Rick Cartagena has devoted his life to helping inmates and addicts come to know Jesus. He serves as the director of evangelism for Christian Life Prison and Recovery Ministries in Philadelphia. He and his wife, Brenda, are part of an extension of CE National’s Urban Hope Training Center in Philadelphia, Pa. Recently, CE National presented Rick with the Reaching the Overlooked award.
In presenting the award, Ed Lewis, executive director of CE National, said:
“Rick, you have a phenomenal testimony of a changed life. We have heard you share your story and have shown your testimony and yet you have not remained living in the past. You have honored God, continued to get training, and you are using your story to help other people. Here are just a few of the many ways you and Brenda serve:
- You have been a part of the City of Angels Recovery Radio.
- You have operated the Conquering Grounds Café for those who are recovering from addictions.
- You have been involved, until recently, in visiting and speaking in various prisons in Pennsylvania.
- You have been part of the Conquering Addiction meetings.
- You and Brenda volunteer each Thursday here at Urban Hope. You give away Bibles, set-up, sing, and lead the Thursday evening programs.
- You help to organize the annual music fest that brings thousands of people together to hear the gospel and overcome addictions.
- You send out daily encouragement texts to people.
- You have a heart to stop substance abuse in the community by offering support for those suffering from addictions. You also offer resources to those who are hurting. How many times have we called you at unearthly hours of the night to ask how we can help someone who is in crisis?
- You have a heart for those who were recently incarcerated. You love on people who are struggling and encourage them to get into a place that will help them come to Jesus and to change their ways.
Rick and Brenda, we love you both. Rick, as you know, you take the lead for this, but Brenda, you are a vital part of this ministry as well. You even serve the deaf community as a behavioral support specialist in the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. You also accompany Rick and his team all the time.
Because of this, we want to honor you both with the Reaching the Overlooked award from CE National, a Church Effectiveness ministry.”