Many of us have gone through hard times. One Midland pastor did for many years, but before he started preaching at the Mt. Moriah Disciples of Christ church for ten years, how he got there was from a place you'd never expect.
Pastor Dennis Hodge attended the Mt. Moriah Disciples of Christ church as a child. It’s where he spends a lot of time in prayer today. But before this, Pastor Hodge was down a different path, where he spent his days behind prison walls.
From parole violations to drugs, he was in and out of prison five times. The last time, was one that would change his life forever.
“I heard the Lord speak to me and ask how long was I going to keep hurting my mother, how long was I going to keep hurting my children, how long was I going to keep hurting Him and how long was I going to keep running, I realized I couldn’t run anymore,” said Hodge. “I gave my life to Christ on the concrete floor of the Midland County Jail and I went onto prison.”
Behind bars, it’s where he’d write letters to his mother, who passed away while he was still locked up. The last letter he’d receive from her, would remind him it’d be the last time he’d spend his life in a cell.
"She said, ‘You always tell me you’re going to change and do this and do that, but you never do. But this time, I believe you,’" said Hodge.
And where he’d find himself, is who he’d always turn to because where he looked, was always higher.
“Sometimes I have those flashbacks [of this church as a kid] and I can’t help but bawl, I remember we heard the young ladies sing in the choir and I remember those days. One of those songs they sang was Take Me Back,” said Hodge. “Often times, I just hear that song and my spirit with the Lord took me back to this place.”
From his place of worship where he spent every Sunday as a child, to where he’d preach for almost 10 years. From a time of writing letters behind prison walls, those words would later turn to years of Pastor Hodge spreading the word.
"God took my message and made it a message,” said Hodge. “I'm not proud of it but I'm proud of what God has made me become."