Prison work in the States flourishes through prayer and simple Bible study.
About a year ago, on October 31—the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the church door—the Lutherans officially reconciled with the Catholic Church. This set an unfortunate precedent, for now many evangelical churches seem to be preparing to make their own amends with the papacy. Is global Protestantism coming to an end?
In other world developments, Russia last year denied Jehovah’s Witnesses the right to congregate and to distribute literature. Since then, a number of members have been detained on criminal charges. Seventh-day Adventists could be next because like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are considered fundamentalists. Also in the “fundamentalist” category are most terrorists!
If God’s faithful people are to be targeted as possible terrorists, then persecution could be closer than we think. “Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order.” The Great Controversy, 592.
Seeing these events makes me realize that time is running out for us to get Bibles to prison inmates. I am thankful that we still have opportunities to share the gospel within penitentiary walls! Through our years in prison ministry, we have had the privilege of baptizing 21 inmates in the local facilities we visit. Some of these babes in Christ have life sentences. We have admonished them to be faithful witnesses even in jail, and we know that they have, because through their influence we see new faces at our services every week. All who attend receive a free Bible and Bible studies.
From around the country, in prisons we are not able to personally visit, inmates write requesting Bibles. Many also sign up for Bible studies and other materials. God declares that His Word will not return unto Him void. We draw great encouragement from this statement: “Why was it that Christ went out by the seaside and into the mountains? He was to give the word of life to the people. They did not see it just that minute. A good many do not see it now, but these things are influencing their lives; and when the message goes with a loud voice, they will be ready for it. They will not hesitate long; they will come out and take their positions.” Evangelism, 300, 301.
Our method for reaching souls behind bars is simple; it has to be. Sometimes the regulations imposed by the Department of Corrections can be difficult to work with. Bibles must be mailed directly from a publisher or bookstore; that’s why we work with a publisher to send out Bibles. Many prisons require inmates to fill out a form requesting the item by name. The inmates sometimes wait two or three weeks for the department’s approval before they can mail us the request with the approval document. We are allowed to send only the items that are approved, and we cannot correspond with prisoners on a personal basis because we are considered a supplier.
Although limited in our ability to reach out to these prisoners on a personal level, we pray for them, and we trust that God’s Word and His Spirit will do the rest. Perhaps in time these Bible recipients will request more study materials or sign up for a Bible study correspondence course. In our prison work, we have discovered a simple equation: Bible + prayer = harvest! Someday we will see the whole scope of the harvest, but until then we will keep sending Bibles and praying.
Maybe sooner than we want to believe, some of us will be imprisoned for our faith. I am confident that within the harsh prison environment, we will find believers ready to help and comfort us because God’s Word was sent to them beforehand by Bibles 4 Prisoners. To God be the glory!
May God give you strength for the day and hope for the future.
Author: John Carmouche is a prison missionary with Bibles 4 Prisoners, providing quality Bibles free of charge to prisoners who ask. Bibles4prisoners@outlook.com
How You Can Help
Pray that the requests from prisoners for Bibles will never exceed available funding, and that as the inmates read the Bible, Jesus will reveal Himself to them.
Donate. If the Holy Spirit impresses you, Bibles 4 Prisoners thankfully accepts your tax-deductible contributions. Donations, questions, or comments may be made by phone or by regular mail.
PO Box 972
Locust Grove, VA 22508
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