It began about a year ago. Out of the blue we received requests from Native inmates located in prisons in different parts of the country. The letters were sometimes scribbled on half-sheets of notepaper and contained questions, asking for resources to help them in their spiritual walk.
Some asked if we could help supply traditional objects of worship, others spoke of how the inmates had come to know Creator through Jesus while incarcerated. We have no idea how inmates got our contact information, especially since requests came from so many different prisons.
We wrote back, to provide printed study materials that could be helpful in their process of becoming apprentices of Jesus, following him behind prison walls. In some instances regular correspondence began to form. We heard heartbreaking stories of abandonment, neglect, abuse in younger years, often leading to lives of addiction, criminal acts, and prostitution.
Many years ago, when I received my own call, the words of the prophet Isaiah speaking about the Messiah, Creator’s Son, strongly impacted me:
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim release for captives, and liberation for prisoners… (Isaiah 61)
We began hearing stories of hope, how the desperation, loneliness, and heartache had literally driven inmates to Jesus. They found acceptance, forgiveness, comfort, and strength in their difficult situations. They also shared their concern for other family members, in one instance, a lady told us of her husband who was incarcerated in another maximum security prison and wanted us to get in touch with him. We have been able to provide Bibles, Books, and other relevant materials, particularly from a Native perspective and have heard back that they are helpful and that there is a desire for more. Because of security restrictions, these materials often need to be shipped directly from the publishers, which is more costly. If you would like to financially support this outreach, you can donate securely here.
A gift of $25 covers a paperback discipleship Study Bible, or Richard Twiss’ book: “Many Tribes–One Church, Following Jesus the way God made you”