Prison Ministry Volunteer 2020-2021 Update:
Here is a Prison Ministry Volunteers Update for 2020 and 2021. The Year of COVID-19. As with everyone and everywhere, COVID-19 affected our ability to provide direct ministry services to the prison. Around March of 2020, the prisons throughout Texas were shut down to visitors. The men were required to wear masks 24/7. They were confined to their dorms. The virus spread quickly throughout the prison. Many offenders and guards were impacted and over 25 lost their lives. Two in our Bible Study class were lost to the virus. Dorms were disrupted and prison populations transferred and moved.
At last, in March of 2021, recovery reached a high enough level that the TDCJ opened the units for limited volunteer services. We we were again allowed to hold Bible Study class. Volunteers are limited to two per session, required testing for COVID-19 each time we enter the facility and social distancing and masks are required.
During the period we were unable to be directly in the prison, we wrote letters to the members of our Bible Study class containing scripture references, helpful notes and how the Word could help cope during this challenging time. The return letters were filled with hope, courage and strength citing how our studies helped walk through these difficult times. They were filled with gratitude for the lessons and message of grace and mercy. It was inspiring and amazing to read the depth of their faith and trust in the Lord to walk them through. Check out the “Testimonies” page to read more.
The Christmas season brought a miracle. We were able to donate a Christmas bag filled with offerings that were generously donated by the supporters of this ministry. Thinking we wouldn’t be able to fulfill our desired gifts, we had almost laid aside our plans. But just like every year, a Christmas miracle offered us just what was ordered and we were able to donate to over 500 offenders and guards and staff. The men wrote back sharing how much they appreciated the donations and knowing that people really did care.
In March, we were able to return and begin our weekly recovery class at the Diboll Unit and complete the Grace Revolution Study at the Duncan Unit. Graduation was held in June with the presentation of certificates and sharing by each graduate! It was an inspiring celebration with the men sharing how the message of grace and mercy and the love of Jesus Christ had changed their very lives.
Jim continues to support the monthly softball team which has again been resumed. Unfortunately, rain has prevented several weekends. This is a once a month event and a volunteer is required to be present for the men to play softball. We use it as an opportunity to share the love of Christ in support of this team sport.
Donations allowed us to purchase the Joy Of Living Studies which we have now begun. This is an in-depth study and requires study and effort on the part of the participates.
We also continued to keep the Indigent Ministry stocked with toothpaste, deodorant, soap and shampoo.
We are so grateful to all who have donated to enable us to keep our studies going and support the mission of our ministry. God bless each of you for your generous spirit.
With best regards to all
Jim and LInda O.
Prison Ministry Volunteers
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