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Friends and God help man find a new life

Staff writer

Jeremy and Shannon James of Marion were living in Newton 15 years ago when they became friends with Brett Oslee.

Oslee had no relationship with his father. His grandparents had died, and his mother had died soon after.

The teenager got in trouble with the law and spent time in jail.

The couple reached out and befriended him.

“We were drawn to him,” Shannon said.

After they moved to Marion 11 years ago, Oslee lived with them off and on.

The first Sunday he accompanied them to Marion Christian Church, he told Pastor Carl Helm, “I hate this. I hate church, and I don’t want to be a part of this.”

“OK,” Helm responded.

Two years ago, Jeremy persuaded his friend to attend a Men’s Encounter weekend with him.

“It changed everything in his life,” Helm said. “He probably didn’t miss more than two Sundays after that. People could tell he was serious about this.”

Oslee attended Bible studies and became more involved with the church.

“He became a disciple of Christ,” Shannon said.

Oslee related his life’s experience in church one Sunday morning, and parishioners were eager to help him.

“You can’t help me until I pay everything I owe,” Oslee said.

He was employed by Hett Construction and met regularly with his probation officer but owed more than $6,000 in court fees and fines.

Helm talked to someone about Oslee’s predicament, and the man wrote a check to cover the debt. Oslee then was able to obtain a driver’s license.

One day, Oslee told Helm, “I feel like I want to go into ministry.”

Helm was surprised to hear that, and he started researching ways to help the young man fulfill his goal.

He found out about The Dream Center at Great Bend, which has as its mission “reaching hurting people, restoring families, and realizing dreams.”

Oslee enrolled in a nine-month residential program designed to help men overcome life-controlling issues and learn life skills.

The center is a partner with Kansas Department for Children and Families.

Oslee graduated from the program a month ago and decided to remain in Great Bend. He works at CSI.

“He did the one thing I hoped he would do,” Helm said. “He’s not coming back. He had a church family but now he has a new support group of peers to hang out with, some of whom have gone through similar things.”

Helm said the 32-year-old Oslee stays in touch with him and occasionally comes back to Marion to share with the congregation how things are going in his life. He plans to pursue the ministry via online courses.

Last modified March 8, 2018

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