Out of darkness ... into light
As is always the case in ministry, we will only see the full impact of our witness once we reach heaven. Glory be to God!
Free Inside Ministries facilitates:
- Evangelism Explosion,
- solitary confinement visitation,
- yard ministry,
- distance discipleship correspondence,
- discipleship programs and
- individual and group counseling.
Solitary Confinement Visitation
Since November of 2008, Free Inside Ministries has been entering the confinement areas of prison once, and often twice, each month to meet those men who so desperately need to know of God's great love for them.
At Hardee CI, there are only 56 cells and often more than 80 men so some are doubled up with two men to the room. There is no air conditioning and the concrete is very hard on our knees but these confined men see God's love in action as we suffer to deliver them the message of His love. We've often told them that there is "no place on earth we would rather be, nor anything that we would rather be doing than to be right here with you right now."
During all these visits to confinement, there has never been a single incident where an inmate was belligerent or threatening. In fact, many of the inmates tell us what a great blessing it is to finally be in a hole so dark that they could recognize the light of God's love shining on them.
Jesus called us to be "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). Confinement areas of prisons have to be the best "fishing holes" in the world! In Hardee CI alone, there are 30 to 50 new men placed in confinement every month, and there are many prisons within the state that have confinement areas. Despite these rich opportunities for 'fishing', DOC Chaplains often express frustration, saying, "We have people lined up to teach bible studies and do chapel services but we cannot get anyone to go to the confinement areas."
After our visit to the men in confinement, we send each new man we met a personalized 10-page typewritten letter. The purpose of this letter is to solidify the message we've attempted to deliver in person. We know that the palest ink is more enduring than the strongest memory. The five to ten minutes we get to spend with each man in confinement does not allow us the time to much more than develop rapport, pass out reading materials, pray for any specific requests they might have and chat briefly about the fact that God loves them with an everlasting love and has demonstrated it by sending His Son to pay the ultimate price for their sins. We share verses like John 3:16-18, Acts 13:38-39, and 1 John 5:9-13 with them. Then, in our follow-up letter, we explain the good news in much greater detail, providing them with many scriptures so they can see clearly what God's word says about His gift of eternal life to them.
Along with our letter, we include one stamp, giving each man the opportunity to either respond to us, or use it to communicate with someone else. Over a third of the men we write choose to use that stamp to write us back. This has allowed us the opportunity to individually disciple many men who would otherwise have no one speaking truth and hope into their lives. As you might imagine, every letter we receive thrills our hearts as these men talk about how they've grown and been encouraged through this ministry.
Please prayerfully consider joining our confinement visitation team, our distance discipling team (letter writing), our prayer team, and/or our financial support team.
For more information about this Spirit-filled ministry, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.