THE BIG HOUSE... OF BLESSING
May 4, 2020
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The Good Road returns to Craig and Earl's hometown of Bangkok and end up in the 2nd largest maximum-security prison in all of Thailand. Luckily, it's by invitation. They receive a rare tour of the grounds as well as the cells before speaking to a Thai prisoner about what daily life is like in a Thai prison. Afterwards, they discover, amongst other things, a unique approach to vocational training and pre-release development at the prison. Access to Klong Prem prison is limited, especially for video crews from the West. But, Craig's dad, Jack Martin, worked in Thai prisons for decades. He started a prison ministry that helped prepare prisoners for life after prison. The program helped Jack establish friendships that would pay off for generations. Craig and Earl connect with Jack's mentee, Acharn Soonthorn, who has furthered the work and expanded the program- even inspiring prison officials to create similar, but secular, programs of their own. After reconnecting, Mr. Soonthorn takes Craig and Earl on a tour of the organization he helped to create around the prison ministry, the House of Blessing. It is a transitional facility that Soonthorn directs that helps recently released prisoners and the families of prisoners as they deal with the many problems and stages of incarceration in Thailand. The facility also supports ex-prisoners as they cope with the difference between life inside and outside of prison. House of Blessing provides education, childcare and continued vocational programs for those prisoners and ex-prisoners who most need it. Viewers will hear the redemptive stories of ex-convicts often ignored or rejected in Thai society because of their criminal past. This episode explores the benefits of a unique partnership between the primarily Buddhist bureaucrats of the Thai government and the Christian ministry started by Craig's father.