Quarterly News Letter – July 2015
July 23, 2015
God Moves Through the Storm!
In early July, trouble broke out in the Kingman State Prison in northern Arizona. At the same time, discussions were under way between Prisoners of Hope Ministries and the National Prison Ministry Department at Global University in Springfield to add Nevada and New Mexico to our realm of outreach for the Bible study program.
How could these two events possibly be connected? How could a fish swallowing a disobedient evangelist save a city from destruction? Just as God had plans for Jonah and Ninevah, He also has plans for Kingman and New Mexico!
As a result of the riot in Kingman, several hundred inmates were moved to temporary locations while the physical plant at Kingman was restored to useable condition. One of those temporary locations was in Otero County, New Mexico! And some of those temporarily relocated inmates are students in our Bible study program.
We contacted Otero County Correctional to check on the status of our students, and had an encouraging conversation with the Chaplain of the facility. Who would have ever imagined
that a devastating riot in an Arizona prison would open the door to New Mexico?
Watch out “Nineveh”—here we come!!
We are very excited about this opportunity and this incident has confirmed to all of us that we have made the right decision! We are walking in obedience. God will honor and provide!
Expansion! Prisoners of Hope Ministries in New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona
We are very excited to announce that effective July 1, 2015, we have added the correctional facilities in the states of New Mexico and Nevada to those correctional facilities already served in Arizona.
As we stated in our lead article, we are confident that we are in the will of God in accepting this responsibility, and look forward to seeing great blessings through the Power of Almighty God.
Nevada currently reports an inmate population of 13,091 housed in 18 correctional facilities around the state. New Mexico reports an inmate population of 7,288 in eleven correctional facilities (5 privately run prisons and 6 state-run facilities). This compares with Arizona’s reported figures of 42,611 inmates in 10 state-run facilities and six privately run facilities. This does not take into account the Federal Institutions located in each of these states.
Prison of the Month
Kingman State Prison, AZ
Kingman is a minimum/medium security state prison located in Golden Valley, Arizona. Kingman is managed by a private corporation, Management and Training Corporation (MTC), based in Centerville, Utah.
Due to the riot damage, the inmate population of Kingman has dropped from 3,508 inmates to approximately 236 inmates. 2500 inmates have been temporarily moved to Pinal, Apache, Navajo, and Santa Cruz counties in Arizona, and three other privately run facilities—in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.
Programs offered for inmates at King-man include Adult Basic Education, GED classes, and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment programs. Minimum security level inmates may be eligible for outside work crews, mainly with the City of Kingman (maintenance, cleanup, sanitation, etc).
Thank you for sending me my Bible study. I really messed up out there when I got out, but the Spirit is taking hold of me much stronger this time and I really feel closer to God. I’m actually happy I’m in prison this time so I can spend quality time with God. Its hard to do that on the street. I plan on being a strong spiritual warrior when out this time. I plan on spending a lot of time getting closer to God and spending more time with Him. I figure if I spend all that time doing wrong, I can now learn to spend all my time with the Lord instead of looking for drugs and trouble. I will be conditioned to look for Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I am blessed to be in prison. I thank you all for being there for me and praying for me.
2nd Quarter Activity Report
We seem to get busier each and every day. I ask myself, “Where are all these people coming from?” And then I look at the inmate populations throughout the three states we serve, and I ask a different question, “Where is everyone?” It has been a productive quarter, as well as a busy one. These numbers will speak for themselves—and don’t forget: we count people, because people count!
• Responded to 323 first time requests
• Enrolled 167 new students in the 2-year study program!
• Distributed 1,545 Bible study textbooks
• 38 inmates made a first-time commit-ment to Jesus as Lord and Savior
• We distributed 528 bibles by the case to prison chaplains in Arizona
• 255 personal counseling sessions were conducted with Maricopa Co. Jail inmates.
• Jim conducted 24 worship services at the County Jail
• Our current student enrollment numbers 536 active students in Arizona facilities
• Our office volunteers donated 676 hours this quarter grading tests, preparing grade reports, answering letters and responding to prayer requests, and
• Jail volunteer hours totaled 111 hours
Every time I review these numbers, my heart swells with gratitude—gratitude to our financial supporters, our office workers, the jail volunteers—but most especially to the Great Almighty God—He who called each and every one of us. We praise You, Lord Jesus!
And here is the best part—when we hear from the inmate students, themselves:
• Doing these studys has opened my mind and heart. I have a better understanding of what it means to be a real Christian and what it takes. God has given me peace in my heart and I’m so thankful that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Thank you so much for the Bible studys. You have helped turn my life around. But I truly owe all the glory to God
Inmate, Lewis State Prison
• Walking into this jail January, facing death row, I soon began thinking of ways to best end my life. Knowing my freedom was gone forever, I did not want to live any more. Eight months later I gave my life over to God and have had a sense of freedom that most people don’t even have in the free world. God is my life and Jesus gave me my freedom, heart and soul
Inmate, 4th Avenue Jail, Phoenix
• I have completed the first eighteen of your Bible studies. I have learned many things and I’m growing closer to Jesus.
I must admit that I was going to tell you that I don’t want to do the other studies. I was planning to say that the cost to you is why I don’t want to continue, although the real reason is my fear of finishing and then it becomes, “Now what?” Then in our prayer circle a brother told of a blessing he received. His prayer was for us to have the strength to “run the race” and to “finish the course.” Thankfully, I clearly heard the Lord through him.
So bring it on! Let the Word in the studies reside in me. All glory and honor to Jesus, my Savior.
Inmate, Central AZ Corr Facility
• God bless you! I’m writing to ask you to please pray for me. My fiancé left me, I lost contact with my daughter, I lost all my good time and will not be going home to my family as I expected. I have fallen into the use of drugs; my spirit is vexed; I am disappointed in myself. I feel so alone, only I know that I am not. I am confident that in my stumble, the Lord will up-lift me with His righteous right hand. Please pray for me and for my former fiancé not to stray far from the Lord. I love you all and I miss you terribly (he was one of our counselee’s at the county jail before transfer to state prison). I know how much you care for us, your students, God bless you all.
Inmate, Yuma State Prison
• I wanted to write this letter to say thank you for all the wonderful things you do for convicts like me. I really needed some type of direction in my life and since I was referred to Prisoners of Hope Ministries I can honestly say that I look forward to the future. I was raised in a Christian family, but I started drifting away from the Lord when I started committing crimes. Being introduced back to the Lord has taken a tremendous weight off my shoulders and I have started to live as a Christian once again. I wanted to reach out to you and ask for help. I am currently in 24-hour lockdown and the sense of loneliness can be a little overwhelming.
19-year old inmate, Eyman State Prison
Little Bits and Pieces
From the Editor
• Christopher is incarcerated at 4th Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix. He submitted a prayer request at one of Jim’s weekly services. Here is what he said: “Can I get someone to pray that someone, somewhere will start an offering to help me get an eye exam and some glasses? I can’t read the word; my Bible sits idle!”
We told Christopher we could not help him financially, as that would compromise our positions as religious volunteers at the facility. But, we did tell him we would pray for renewed eyesight (spiritual, as well as physical) that would allow him to read and understand the studies and God’s Word. And so we prayed!
Here is what Christopher had to say on a note that came in with his next bible study exam: “I believe God wanted you to send me the study regardless of my eye sight. I actually was able to read the words with no problem. GOD IS GREAT!” (the emphasis is his!)
• Another piece of exciting news: we are re-establishing our web site. It is currently a work in progress, but please feel free to take a look at what we have so far, and give us suggestions and/or ideas for improving the site. We want it to be informative and encouraging. The web site address: pohministries.org. Thanks to our son, Jay Carper, and daughter, Michele Ruby for their technical expertise!
I love to share the victories and good testimonies with you! I want you to be encouraged, just as we are, when you read them! But, unfortunately, not all the prayer requests and testimonies lift up. Incarceration is a traumatic and fearful experience for the inmate and for his or her family. The truth is that most of our students are suffering and have been through traumatic and heartbreaking experiences—yes, most of them of their own choosing, but that does not lessen the pain. Here is an example of reality right here in Phoenix!
“I get released tomorrow. My prayer request is dat I stay out of any all jails and prisons and stay off herion habbit in which I use in my veins. Da only blood I want now is da blood of Jesus in my veins and last butt not least pray for CPS gives me my babies bak. God pleesssse!”
If that one didn’t get to you, let’s try this one:
Pray for my 2 homies who were shot and kill’d dis year. Pray dat there family maybe @ peice soon. Da homie, Boxer and da homie, Jim. They were killd in da same neiborhood 23rd Ave in Indain Skool rd 3 months ago!”
These were actual hand written prayer requests given to Jim at one of his services this past month. If we dwell on the heartbreak, our heart’s will break as well—but, we know that God is in control. This young man’s “homies” are beyond reach, but this young man, incarcerated in our County Jail, sat in a church service and heard the gospel of Jesus Christ—he heard that Jesus loves him, died for him, has a plan for him.
You made that possible through your financial and prayer support. We are blessed beyond measure! You are a valued and treasured member of our team. Thank you!!
Be blessed throughout these next few weeks, and we look forward to sharing more excitement with you in our September Newsletter.
Jim and Carol Carper
Prisoners of Hope Ministries, Inc