Early prison ministry


Mission Gate Ministry was founded on April 1, 1985, by Rick and Trish Mathes, partnering with Senator Jim Talent and his wife, Brenda. As Rick says, “On that day, the impossible became possible. Significantly fewer of our graduates return to crime or addiction when compared to individuals who do not receive our help.”


In the early years of Mission Gate, the Mathes’s worked inside prisons. They saw that when prisoners were released, most went back to their old neighborhoods and old ways. There were very few programs to equip ex-inmates for healthy independent living. 

Residential aftercare


Later in the 1980s, Rick and Trish invited newly released inmates to live in their home and become prepared to live on their own. In 1986, the ministry moved to a donated guest home in North St. Louis and began to grow rapidly.  

From 1999 through the mid-2000s, Mission Gate added facilities outside the city:

  1. Fort Good Shepherd, purchased in 1999, has 3 comfortable bunkhouses and 30 cabins located on 125 acres in rural Missouri. 
  2. Hannah's Ranch, a 32-acre rural facility in Crawford County, Missouri, for women and children. The original building has been enlarged and remodeled to add more beautifully furnished rooms. 
  3. Angels Landing, built on Hannah’s Ranch property extended our accommodations for women and children.
  4. Promises of Hope Ranch in Lincoln County, Missouri, (acquired in 2017 and expanded in 2019) added to our growing facilities for women and their children.

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Women's facilities

Men's facilities

Mission Gate today


Just as the Mathes’s began their work with in-prison ministry, that ministry continues today. 

Approximately 75 staff members and volunteers go into prisons and jails to give re-entry seminars, teach classes, offer one-on-one counseling, host Bible studies and worship services, and participate in resource fairs.

Today approximately 150 men and 90 women with many children have a place to call home while they learn to live healthy lives. 

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