Ministry Opportunity Shared

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by mercy, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. mercy

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    Jan 10, 2003
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    Ministry Opportunity Shared

    In July 2002, I began to hear the word, "prison," over and over in my head. My initial response was that I was not equipped with either the physical ability or time to begin a prison visitation ministry. So I waited. While I waited, I continued to hear "prison" over and over. Finally, in September I saw clearly what I was to do: begin a prison correspondence ministry. After making several contacts on the Internet, I now correspond with 14 inmates from all over the country.

    How do I know this is what I am supposed to do? Every letter I receive brings a blessing to me, a testimony of the positive affect my letters have had on a prisoner's life. I realize that it is not my writing that moves these men, but that Holy Spirit is using me as an instrument. I am grateful to be able to serve in this manner.

    I have learned that God uses a wide variety of circumstances to bring people into His loving care. Many of the people who are sentenced to prison are led to discover the loving forgiveness and acceptance of the Lord. These new Christians need our support through prayer and correspondence. There are several organizations that provide names and addresses of prisoners who have requested someone to correspond with.

    The Christian Pen Pal Ministry (CPP) maintains a website and works to find pen pals for prisoners. The following is from their November/December Newsletter:

    PLEASE unite with us in praying God of the harvest will send forth the laborers into the prisons!!! It's not going to happen without the Holy Spirit moving His people to action!!
    Please ask God to send more Christian pen pals! We especially need church groups, pray God will move their hearts to compassion and forgiveness towards the prisoners.

    Pray for CPP Staff and all the volunteer pen pals, God's wisdom and grace to minister to the pen pals incarcerated. Both Mt. Zion and Crossroad Bible Institute need instructors to grade inmates' Bible lessons. CPP Prayer Partners and Helpers are need.

    Every day we receive letters similar to these from inmates hoping for a new and better life. The odds are against that ever happening UNLESS they get grounded in the Word of God with the power of Christ in their lives.

    "My name is Shawn Dunn. I'm 20 years old and in prison in Idaho. I've been a Christian for about 5 years now. I first started learning about Christ in a boys home and I was saved there. Every time I am released from jail, I begin with going to church and wanting to straighten up. I never last long. I have a very bad methainphetamine problem. So I've been in and out since they took me from my mom at age 13.
    Now I'm an adult and they sent me to prison. It's no fun here. I need someone to write to who can help me keep Christ in view because it's hard in here. I haven't found a true Christian yet. I find it easier to trust women, but I will take anyone who I can open my heart to and share my troubles, hopes, and dreams with who will help me gain a solid relationship with Jesus Christ.
    I know a lot about the Bible. I only have extreme trouble internalizing what I know, this is what I want to do. Can you help me? Love, Your brother, Shawn"

    From an inmate in Tennessee:

    I'm new at this, I gave my heart and life to Christ tonight. There's a lot I still don't understand but I know I don't want to go to hell. I have not told anyone this before but I am scared of dying.
    But anyway, I want a better life, I'm tired of all the drinking and drugging and the jail, you know, that goes with all that. I hope you can read this letter, I'm not good at writing letters.
    I hope to hear from someone soon. David"

    I don't know if Shawn and David have received pen pals yet or not. I understand there is a great demand and only a few willing to write to these prisoners.

    I am asking you to ask your congregation to pray for the prison ministries, for those who minister to prisoners. If anyone feels the call to correspond with a prisoner, please contact Elizabeth Michael at [email protected] or myself.

    I am sure you are quite familiar with the following Scriptures. I just wanted to share them with you anyway.

    Matthew 25:31-46 The Sheep and the Goats. Here Jesus quotes himself at the time of judgement as saying, "'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'" verses. 35-36. "'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" verse 40. NIV

    Hebrews 13 in Paul's exhortations in verse 3, he says, "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. NIV

    Acts 16:16-40 Paul and Silas in Prison. If Paul and Silas had not been in prison, the jailer and his household would not have been brought to know Christ: v. 34 "The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole family." NIV

    In His Service,

    Faye J. Sheppard

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