"An Inside Perspective"

August 2004


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I want to share with you this month, by way of up-date, about the various things that God is doing through us as a ministry. What we have done, what we are doing and our vision for the future. As is such with any ministry, we are personally growing much, as we learn how to serve the Body of Christ behind prison walls.

In regard to the “Holy Way” transitional house, we are still adamantly pursuing it. Glenn and Barbara Nelson have decided to go full-time into prison ministry. They are raising their support slowly but surely. In the meantime, they are teaching Bible studies in the County jails and generally helping Sister Debbie with all of her many varied outreaches to prisoners and their families. They have been volunteers in this Ministry for over eleven years. Barbara herself visited me with Mother Jane, over 11 years ago, when I was a new Christian in the county jail! It is Glenn and Barbara’s heart to be “House parents,” as it were, in this “Holy Way” house. They are seeking regular, full-time monthly support, that they may then pour themselves into this work completely. Please prayerfully consider them.

We were out-bid financially for the house in Howell that we were looking at. Although, as God’s sovereignty would have it, the house ended up having structural problems and a certificate of occupancy was not given. The Lord is indeed in control!

I will share the problem that we are struggling with. We do not want to take out a mortgage. We only have a certain amount of money saved from donations, so far, toward this project. On a side-bar, let not your heart be troubled, everyone that has given to date in this area will be honored. We have a special account to be used only for this project. Also, we endeavor to walk by faith but at the same time, we must be practical and use the wisdom God has given us. How then do we make a legitimate financial offer to someone when we do not have all the funds in hand? On the other side, it is very difficult for us to raise the funding while it is still just “a vision” and not yet operational. If it were functional, of course, funding would be easier to raise. We could then do tours, show pictures and share testimonies of the lives that have been changed, even as we now do, through the “Inside Look.”

So you see our dilemma. We have faithful people to run the house and tons of hurting women that desperately need it. In the mean time, unfortunately, many of these women end up back on the streets. What choice do they have, after having lost everything? If the church will not rise up here and meet the need, who will? The State has the means, but they do not have the Lord. He is the only long term answer for these women.

We see all the pieces but we need the Lord to put them all in place for his glory! We have ears to hear, any advice? We are praying that the Lord clearly guide us and raise up a donated property, house or the rest of the needed finances.

We continue to work with our many faithful volunteers who come here to Trenton State Prison to bring encouragement visits to the men. The various volunteer churches are on regular monthly or quarterly schedules which seems to be working fine for all involved. Jim Scott, one our most faithful volunteers, comes every Saturday and rotates through a list of about fifteen men. He has been an invaluable tool in the hand of the Lord for the encouragement of the brothers. We thank the Lord for his heart and for the hearts of all the volunteers.

I want to announce, that after many years of effort, we have finally been approved to do a similar Visit Ministry in Clinton, the women’s prison. With the help of my Pastor here, the Reverend Samuel K. Atchison, who spoke on our behalf, the warden at Clinton, Ms. Blackwell has given her approval. The majority of our volunteers have always been women. In light of that, our heart has been toward the women’s prison. God has now, by grace, opened the door and we are looking for volunteers to visit the Christian women there in Clinton. As the Lord moves your heart, please contact Sister Debbie, she is aggressively establishing this new arm of the Ministry.

As for Sister Debbie, who is the silent heartbeat of this Ministry, she forges ahead. Always, “pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.” She is very faithful and pours out her life daily in service to us. Great is her reward!

On a personal note, I have been not only been involved with this ministry since it’s inception but also, as a prisoner, I am a glad recipient of it’s graces. My life in Christ has been radically effected through all the relationships that God has built over the years. This Ministry, through Sister Debbie’s, persistence, has poured love on me that I thought not possible. If you could have only seen my mother’s and my face, after thirteen long years, the day that Sister Debbie “popped up” on a surprise visit with her! Wow! I will never forget that day! Please pray hard for this Ministry! To God be the glory!