Quarterly Newsletter – Summer 2019
From the Editors Desk
Summertime, and the livin is easy; summertime and the cotton is high!! And so are the temperatures! I don’t know if it is an age factor or not, but it seems to me that 110 degrees feels much hotter this year than it ever has before! Does anyone agree with me?
Despite the heat, I love living in Arizona—it was here that God put the finishing touches on His plan for our service in His Kingdom. And that plan has included so many of you—you, who have the same heart desire to see men and women imprisoned set free. We are a great team! Our Board members, our volunteers, our supporters and faithful prayerers—thank you, each and every one. We serve an awesome God!
Our lead story in this issue may not be as uplifting as some in the past, but the letters and comments from our students may balance the scales a bit.
From the Heart of an Inmate:
(A local chicken and egg production farm contracts with the prison system to provide jobs for inmates. Here is a story from one of those inmate workers)
Now that I am working at _____, I won’t need the postage-paid envelopes anymore. Thank you for providing them when I couldn’t afford them.
I’ve seen some of the female inmates at a distance at the farm. Sometimes they will be “repopulating” barns with new hens and at
other times they will be “depopulating.” (Ed. Note—we can guess what “depopulation” at a chicken farm may entail!”) The men on the crew do the same, except they clean the barn after the “de-pop.” I will spare you some of the unpleasant details.
I was internally in conflict with the cruelty I witnessed and wondered why God had placed me here. I was currently doing your study on the gifts of the Spirit and how to put them to use for God’s glory. I was praying, and God told me to be patient. God will put me in situations where I am fully capable to use the gifts He has given me.
Soon after this, I was on a “de-pop” team and was paired with a fellow inmate. We were alone on the long walk between the birdcages and he would ask questions about the bible. I took this as an opportunity to increase those gifts from the Holy Spirit and I was able to show him the great amount of love that God has for all men.
I went over John 3:16 with him and showed him we will be given power to become sons of God. I showed him Rom 10:9 and he and I repeated the prayer of salvation.. The very next day was my birthday and I was promoted to a different job. My lesson? Keep my eyes on Jesus and don’t let the world make me waiver. God has a plan
Inmate, Lewis Prison.
Prison Story of the Month
ICE – ICE – ICE
With today’s temps reaching the potential of 113 degrees, a little ICE sounds good, right? Well, that depends a lot on the type of ICE you are referring to! I don’t think the ICE we are going to talk about would melt in a glass of iced tea!
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a “hot” topic (pun intended) in Arizona at this time, and since ICE is strongly partnered with multiple correctional facilities throughout the state, we thought you might be interested in some of the statistics.
To put the immigration issues in perspective, here are some numbers that may startle you. Ice reported that as of the week of March 22, 49,447 adults were in 630 immigration detention facilities scattered around the country. Many of these facilities are privately run, including three here in Arizona—Eloy Detention Center, Florence Correctional Center, and Central AZ Correctional Center—all located in the small metro area of Eloy .
Since December of 2018, when ICE began tracking releases, there have been 23,700 adults, plus their children, released to community groups (churches, shelters, group homes) in Arizona to help with the over-crowding in the detention facilities—the majority in Phoenix and Tucson. Across the full southwest border, that number jumps to 133,500.
We have been blessed to be able to provide bible study material and bibles to several of these detainees. In tracking down one of our students who was transferred to a facility in California, we discovered Adelanto
Correctional Center—a privately run ICE facility in Adelanto, CA. In talking with the Chaplain there, we learned that, as part of his job responsibilities, he is providing pastoral services to illegal immigrants from multiple countries including Mexico, Central America, Africa, Brazil and the Ukraine. (and those are only the ones we discussed!). He told us the difficulties he was having locating bibles for some of the more obscure countries, such as Eritrea, a small country on the northern border of Ethiopia.
The Chaplain told us that he has a group of illegals from Eritrea asking for bibles in their native tongue of Tigrinya, but he has been unable to get them because of their cost—as much as $35 per bible.
Don’t ever tell the Holy Spirit you “can’t!” He will find a way. We began with the Gideons, Christianbooks.com, and then the International Bible Society, who referred us to a ministry called Multi-Language Media. We talked with Multi-Language and learned that we could actually get these volumes for less than 20.00 each. At the same time, we received a generous anonymous donation through our church, and Prisoners of Hope Ministries was able to provide two cases of these bibles in the Tigrinya language for this Chaplain and his Eritrea detainees at the Adelanto ICE Facility
News and Updates:
- A total of 834 bible study textbooks were distributed this past quarter.
- Resulting in 13 students making a first-time commitment to Christ as their Lord and Savior
- Eight students graduated from the two-year program this quarter and were awarded leather-bound study bibles of their choice
- P.O.H volunteers conducted 34 church services at the Maricopa County Jails this past quarter, and
- 60 inmates received individual personal religious counseling at the County Jails in Phoenix
- We registered student #7200 in June! Seven thousand two hundred inmates reached with the love of Jesus. Wow! What a blessing!!
- Something pretty cool happened! When my celly first moved in with me he was a hard core pagan. Over the next few months I would talk to him more and more until one day God used me to bring my celly to Christ. Now he has a thirst to learn. Can you start sending him studies and a bible to help him along?
Inmate, Eyman State Prison
- I was supposed to be released, but they took me back to court on some old charges and I got four more years. I told the judge that I was in a dark place back then, but I gave my life to Jesus and I’m a new man now! And I’ll go back to prison with my head held high because God is with me wherever I’m at! The court room all looked at me; they didn’t know what to say. The judge said he wished everybody in the court room would take to heart what I just said
Thank you for your bible studies. I learn so much from them!
Inmate, Lewis State Prison
- I am sending you my long overdue test for my bible study. I am looking forward to getting my certificate. God has been good to me. Within my first week here in prison I began playing guitar for the praise and worship band and I am surrounded by brothers who truly love the Lord. Many of them have testimonies of the impact you guys have had in their lives. I hope you know you are a blessing.
Inmate, Yuma State Prison
- I have mentioned this before but in the Federal system, these courses are the only source of rehabilitation we can sometimes find. I know I am a new creature being molded in the image of Jesus. This ministry has been a blessing in edifying me in the Lord.
Inmate, FCI – New Mexico
- Back in 2015 I hit rock bottom and I headed to prison for the fourth time. Right about then I decided I was done doing things my way and decided to turn my life over to Christ. Ever since then, God has put such a fire in my heart to know Him. I have grown
so much spiritually and I appreciate what you and your ministry does for people like me going through this special time in our life. I say “special” because I needed to hit rock bottom to realize I needed a Savior. Thank you for your commitment!
Inmate, Lewis State Prison
- Thank U for your words of encouragement. I appreciate them greatly and I was very surprised about your comments on “putting aside my guilt and feelings of failure,” cause that is what I have struggled with the most and it causes my depression to flare up when I feel that way. It felt like God was talking to me through u so I am grateful for that.
Inmate, Kingman State Prison
- I received my graduation certificate and bible. Thank you so very much. I love this bible and I am very proud of it. I’m going to use this as my family bible to be passed along from generation to generation, and hopefully the story of how I earned it.
I want to thank Global University and Prisoners of Hope for giving me and other people in this situation the opportunity to learn so much about the Word of God. It has helped me stay strong in my faith.
I have parole coming up in August, and I don’t know where I’m going to live or how I’m going to get there, but I know God is there for me. I have been in prison three different times with 27 years behind bars. Most of my friends and family have given up on me, and I don’t blame them. I am a better person now and I hope someday I can use my story to help others. Just know that when I do tell my story of how God saved me from the life I was living, YOU ALL will be a part of the story.
Inmate, Eyman State Prison
(This inmate is one of our Graduates J )
A special note from Jim and Carol:
Keep in mind when you read these letters, that each letter represents one of those 7200 inmates that have been touched by the Hand of God because of your faithful support to this ministry. There is a major story behind each letter—not just the inmate, but the family, too. Wives, children, moms and dads! The move of God will not stop with the inmate—every friend, neighbor, and family member will be touched and moved by the demonstration they will see of God’s power.
Jim and Carol Carper
Prisoners of Hope Ministries
PO Box 428
Youngtown, AZ 85363