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home : religion : inspirational reflections May 25, 2017

4/19/2017 3:26:00 PM
Former Inmate Blesses Exodus Homes & Exodus Church
(L-R) Charles and Beatrice Lynch, Carl McGill, Ruth Shuford, Tomson Truong, Audrey Longcrier, Rev. Reggie Longcrier, and Harold Shuford are seen in the kitchen of Exodus Church, preparing to eat together celebrating Truong's release from prison.
(L-R) Charles and Beatrice Lynch, Carl McGill, Ruth Shuford, Tomson Truong, Audrey Longcrier, Rev. Reggie Longcrier, and Harold Shuford are seen in the kitchen of Exodus Church, preparing to eat together celebrating Truong's release from prison.

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Asst. Exec. Director, Exodus Homes


Tomson Truong is a Chinese man who was incarcerated for the past six years in N.C. for a drug related conviction. The last two and a half years he served time at Catawba Correctional Center in Newton where he met the Rev. Reggie Longcrier who is the Chaplain of the prison. Longcrier is also the executive director of United Way agency Exodus Homes, and pastor of Exodus Missionary Outreach Church.

Truong is a very skilled chess player, and spent many hours playing the game with Longcrier who uses it as a means to mentor and teach inmates about life. "I have played chess with many inmates over the years and Troung is absolutely one of the best," said Longcrier. Truong began working at Hickory Springs on work release over two years ago, and volunteered as a musician in the prison for church services. He was released from prison on April 16, 2017 but instead of leaving immediately for home in Oakland, CA he wanted to stay in Hickory a few more days to thank the people who had helped him along the way.



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Truong was grateful for the Exodus Homes and Exodus Church volunteers who came into the prison to work with him, and Community Visit passes that had enabled him to come out to Exodus Church regularly on Sunday. Approved volunteers from Exodus Homes and Exodus Church are able to bring out 10 - 15 inmates every Sunday, and larger numbers for special events like lectures at Lenoir Rhyne University, social justice films, and community outreach events. Truong especially appreciated how Exodus Homes and Exodus Church volunteers made a generous breakfast and lunch for the inmates every Sunday at the church. "It is a lot of work to cook large meals for us so we can eat well before and after church. I asked God for an opportunity to do something to show them all how much I appreciate what they have done for us" said Truong.

Truong loves to cook, and he decided that the gift of a meal would be the best way he could give thanks. On Monday Truong cooked a large meal for 60 people at Hickory Springs to let them know how much he had enjoyed working with them. On Tuesday he worked hard for several hours at Exodus Church preparing a delicious meal of shrimp, steak, and pork stir fry with steamed rice and potatoes. The meal was shared with Rev. Longcrier and volunteers from Exodus Homes and Exodus Church who had worked in the kitchen to prepare the Sunday meals or helped bring him out on Sundays.

Truong will leave for Oakland on Wednesday. He is excited about being reunited with his family and find a new church home. "I will not forget what I learned here and will always remember the Exodus ministry for how you changed my life." he said.



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