Evangelism

evangelism_imgThe Saints Prison Ministry uses athletics as a means to gain the attention and respect of inmates in order to share the Gospel. Our teams go into prisons to compete against inmate varsity and All-Star teams. During half-time at each game or between games of a softball doubleheader, one of our players shares his or her testimony and another player presents the Gospel message.

Inmates that are present are given response cards to fill out with the options of:

  • Today I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior
  • I am not ready to make a commitment, but would like more
    information about becoming a Christian
  • I am already saved but wish to recommit my life to Christ.

A space is also provided for prayer requests. These cards are collected by our team and follow-up postcards with the option of enrolling in The Saints Bible Correspondence Course are mailed to every inmate that completes a response card. In addition, each inmate’s name is entered into our data base so we can correspond with him or her. Each year we send hand-signed birthday cards along with a newsletter designed especially for prisoners to each of the 26,000 inmates in our database.

Testimonials:

“Thank you for scheduling a stop at White Post Diversion Center on your recent trip to correctional facilities in Virginia and West Virginia. The staff and the offenders had a great time playing softball and hearing from your volunteers. The men were appreciative of your visit and of the willingness of your volunteers to take time from their lives to visit people they had never met. A number of employees said that it was the most positive experience that they had experienced in their careers. Thanks to you and everyone in The Saints organization for making this program available. Please share our appreciation with your volunteers. They are true ‘game-changers.'”~ Peter VanAcker, Superintendent, White Post Diversion Center, White Post, VA
“The inmate population is still buzzing about the All-Star basketball and softball games. We have had volunteer groups come in to our facility before to play softball games, but never have we had the opportunity to host a basketball team, especially of your group’s caliber. It was a rare chance for our population to show their athletic talents to an outside group as well as see fresh faces with exceptional skill on the basketball court. The basketball exhibition was a huge success for our facility along with the softball exhibition. Your group was an inspiration and excellent representative of your organization’s goals and mission. Thank you again for the opportunity to meet and play against your group.”~ Jeff Monk, Recreation Director Chippewa CF, Kincheloe, MI
“On behalf on all involved, I would also like to take this moment to thank all …for such a great spiritual experience. The feedback was the same and the atmosphere was definitely an expression of the love for Christ Jesus. It may have been promoted as an event, but it was really the fellowshipping of Saintscoming together to worship. It was the unification of all involved expressing their spiritual and athletic abilities that resulted in the spreading of love, compassion and the Gospel. However, it would be only fitting that this expression of gratitude be shared with all respective personnel, therefore I am sending a copy of this to all who had something to do with the success of this event. Again, let us all take a bow, but remember who gets the GLORY.” ~ Cornelius Barker Hudson County Correctional Facility
Announcements

God’s Got This!

As the impact of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 continues to unfold before our eyes, I keep hearing the same voice in the back of my head.  A former teammate of mine, and a friend to many in the Saints family, offers the same deeply held belief every time the ministry (or he personally) must face a difficult situation… “God’s got this!”

As a child of the King, that is our reality; and those words bring comfort and peace in a plethora of situations.  Yes, this virus is nasty. Yes, we must exercise caution and be part of the solution, not the problem.  Yes, the situation is unprecedented for most of us.  But none of this changes the fact that “God’s got this”.

As I have reminded you of this before, my chief concern as the Director is guiding this ministry as God is leading it; never to force my agenda or ideas, but diligently trying not to lag behind His plans either”.  I am more committed to that than ever, and through this “crisis” I have felt God’s Spirit guiding our staff and Board at every turn.

Recently, the prisons have begun closing their doors to visitors and volunteers.  As news came out that state after state was taking this necessary step, our staff took the initiative to contact the prisons where we had softball games already scheduled.  As a result of taking this action, we were able to shift the opening of our softball season back from April 25th to June 4th.  Will the doors be open by June 4th?  I have no idea.  But clearly the Spirit was leading this decision, as evidenced by this email received from a Recreation Supervisor in IL:

Thank you for reaching out to us to reschedule.  You are the only one that has so far, and I think most are just waiting to see what happens.  Look forward to seeing you guys again sometime this summer”

Or this phone message from a Chaplain in Delaware:

“Thank you for taking the time to call me.  I just assumed we would lose the games because I didn’t think rescheduling would be an option with how busy you guys always are.”

Given the uncertainty of the next few weeks and months, it is important that you know we continue to serve those behind bars as much as we are able.  The other aspects of our ministry (birthday cards, follow up discipleship, fall scheduling, etc.) go on as always.  We have taken necessary steps to be ready for mandatory work-from-home announcements and our Board has reviewed our budget for potential modifications should the current financial uncertainty become a prolonged situation.

As partners with us in reaching men and women behind bars, you may rest assured the Saints Prison Ministry maintains committed to our mission and we value our partnership as much as ever.   For understandable reasons we will have no personal interaction with any of you soon, but there are two things you can do to continue working with us. First, include the inmates we serve in your prayers.  In grim times we all suffer from tunnel vision a little bit, so I’m going to suggest a way to be intentional about this.  Think back over the stories you’ve heard or articles you’ve read and come up with one item: a crusade, a prison name, a Missionary-Athlete’s name, a program like Birthday Cards or the Glove Exchange, maybe even an inmate’s name.  Make that single item the focus of your prayers for the ministry over the next few weeks.  Thank God for His providence and pray for His direction.

Second, if you are able, please make your regular gifts online instead of mailing in a check.  Obviously, we want to make supporting this work as easy as possible; if you are not comfortable online feel free to continue to use the US mail.  But in the interest of caution, the less mail our staff handles at this time the better.  Who knows – you may find you like it!

“God’s got this” – and He has all along.  It is the greatest comfort I can offer you and at the same time the only comfort any of us should need.

Serving Him gladly,

 

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Northeast Golf Classic
June 15, 2020 at Merchantville Country Club

Details coming soon!