Prison Work Update
On Sunday our ecclesia (The SF Peninsula Ecclesia) included you in our opening prayer. We always ask for prayer requests each Sunday. We also prayed for the prisoners who are seeking God's word and for a few brothers and sisters who are sick. Bro. Jesse Warner gave the prayer.
You had suggested that our ecclesia send Bible Basics to the libraries in prisons a few years back. I did that for the State Prisons and Federal prisons as you may know. It is interesting to note that I have never heard from any prisoners this way. I have learned that these prisons are often in "lockdown" because of gang rivalries or some unrest and at these times the inmates are not allowed out of their cells. The library is closed. When the inmates get out, they are happy to be able to walk about and be in the yard. I find the best way to preach is by contact. Since we have now established Bible Basics in a few prisons, the inmates know we have a prison preaching effort and they help spread the word. Some inmates do write back and thank us or ask us questions. Then there are others who just write off for the book. Sis. Helen Pyper in New Zealand has offered to write to some of these inmates and I have sent her a name. She is very busy herself. One inmate asks Bible related questions to me and to Sis. Meryl Robertson who is writing him too.
It was good to hear from you and that you had a prison contact from the Thailand prison library. We are getting referrals to Bible Basics in the prison by word of mouth and by coupons I insert in each BB I mail to an inmate. [The total of prisoners we have heard from now is over 100.] I also receive referrals from Sis. Mary Warner through the Internet, when someone requests BB be sent to someone in a prison. Sis. Mary referred an e-mail to me in February for a request for BB by a wife for her husband in a San Diego Prison. I mailed the book to him and he began to read it. I sent him a follow up letter and just heard back from him this week. He was so inspired by the book that he wrote to his mother to write off for the book. The prison referrals come to me because I now know how to get the books accepted into the prisons. I have connected with Sis. Jean Cheetham in New Jersey who is also doing some prison work on the East Coast. Then I had prison contacts in Alexandria, Virginia County Jail and wanted someone closer to do the follow up work. Bro. Jesse Warner directed me to a sister in Virginia who is happy to be helping with that. We pray that the Lord will work through us to instruct and direct these inmates to see God's word more clearly and change their lives.
Recently Bro. David M, in the Salinas Valley State Prison, had his sister and her family visit him from Canada. While they were out, they were able to purchase a TV and cassette player for David from a special store, which supplies items to prisons. We are told we can mail in cassette tapes to David now, about four at a time so they go through the packaging department, so he can listen to exhortations and study tapes. When David acquires about 12 tapes [maximum], he must then turn them over to the Chaplain when he is finished with them. The Chaplain will give him a voucher or receipt for the cassette tapes, which will then let David receive some more cassette tapes.
Earlier this year we had a mini calendar created by a couple in our ecclesia who are graphic artists. This calendar was at the request of a brother who happened to be in the San Jose County Jail at the time. He is out now. On this calendar were all the months, but at the bottom were Bible verses on one side and a coupon for Bible Basics on the other. These were printed up in 100 or so copies. I sent half to the brother in the San Jose County Jail and half to Bro. David in the Salinas Valley Prison. It took ages for these calendars to be approved at the jails. As of today, I have only received requests from these calendars from the Salinas Valley State Prison. Bro. David said he put them in the Chapel at the prison. I don't know what happened to the calendars in the San Jose County Jail as I have not received any requests from there yet.
Comment : This is a very valuable work capable of considerable expansion world-wide. We have been associated with three baptisms of prisoners, one in Malawi, one in Trinidad and one from our local prison, it is a work that can be done from the armchair. There is also active prison work being done in Africa.
Sis Marilyn Seagoe (USA.)