sponsor: Hunterdon Business Services, LLC

Please patronize our ministry sponsor, Hunterdon Business Services, LLC. To contact Hunterdon Business Services, click here

In This Issue
A Message from Mr. Wood
If I Can, You Can
I Dance
Staying Focused
He Threw His Arms Around Me
The Great Compromise
Excerpts from Letters from Our Young Men
Christmas Thanks
Hunterdon Business Services, LLC
Merry Christmas
Inspiration for Our Boys
Carmen Ministries Info
I Pray (Song with Lyrics from One of our Young Men)
Prayer Requests

Our Mission

provide every youthful offender the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel, to grow in his or her relationship with Christ, and to become a responsible, contributing adult.  

   Newsletter Options

Welcome to the third edition of our electronic newsletter. Carmen Ministries is moving towards reducing the cost of printing communications by sending electronic transmissions. 

Send us your email address to be sure to receive future Carmen Ministries communications
Merry Christmas
Carmen Ministries' would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very happy, and blessed New Year! 
Inspiration for our Boys

"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father."


Hebrew 12:7


"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

Malchi 4:5-6


Carmen Ministries Info

PO Box 421
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
Tel: (908) 835-7805
Fax: (908) 835-7808


Board of Directors:

Executive Director/President:
Tony Wood

Chariperson: Daniel R. Miller

Operations Director: James C. Hoyt

Vice President: Robert T. Dell Elba

Secretary Emeritus:
Brian Hancock, Esq.

Editor: Hunterdon Business Services

Newsletter Note
Names of the incarcerated have been omitted to provide anonymity. Articles, interviews and letters may have been edited and condensed for use in this communication. Every effort has been made to preserve the original intended message.


I Pray

A Song Written by One of the Young Men Carmen Ministries' has ministered.



I pray the Lord

To please forgive me

And listen to my cries cause I need your help

Your help

And I've been dreaming

Of my enemies

and these evil spirits want me so bad

So bad


I pray the Lord to forgive my sins

Show a li'l mercy on $G* in this life I'm livin' in

Keep me safe from the wicked hands

The life traps and the wicked plans

And all the slander living in the land

Help me emerge and do holy things

So that I exalt you as my only king

To live for God is my only dream

So hear my cries as I holy sing

I know it's blessings that you only bring

In my defense I get knowledge and power

And if I slip and pray to you every hour,

I ask for change in hopes that you bring it near me,

And when I pray Jesus please let him hear me... 



 I pray the Lord 

Will help me give it in the raw,

I live my life for the Lord and pray for those who're hanging on,

And that I don't get comfortable in my own sins,

The best thing in life is holiness

My Christian brother Oscar told me this,

It stuck with me - it made perfect sense

A & J you truly made it,

So bless their families through this tribulation,

It's just a test to build your faith and patience

Everybody's death you know it's planned and dated,

Under my feet I'm walking on Satan,

I know he hates me. I see it in his faces,

But I rejoice that's how the Lord made me,

Gave me a wife so I can gain favor,

So all y'all beasts, I'll holler at ya later.



*$G is the author's signature



Prayer Requests
I ask that you place my kids and their mothers and me on your prayer list. Please have the church pray for me.

Please pray for my daughters and my mom. They really need your prayers.

Can you please pray that I am able to reconnect with my daughter and develop a relationship with her?

Pray that I remain strong in my faith and continue to trust in Him. 

Please pray that I am able to get my job back so I can provide for my family.

Pray that I can trust and surrender to the will of my loving Father.