In our experiences of leading worship, we have had so many beautiful opportunities and some of our most favorite times have been with CHARM Prison Ministries. CHARM stands for Christ’s Hope And Reconciliation Ministry and their purpose is to look past the criminal to see the person as they visit those in prisons, sharing with them the hope that is found in Jesus Christ through events comprised of sports, music, and message. As we participate in these events, we get to lead worship, hear the incredible stories of lives that have been transformed, make new friends with those we are visiting and sometimes even get our eyebrows done. Haha.
It truly is a gift to be able to meet the men and women who are incarcerated and see the Lord work in their lives to transform them from the inside out. Within CHARM Prison Ministries you will get to know hearts of gold and it all starts with David and Kaye Trickett. We have been so blessed to know the Tricketts and see how God uses them every day. Their journey so far has not been easy, but it is their story of how they found eternal treasure and how they are now sharing it with all who will listen.
We invited David and Kaye for lunch at Tacos A Go Go which is one of our favorite taco spots and, because this is just how sweet they are, they treated us. We had such a great time sitting outside, enjoying the weather, our tacos and their incredible story.
L&T: Where did you two meet?
Kaye: We met in the nightlife. We both were basically looking for love in all the wrong places. We dated off and on and had a love/hate relationship while David was in and out of jail.
David: We were in such a mess…it’s hard to love someone else when you love yourself more than anybody. Everything is with a selfish motive.
L&T: So tell us a little about your individual journeys.
Kaye: In 1996, I was arrested and that was oddly my rescue. I was in the church and I knew better, but the drugs and the alcohol were my way to try to find some healing and cover up the pain I was feeling. I didn’t know how to be in church with all of my sin and the mess I created for myself. I was arrested three times and was in jail an accumulative total of 18 months. The last time when I was fully stripped of all that I was hiding behind, the Lord grabbed a hold of me. It’s crazy because my dad would deliver bibles to the Harris County Jail and it was when I was in there in Harris County Jail that I was left to nothing else but to grab one of those bibles and it all became real. Jesus became real to me, not just a story. The songs came alive, and I found freedom while I was incarcerated. I turned to Him, I was forgiven, set free, incarcerated and facing a long prison sentence.
I read Colossians 2:14 where it says “He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.”
And I just believed Him and trusted Him for that wholeheartedly. In a miraculous chain of events through the Harris County Judicial System, they set the bond to 1,000,000 and it was just a slap in the face, but in 97, when the trial came, I received a deferred adjudication. They gave me probation, and after that, this offense would be wiped clean from my record. It was a miracle from the Lord…I was facing 25 years.
David: I did not grow up in church. We only went for Easter, Christmas, weddings and/or funerals. I believed in God, and thought that He wouldn’t ever send someone to hell as long as our good outweighed our bad. Well, I got to a place in my life where my bad outweighed my good. I didn’t think there was any way for Heaven for me but I still felt like there was a God. I was selfish and in high school I was living a life that included drugs, alcohol, partying, but somehow managed a way to make it to college through playing football. In college is where everything headed south, literally and spiritually. I ended up in Houston…then arrested for a large quantity of cocaine. That started a series of arrests. I was arrested close to 15 times, 8 convictions are still on my record. 9 years of my life in and out of lock up facilities.
Part of that time I was dating Kaye off and on. I wanted Kaye to be out of the drug business that she and I were both involved in because I knew it wasn’t safe and if she got arrested, she wouldn’t make it serving the time.
I had a salvation experience in 93 at one of the church services in the county jail. This guy told his testimony about grace and all the bad he had done and that God covered that with His blood. I was freaking out that a simple prayer would eliminate all of my mistakes. But I treated His grace kind of flippantly because I didn’t fully understand it. I was still living and doing the same stuff I was doing before, but I was feeling weird about it and I didn’t enjoy it. I was so confused. I had money, drugs, girls and I was doing what I normally did, but I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. There was no peace.
I saw her (Kaye) again while I was out and there was something different about her. My attorney was her attorney and when she was facing 25 years during her sentencing, he called me to tell her to take the 12 years that they were offering or else they’d give her the 25 out of spite. But Kaye was saying that she “was given a promise by God” and that she was holding on to it. I saw a different person in her than who she was before – it wasn’t just her external beauty, it was more.
I asked her what happened to her in jail and she said she got saved and gave her life to Jesus. I was so confused because I knew she had grown up in church so I didn’t see how that was different. She said she knew about God before, but now she knew God. I told her that I had something like that happen to me in 93, but that I don’t feel or look like her. So then I had to really examine myself and my relationship with God. I didn’t make Him my Lord that day in 93. I was still doing all I was doing before. Soloman had all this wealth and all these women but he was nothing without God. I identified with that cuz I had it “all” but felt empty.
In the next few months, my final arrest came. I was looking at 50 years or more and I was just crying out. I cried out to the Lord and said, “God, if you’re real, I need to know You.” And it was like an instant. Nothing happened on the outside, but it was like I could feel the walls of my heart came down. And all of a sudden I had joy and peace. I was really confused about it, though. I was facing a 50 years sentence and I was joyful and peaceful. I kept thinking, “What is going on? I shouldn’t be feeling like this?” The peace was overwhelming.
The next morning, normally I would’ve called my dad asking him to put up my bond or do anything to get me out and that I’d pay him back, but I had no desire to call my family. Part of it was some conviction that something had happened the night before that I didn’t want to tell anyone about it yet until I knew it was real. So I decided to read the bible again. I popped it open to Psalm 30. It said, “Weeping endures for the night but joy comes in the morning”. It was the explanation in scripture of what I experienced the night before. That started the journey of really wanting to know this Person who gave me this impossible peace and freedom. I didn’t call my dad for about a month. I just spent time learning about Jesus right there in county jail. Then, when they were going to send me to prison, I prayed to the Lord, “If You’re real, send me someone who can show me what this looks like to follow You.”
I met Jarvis there in prison. I told him, grumbling and complaining that I had two 10 years sentences. He said, “I have 25 aggravated sentence and the day I was sentenced, my mom died and I couldn’t even go to her funeral, but I have peace.” This was my guy. I started hanging with him and learning about Jesus, both with him and through him.
Another thing… I was engaged with a girl when I got arrested. She wrote me almost every day for a year and a half. I started seeing that God was changing me but that she wasn’t changing. So I knew it wasn’t going to work so when I got out, I knew I had to let her go. Jarvis and I prayed. It was going to be hard to tell her, so we just prayed. The next day, I received a letter from her saying she couldn’t do it anymore. It was perfect.
Two days later, I get a letter from Kaye. I was so encouraged because she was encouraging me from the Lord. It wasn’t like I ever thought we were going to be in a romantic relationship again, she was just encouraging me in the Lord. After two years, I was invited to go to Carol Vance (a Christian prison) and that was where the Lord started talking to me about prison ministry and how he wanted me to come back to prison after I got out. A week after being there…
Kaye: Well, I was working with a prison ministry that volunteered at Carol Vance and I felt like my heart had found a home when I served there because it was people that had the same kind of transformational life and were worshipping the Lord. One day, I asked if they had a David Trickett there because I had found out he was no longer at the other prison. They said he had just come in.
David: The first day I saw her there, I thought the Lord sent her to talk to me. She started visiting me there and I got to know the other inmates there. After seeing guys who I thought were soldiers for the Lord in prison go back out to the real world and after just a couple months go back to their mistakes and be back in prison…I was so surprised! And heartbroken. That’s what convicted me that prison ministry would be my calling when I got out.
Kaye: So the people from the unit noticed that I was on an inmate’s visitation list and they said I couldn’t be in the prison ministry and on the visitation list. They said I had to choose. I chose to stay on David’s list. I would visit him and we would just have church together. We were learning about the Lord. One day in October, David had asked me for forgiveness for everything that had happened in our past. He was just being obedient to what God wanted him to do and I said of course because I was forgiven of so much. I remember going home that night and it felt like black-and-white was going into color. I always wanted to have a family and be married and it was like the Lord switched my vision that David might be the man. So, our visitations then became more purposeful.
David: In early December, The Lord told me that Kaye was going to be my wife. I thought I was going to wait and propose once I got out of prison. But then, on Christmas Eve, God told me to propose to her that day when she came to visit me in prison. But I thought it was a bad idea. I tell people now not to do that. God really wanted me to be obedient, but I didn’t do it. After visitation, I felt the Lord telling me I was disobedient. This guy came up to me and asked, “Hey man, is that your wife out there?” I just ignored it and then another guy said, “Hey man, saw you out there with your wife.” Then I go out to the rec yard another guy said, “You’re out there with your wife all the time, man.”
Nobody had ever called her my wife in all the years I’d been there and she had visited me. Then that night I was listening to Tony Evans and his words convicted me that I needed to make the decision to obey God in proposing to Kaye. The next week on New Year’s Eve in visitation, I asked her and she said,
“I thought you were going to ask me last week.”
Go figure! She is always one step ahead of me in obedience!!
Kaye: So I said yes, of course! And for a year, we wrote and had visitation and were engaged. Five months after he got out, we were married on my birthday in April. We did it God’s way and then Grace was born a little over 9 months after we got married. Grace was born 7 years to the date of my last arrest. Once Bubba (Joseph) was born, I started going back into the women’s prisons and David into the men’s prisons.
David: When I got out of prison I thought God wanted to have the prison ministry start right after I got out, but the Lord wanted me to wait and I was so glad He did. I got my realtor license and was working in that. We were growing roots and building relationships in the church and that’s what made it possible for us later when the ministry started to have people that knew us and believed in us for support.
Then when the Lord did make the calling clear. He asked me to step out in faith and quit my job, but I had some reservations and wanted to do it on my time. I had this plan to wait on these few real estate deals that I had in my pipeline to close and then after that, I would dive into prison ministry full time. But all of a sudden, every single deal fell through. God has a funny sense of humor and wants your full trust.
We were in such a tough place financially that we had to use our daughter Grace’s piggy bank money to pay for gas to go to San Antonio to visit my friend Jarvis who was getting out of prison. We were on our way there and, being led by the Lord, stopped to pick up a hitchhiker.
Kaye: I was scared to death, but the man just started asking us questions about ministry. He himself had been to seminary, was a traveling evangelist for many years and understood ministry. He was now a financial advisor and he actually knew so many people that we knew. He then started asking us what we were doing in prison ministry.
We told him we were doing prison ministry part time and he asked why we weren’t doing it full time. Little did he know we were struggling with that for months. A couple weeks go by and we check our P.O. Box and there was a large check from that hitchhiker! It turns out, he was saving money to buy another Harley and when he got back into his car that day, God told him he didn’t need another motorcycle and that he needed to give the money to us!
With the money, he wrote a note that said,
“If you’ve been called to preach the gospel, don’t stoop to be a king.”
That was the money that we used to start CHARM Prison Ministries. It’s amazing how and where God moves!
Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily. Hebrews 13:1-3