Quarterly Newsletter – Spring 2018
From the Editors Desk
It’s Spring!! The clocks have been “sprung” ahead (everywhere but Arizona, that is!); the sun is shining and my front and back doors stand open! Praise the Lord! And the best news of all—it is once again time for our “Appreciation Breakfast” for all of our supporters and volunteer workers! Mark your calendar for April 14th, 8:30 AM, at the Old Country Buffet on the outer rim of Arrowhead Mall. Tack up the enclosed flyer on your refrigerator!!
I searched the internet for stories about prisons that I thought might catch your fancy, but all of the media stories focused on riots, murder and mayhem and I felt myself getting more and more depressed! Is there truly any value in being sentenced to a prison term?
But then, I began to read some of the letters from our current students, and my spirit began to rise. I want to share this “rising spirit” with you. So, read, cry, and praise the Lord.
From the Heart of an Inmate:
All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Prison!
I spent a few years in prison. I know curiosity makes you want to know “why,” but the “why” is not important. Just know I never plan to go back!
However, the time was not wasted! I learned a lot of solid life lessons that will keep me on the right track, if I stick with them.
I learned appearances mean nothing. In our prison, everyone wore the same clothes—our color was orange—and when everyone wears the same clothes, nobody really stands out. I spent my time with the rich and I spent my time with the poor—we learned to get along. Its not our outside that makes the difference—its what’s inside!
I learned that all you need to survive can fit into a small box. All of our possessions were kept in that box; if it wasn’t in the box, you probably didn’t need it! Greed didn’t fit—its amazing what you can learn to live without. My TV and car didn’t fit in the box, but my new bible did.
I learned not to cut in line! Cutting in line causes hostility; the more seasoned inmates learned to wait. Never advance yourself by walking on others.
I learned to “walk the line,” as Johnny Cash would say. Nothing good comes from blurring the line between right and wrong. Staying on the right side will save you from bad conduct charges.
I never hated my life in prison—yes, I hated prison, but I never hated my life in prison because it taught me a lot I needed to know. My life has changed; I will not look back
A released inmate, walking in freedom
News and Updates: (Quarterly Reports)
Sometimes, I feel as if we are just reporting dry statistics, but the Lord reminded me that every single number in this report represents a soul that has been touched by the Holy Spirit! So these are not dry statistics—this is the Book of Acts in Action each and every day!
♦ 504 prison/jail inmates are currently participating in the 36-course bible study program. Nevada and New Mexico are growing, but it is a slow process. We have grown to where we are in Arizona by word-of-mouth; one inmate to another. And that is how we will grow in our new territories, as well.
♦ 148 first-time requests for study information were responded to
♦ 1,025 bible study courses were distributed to our students during this past quarter.
♦ We awarded five (5) leather-bound study bibles this past quarter
♦ 59 individual inmates received personal one-on-one pastoral counseling through Prisoners of Hope Ministries, Inc.
♦ Prisoners of Hope (Pastor Jim) conducted 36 worship services at the Maricopa County Jails during this past quarter.
And the Good News continues to bring forth fruit, as demonstrated by student letters we want to share with you:
♦ I would like to thank all of brothers and sisters; I pray that someday I’ll do good things, not just for myself, but for others too.
I pray that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will forgive me for my sin! Thank you for giving me so much hope where there was none, thank you for introducing me to my Lord. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my life.
Please know that my studies are very important to me especially in getting me to know my Father better. Thank you so much for being there for me.
Inmate, Yuma State Prison
(This man, serving a life sentence for murder, was raised as a Muslim but never “felt complete” until a friend gave him a bible. He received and believed and has been faithful in his witness and in his study)
♦ I just got my new NKJV Study Bible and I love it! I also want to thank you for all of your hard work and dedication that you all have for serving the Lord through this ministry. I see first-hand the great impact you are having on the hearts of inmates, our spiritual journeys and our deepening relationships and friendships with Jesus Christ.
Inmate, Central AZ Correctional
(This man, too, is serving a life sentence, but his “life” has been significantly changed by the Power of God and His Word).
♦ One night after my wife and I was separated and going through a divorce, I was starting to lose my mind. I had lost all self control just sitting on my bunk crying over every thing I was losing. When something happened to me after praying to the Lord for help. Its hard to explain but it started from the top of my head and went down and strait out of me. It’s like when you see a cup of water with a pin hole in the bottom and watching it drain out. I had never felt that before. At the end I had a sense of peace that I never knew!
Inmate, Kingman State Prison
♦ I was born in Ocean Side California. All my family were gang affiliated and drug addicts. I started drugs at the age of 13, my mother introduced me to crystal meth at that age! I started going down hill; CPS took me away. I started getting arrested and eventually was charged as an adult for armed robberies.
And then my mother started to write to
me about God all the time!! If God can change my mom, He can change me, too! I gave my life to Him at the age of 18 and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior!
Can you please pray for my strength in the Lord not to give up and for my wife to accept Him as well? We have both started reading the Purpose Driven Life! J
Inmate, Eyman State Prison
♦ This is my last study in your 36-bible study program. I have been doing these studies for about four years, from the time of my incarceration in County Jail until now. It has been a life-changing experience for me all around. I have come so far in, really, so little time. There is still so much for me to learn and of course continue my studies which I will do. I just want to thank you all at Prisoners of Hope Ministries, Inc. for taking your time with all the prayer requests and very positive feedback I receive. This has truly been one of the best study programs I have taken and appreciate all you have done in helping keep me in the Word of God and to follow His plan for my life. I do hope to continue to hear from you since you all have had such an influence in me being born-again!
Inmate, Kingman State Prison
♦ I received a birthday card from you and it touched my heart that I was thought of and remembered. I always pray to God that He will bring good people into my life who will care about my well-being and not judge me and that prayer gets answered every day. I’ve been doing your bible studies for several years—staring with my previous prison time and getting back to it during this sentence, you didn’t give up on me or reject me! I am grateful for Prisoners of Hope Ministries. God bless each of you!
Inmate, Perryville State Prison
More comments from the Editor:
As I read through these letters, I begin to understand the riots, the murders, and the mayhem that is rising up throughout the prison systems (and on our streets, as well!).
The Holy Spirit is working and God’s Word and Mercy and Grace and Redemption is spreading throughout the prison systems across the country. The enemy must work overtime in an attempt to circumvent the Spirit’s Power! But he will not succeed!
Why? Because God is in control! And because people like you listen to God and obey His call to spread the gospel in any way you can. And we are so very grateful and blessed that one of those ways is through Prisoners of Hope. What a privilege; what a blessing; and what a miracle, that God calls you and I and actually uses us in the spread of His Word. Praise His Name!
Have a blessed Spring and we will talk to you again in the Summer!
Jim and Carol Carper
Prisoners of Hope Ministries
PO Box 428
Youngtown, AZ 85363