Rodney French is not shy about sharing his story of shortcomings and failures in life.
And, the owner of French’s Printing, located at 408 E Main Street in Tuttle isn’t afraid to share his story of faith which he has been doing with juvenile and adult inmates in Canadian County, Center Point, the Carver Center and at the Oklahoma County Jail where he serves as juvenile chaplain.
French said sharing his story has allowed him to have a pathway to those who have shared similar journeys.
“I was raised in a good home,” French said. “But I went astray on a lot of things. I’m glad my story might be able to help them.”
French was adopted from the Salvation Army Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas when he was two weeks old. He was raised in Florida and Texas. At age 13 his father died.
French served 12 years in the United States Air Force and eight years in the Air Force Reserves.
French later married and had two children. He ran several businesses, but divorce and other business issues left him economically and emotionally bruised.
He said he has been fortunate that he has met people along the way that guided him back to his faith.
“I’ve been hurt a lot, but I have had people in life to help me,” he said. “They saw something in me. I gave my life to Christ in 1986.”
French later opened his print shop in Tuttle which he operates Monday 1 p.m. to 6 p .m. and Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. He is closed on Fridays which is set aside for jail ministry.
Herman Reese first met French back in the 1980s and has served as a spiritual mentor ever since.
He said French is dedicated to helping others learn about God and getting their lives back on the right path.
“I have been involved in his life 30 years or more,” Reese said. “He just lives to be able to help those teenagers and adults get their lives back in order because with his history he knows what it would be like if he had not gotten his life back in order because he had a similar background.”
French started his jail ministry while visiting the Grady County Jail in 1998. He said he felt a calling then to share the word of Christ with inmates.
He started doing chaplain duties at Grady County Jail and at a Union City juvenile facility.
French said the former chaplain at the Oklahoma County Jail heard about him and asked him to come to consider ministering there.
“I am very proud to be in the prison ministry,” French said. “It is a rewarding experience. Everyone loves prayer. I love to serve the Lord any way I can.”
French also knew inmates needed more than prayer. They needed to know someone cared. He sought community support to help pay for meals at holiday time.
He said area businesses, churches and volunteers stepped up to help provide holiday meals at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Fourth of July.
French said his print shop is more than just a business. He has had former inmates, family members and friends of inmates come by his shop to visit and pray.
“This is just not a print shop,” he said. “It is a ministry. They know my love and my passion for God. The business and ministry are supportive of each other.”
French said he has a simple request he asks of each inmate he ministers to.
“Please walk with God and make the right choices and share Christ with others,” he said. “It makes my day when somebody does it.”