David Gillies of Christian Literature Outreach has shared with Eternity some letters from Chaplains and inmates. The print Eternity has been sent to prisons – and is eagerly read we are told.
From a chaplain in NSW. “Last week some of the guys in H-block ripped a wheelie bin off its stand, cracked open the fire hydrant to fill it with water. Eight men had come to faith in Jesus Christ and didn’t want to wait to be baptised. The Everyday with Jesus devotionals have been pivotal for the inmates to minister to each other. extremely useful for leading people to Christ and setting them in good Bible reading and prayer habits when they do. I have upped the order…”
From a prisoner: I have felt lost for a while now. being incarcerated a few times, having no faith in God, [the] prison system and in general the community. I’ve had a bad run losing my only child in the last 12 months.
My life was on the path of destruction “burning every bridge and not caring about the consequence or effects on my loved ones or even strangers.” Being at rock bottom and not knowing what to do or even ask for help. I have a case manager who gently suggested I speak to the jail’s chaplain. I did not listen at first.
The Holy Spirit touched me through an inmate who suggested that we pray for my child (one year after my angel left this earth. The prayer made me feel better and I started to attend chapel every week, reading the Bible and the books you kindly donate. My life has changed.
Your books make a real difference in strengthening inmates’ faith.
Thank you for helping the Holy Spirit work within jail.
From a Chaplain in WA
Muhammad came to our prison several years ago, as a devout Muslim. As coordinating Chaplain I was asked by management to check that he had all he needed to practice his faith. I caught up with him and while accomplishing this, struck up a friendship, where we focused on the things that unite us, rather than divide us. I was aware that he enjoyed drawing, as he is quite good at it. So I thought I would give him some of the Christian comic books delivered by CLO. I started with Old Testament stories, given that Islam considers a number of individuals in the Old Testament as important prophets. He was incredibly excited to receive them, and over time, I progressed to the books relating to Jesus. It is incredibly exciting that these books are able to cross the social and religious divide, and provide an opening for him to understand characters in the Bible, and specifically the person and work of Jesus. He is still a Muslim but I am encouraged that he is coming to know and understand more about who Jesus is and what he did for us all.
From a Chaplain
Ike is an indigenous person who has been in and out of prison as long as I’ve ministered here (since 2008). I had a report from a staff member, knowing my long term relationship with him, that he was being really positive about life since coming in. He described to me that when he came back into prison, he was feeling very low, and asking himself the question ‘what on earth am I here for’. The next day, as he looked at the bookshelf in the maximum security section he came across a book sent over by CLO, ‘The Purpose Drive Life: What on earth am I here for’. He went and got the book and showed me several passages that had helped him understand how fear had been holding him back all these years. I prayed for him and left, feeling blessed that he just so happened to come across that book.
That day when I went home, my box from CLO was on the porch. When I opened the box up the next day, the booklet on the very top of the box was Rick Warren’s ‘What on Earth am I here for’, and I knew that God wanted me to give this book to this prisoner. It couldn’t have been anymore clearer, and you should have seen the look on Ike’s face when I told him how I had come across this book.
Here’s what I am praising God for; That over there in Sydney, as you pack the books in somewhat of a random fashion, that the Spirit of God directed whoever was packing my box to place this booklet on top, so I was able to get it straight to this individual
Thank you again for resourcing prison Chaplaincy ministry over here, in our regional prison 5 hours north of Perth.
From a prisoner
…. This time in jail I have truly found God. O know that I am going to live a life that makes God happy. I have been clean for eight months and that’s something I could not do on my own. God did that for me.
I was baptised last year in December and it was the best decision I ever made.
The drug ice is destroying families and communities. I’m hoping one day God can use my life experience and my story to help people. I am just so happy now that my life has purpose. I feel closer to God every day and feel more of his grace. Anyway, I’ll leave it there.
From a prisoner
I write to thank you for the support you have provided through the free books and information you have supplied to …. Correctional Centre chapel. I found the true stories shared to be inspirational and in a big way helped me to identify where God has been evident in my life.
I had the normal introduction to a normal Christian life starting with my christening, through Sunday school and church in later years. In my late twenties, I chose to be baptised and followed a Christian life.
However, with my marriage and the birth of my children, I found it easy to blame work and my family for not having attended church –saying I don’t need to go to church to talk to God.
I came to be a prisoner two years ago and tended to blame god. but after going to chapel a few months ago I realised I nede to get back in touch with God and have started to realise all that God has done for me in the past. Your books have played a big part in this turn around.
And a shoutout to Eternity’s colleagues at Bible Society who supply Bibles to a wide range of chaplains