(Locator: Nashville, Tenn.)
Nat/Entering visitation room: “Hey, everybody!”
It’s been almost a year since Lisa Woods has seen her niece and nephew.
But a church is keeping them connected.
Once a month, vans from Concord United Methodist Church in Knoxville,
Tennessee make the three-hour trip to state prisons in Nashville.
DeaunTray Woods: “It’s fun to go see my auntie because she thinks of the
fun things to do.”
Eight-year-old DeaunTray (dee-ON-tray) Woods is going with his sister,
mother, and grandmother.
Phyllis Woods/Prisoner’s Mother: “I love her much, and in spite of all
that’s happened, I still need to keep in touch with her.”
And families usually have a lot of catching up to do.
Nat/Deauntray and Lisa sing: “Now I said my ABC’s. Next time won’t you
sing with me?”
Nat/Mother: “Yeah, that’s good.”
Some of those who ride in the church vans can’t drive themselves or
can’t afford high gas prices for the trips.
Elaine Wynn/Volunteer, Concord United Methodist Church: “They're sort of
forgotten folks, in many ways. And I feel that it's our duty, our
responsibility, to recognize them as human beings.”
Lisa could be away from her relatives for eight years, as she serves
time for drug convictions.
Lisa Woods/Prisoner: “Every family has their trials and tribulations.
But I feel like being able to see my family gives me a drive to keep
Van driver Jim Miller says the prison van ministry started 20 years ago
to help keep families whole.
Jim Miller/Volunteer, Concord United Methodist Church: “When an
individual that’s related to other individuals goes into one of those
institutions, everybody goes in to one of those institutions.”
The Woods family is thankful that Lisa is in rehab and trying to turn
around her life.
Nat/Talks with sister: “Be good. Stay out of trouble.”
Lisa Woods/Prisoner: “It keeps us focused on being able to see our
family again. It gives us faith. It gives us hope.”
To learn more about the prison van ministry at Concord United Methodist
Church, contact 865-966-6728 or check their Web site at