Cover Article For Vision Magazine May 2011
The lady whom I wrote about in this article is an amazing person – do read her story here!
Katie Souza is the inspiration behind Expected End Ministries, a non-profit ministry that teaches prisoners to find their God-given purpose in life. It is hard to imagine that this beautiful lady met God while serving a sentence in jail… Nicolette Ferreira spoke to Katie about lives changing in the midst of captivity.
In a dark prison cell, a woman sits studying her Bible. She looks up, staring at the walls… she has only completed a few months of her sentence and testing times are still to come. But a smile returns to her face: at least she is not alone any more: she wipes her hand lovingly over The Bible in front of her.
Katie Souza has experienced both hell and heaven. As a child (born in 1963), she lived her life carelessly, hunting and fishing with her mother on a rural ranch in Wisconsin (USA). The carefree little girl grew up and by the age of 36 she found herself in prison…
WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
When Katie was ten, her family moved to Hawaii. Here she experienced a racist attitude towards whites: ‘I stood out like a sore thumb, because I looked different than almost everybody else. I constantly got into fights and eventually started drinking, smoking pot and eating mushrooms that I got from friends I hung out with in High School.’
Katie left Hawaii for California when she turned twenty. She landed a job in radio and quickly advanced into television. At this point her drug use was daily. Katie soon moved on to Los Angeles, where she was hired as a model for a Home Shopping Network show and she also acted in a few movies and theatre pieces.
Engrossed in the Hollywood drug scene, Katie dropped out of television and started a rock band: ‘I mostly sang about dope, rebellion, and all the different kinds of pains that were in my soul.’ Her life now consisted of drugs (she manufactured speed herself), high-speed chases, gun shootouts and many arrests. In February 1999 she was arrested and sentenced to twelve and a half years in federal prison.
It is in prison that Katie’s life took a wild u-turn: ‘I had been fighting and running my entire life. The first year I was down I was fighting against everyone! One day I found out that one of my co-defendants was going to testify against me in federal court. Later that day, I ended up throwing down with her and her girlfriend in the yard. We all got taken to lockdown. While I was there I went into a diabetic seizure. When I awoke I was so tired – I was done! I had been running and fighting non-stop for over a decade. As I slid down the cold cement wall I said to myself, “I give up”.’
‘Immediately God spoke to me and told me to surrender to my captivity, because it was His perfect plan for my life. I remember running to the cell door and asking a Correctional Officer if he could bring me a Bible. When he rudely refused I held back a slur of obscenities and turned my face toward heaven, asking God to bring me His Word.’
‘The next day, when I was taken out of my cell to shower, I went to throw my dirty uniform into the clothes bin, which was normally overflowing with dirty linens. This time it was empty – except for a copy of The Bible. God had answered my prayer! My transformation had begun.’
After she found The Bible, Katie spent hours in her cell, reading through it. She started working on a book for convicts, for all of God’s captive people, urging them to take hold of their created purpose during their incarceration.
In 2001, six months before her Federal appeal was heard in court, God revealed to Katie exactly what her new release date would be. When her appeal was approved in July of 2002, seven years were taken off her sentence and the release date the Lord gave her came to pass!
A BOOK FOR CAPTIVES
After her release, Katie continued working on the book she started in prison. She titled it The Captivity Series: the Key to your Expected End. Currently, The Captivity Series is being read or taught in facilities all over the world!
This key study for inmates is based on Biblical stories of ancient Israel’s captives: Katie took Israel’s journey in, through and out of exile and directly paralleled it to the incarceration experience prisoners go through today.
The ultimate goal of The Captivity Series is to teach every prisoner how to take possession of their God created purpose, right in the middle of their captivity. Katie calls a person’s kingdom purpose their ‘Expected End’ (Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you an expected end!” KJV). She believes that once we have possession of our ‘Expected End’, it changes or lives, fills us with purpose and empowers us to never return to captivity again.
God also showed Katie in prison that her ‘Expected End’, or kingdom assignment, involves healing: prisoners need to be well and healthy in order to walk out their life purpose: ‘There are so many people who are sick,’ says Katie, ‘physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 3 John 2 says that we will be prospered and be in health “as our soul is prospered” (NKJV). Therefore, when I go inside prisons to minister to those incarcerated, God helps me to release an anointing that heals people’s souls, enabling them to get healed in their physical bodies. When we pray we bring people ‘the glory light of God’: according to Malachi 4:2, “…the Sun of Righteousness arises with healing in His wings…” (NKJV) Every time we come into contact with the glory of God we are changed in our souls, we are healed!’
Katie and her team at Expected End Ministries are constantly working on bringing people into contact with God’s healing love. They are currently busy with a new project, The Transformation House. This will be a home for people who were recently released from prison: ‘We are only starting with two women, but are in the planning stages of building a dorm that could hold up to 40. Our residents will be taught basic principals from The Bible, as well as The Captivity Series. They will be taught a new way to live so they will never have to return to prison again.’
Katie Souza was once in the pit of prison life. Today she runs a successful ministry, has a loving husband and partner in ministry, Robert Souza, and she is actively living her kingdom purpose. Do you have a loved one in prison? Or perhaps you yourself have a history of exile. God is calling you… even in the midst of bondage.
For a copy of The Captivity Series, go to http://www.ExpectedEndMinistries.com and click on Prisoners – Request a Book.