BRIAN & CHERYL
"CHAPLAIN & MRS. CHAP"
To say that I am excited to see what the Lord is doing through the ministry of Ryan's Hope would be an understatement. My own life prior to knowing Jesus, coupled with the ministry God called me to almost two decades ago after I met Him, has led me wholeheartedly to embrace this ministry.
From a very early age, drugs and alcohol controlled my life. From shooting drugs as a teenager to a period of drug induced crime with my cousin Steve Hill, followed by years of alcoholism, I know first hand what it means to be trapped in a life of addiction. If it wasn't for the life saving message of my old former drug buddy Steve and the power of Jesus Christ, I would be long gone. The words still ring in my ears, "Jesus Christ loves me and has a plan for my life!" And what a plan it has been and continues to be!
I was called to ministry in 1997 and l've been blessed to watch the Lord pull multitudes from the fire as I was privileged to serve as a State Prison Chaplain for 12 years with the Alabama Dept. of Corrections. Following those years I served with Teen Challenge in many roles including the Re-Entry Coordinator and Campus Pastor. Through all these experiences, one thing is for sure, whether you are an inmate returning to the streets or a student who just graduated Teen Challenge (or another faith based program), the re-entry phase is where the rubber meets the road.
For years I would be burdened with this phase, watching men and woman succeeding, only to fall, shortly after leaving a program. After losing my nephew Ryan and almost losing my son to addiction, it was overwhelming. When my wife, Cheryl and I heard of Kelsey's vision for Ryan's Hope, we knew this was it. Cheryl (who remains the greatest part of God's plan for my life) and I look forward to putting feet to Kelsey's vision where I will serve as the Executive Director for Ryan's Hope. Through this ministry, former addicts and inmates will be able to find one on one discipleship, mentorship, housing, jobs, a home church, guidance and more as they learn to walk into their new life with Jesus.
As Cheryl and I have turned full circle in ministry, we love working along side Kelsey, Jeri and family, as we not only give greater purpose to Ryan's life but offer the hope of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world!
Cheryl Eskelinen is the wife of our Director Brian Eskelinen. Cheryl's life has demonstrated that one can live for Jesus all the days of their life without caving into the world's attractions. Saved at the age of eight years old, Cheryl has used her beautiful voice through the years to praise and give glory to her Jesus! And has since led thousands into the presence of the Lord over the years. On May 14, 2000, she married the love of her life and then used her gifts to minister and stand with her husband [Brian] as they would minister to the incarcerated and addicted. Affectionately called Mrs. Chap by Inmates and students alike, Cheryl looks forward to all God is going to do through the ministry of Ryan's Hope.