Chaplain Robert G. Ball
Robert Ball spent a career working in security positions for the Virginia Department of Corrections, retiring as a Captain before his call to ministry, theological education and becoming a prison chaplain. He loves spending time with offenders in the prisons, as well as time spent with his family. He says that his ministry mottos are “No Dream is Too Extreme for God” and “See a Need, Do a Deed, Sow a Seed.” Chaplain Ball fulfills those mottos serving Nottoway Correctional Center.
Looking at Chaplain Robert Ball, now, you would know he has prison work in his blood. Starting off as a Corrections officer, 25 years of service to Virginia’s Department of Corrections later, Chaplain Ball finished his time as a Captain at Virginia Correctional Center for Women. He knows lives are changed in prison. But what you may not know, is that prison changed him, too.
Long before Chaplain Ball became a chaplain, he was a young man who was a victim of a terrible crime. A man robbed Chaplain Ball with a sawed off shot-gun, shooting him in the face and leaving him for dead. For a few hundred dollars, Chaplain Ball’s life was in jeopardy. Someone had tried to kill him. Miraculously surviving, his initial reason for entering corrections was to somehow find the man who had stolen his life.
“I am God’s miracle walking and talking today. I never found him. But, I had to forgive this man who tried to kill me over a few hundred dollars. Now I go back to the prison trying to make a difference in the men’s lives – men who made choices like that man did – to take my life.”
Chaplain Ball has served with GraceInside since 2006. He began with Brunswick and Mecklenburg Correctional Centers – until they closed. He also served Brunswick’s Women. Afteer serving both Lunenburg and Baskerville Correctional Centers, he is now serving Nottoway Correctional Center.
Chaplain Ball finds his hope in Jesus Christ. It is his passion to offer that hope to others. He appreciates the opportunity to serve as a chaplain, “to see the men, knowing they need help. I like coming back to try and make a difference in someone’s life.” His favorite part of this job is talking to the guys, bringing the message of the Gospel to them. Eager to help men who’ve made a wrong decision in life, try and do the right thing, he has seen the Gospel in action. He is the Gospel in action.
Chaplain Ball remembers a particular fellow who came in and served time. “He worked for me as a clerk and worship leader at Mecklenburg for two years. Last year, he was released and is now a pastor of a church in Chesapeake!”
When asked what he does for fun, he laughs that he doesn’t really remember what that is. But, he enjoys spending time with family, his wife, two adult children and two grandchildren. Sunday afternoon meals with the family are a highlight of his week. When not working, reading provides his downtime escape. But I guess we should be careful about using that word around Chaplain Ball!