Inmate Letters_Fall 2016

I just received your letter today and I am so thankful for your presence in my life.  Your birthday card and well-wishes made my heart full of joy.  Thank you so much for what your ministry does for prisoners.  I especially enjoyed reading The New Creation and the word search you included.  May God bless your hearts and those of your ministry’s volunteers.

Luis R., High Desert SP, California

I pray that this letter reaches you all in health and good spirits.  And that our Lord is with you always!  The reason I am writing this letter is to give you thanks.  I thank you because every year for the last eight years I have gotten a birthday card from you – and every year it brings a smile to my face!  It lets me know that someone out there remembers me.  If no one else ever sends me a card, I know without a doubt that I’ll get one from you.  So once again I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a beacon of light the week of my birthday each year.

Quintant E., SCI Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I would like to thank your basketball team for taking time out of their lives to come to North Central Camp and spend time with us.  The game was a blast, even though you guys stomped us, but the halftime was a special one.  The story that “Q” shared with us really spoke to me because it was real talk, straight from his heart.  Then when Kyle took the mic, I felt like I was the only one in the gym and he was speaking directly to me!  I wasn’t even going to play in this game but something kept pushing me to go to the gym and get in the game.  Now I know it was our God that wanted me to go and shake hands with some mighty fine men!  Keep up the good work and God bless you all.

Justin M., North Central CI, Ohio

I got it in my heart to write to you and just say thank you for your visit.  I really had a wonderful time playing softball but I had an even better time just talking and hearing your stories.  All of the guys that came that day will forever have an impact in my life.  I can’t thank you enough for all the love and compassion that emitted from each of you.  I can’t express how much of a class act you were.  I hope and pray God continues to use each and every one of you and I know I will see you in heaven one day!

Joe S., MacDougall CI, South Carolina

I so appreciated the New Creation letter you sent me, especially the article called, “O God, please don’t let Jesus come today”.  I cannot even come close to expressing my gratitude.  You folks are definitely doing God’s will with the dedication that you are putting towards reaching out to prisons.  Whether you know it or not, you have inspired the brothers here at Chillicothe to reconsider their walk of faith, or even if they have one.  It was especially wonderful to see black men doing something so positive (Ed. note: he is referencing the SPM basketball team that visited last March).  Where I’m from all we get credit for is stabbings, stealing, and running out on our babies – so please keep inspiring people and speaking the Word with your testimonies and talents!

Yohnus C., Chillicothe CI, Ohio

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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