As we enter the holiday season our hearts are full of thanksgiving as we meditate on all that God has given us so freely, but we also remember our students. As you read this month’s newsletter you will meet Richard, who has grown in his walk with the Lord through the Bible study courses offered through Write-Way Prison Ministries. We give thanks for what God has done in his life. You will also meet Mary Helen, who asks us to be especially diligent in prayer for our students as the holiday season is often a time of sadness and longing for their families.
In this newsletter Michael says, “Your work is not in vain”; Lyman says, ” Emmaus Bible studies are at the top of the list”; and Paula says, “In the free world I was lost; in prison I am found”. We praise God that He has given us the privilege of providing Bibles studies to inmates in Texas and Louisiana free of charge so they can come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and can grow in the grace of knowledge of Him Who has saved us.
The world we live in is often chaotic. What can we do? God’s Word reminds us that He is present with us so we need not fear (Psalm 46:1-2a). We should replace worries with Scripture to guide our thinking (Philippians 4:8). Through the studies offered by Write Way our students are learning to depend on the Word of God to direct their thinking and to change their outlook on life.
God is at work in the prisons of Texas and Louisiana today. Much like in the free world, God has gifted some of the inmates with the spiritual gift of evangelism. You will be inspired as you read how God is using Matthew to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Another testimony tells us ways that Satan is fighting back. As God’s Word goes into the prisons and jails, pray with us that His Word will not return to Him empty but will achieve His purpose (Isaiah 55:11).
Our blessed Lord gives us many reasons to rejoice at Write-Way Prison Ministries. One cause for rejoicing is the number of inmates who come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior each month. The second testimony in this month’s newsletter is from one of our students who came to know the Lord by reading a Bible while in solitary confinement (interesting sidelight – note how he got the Bible). Another cause for rejoicing is when we see a student apply Scripture to his or her own life, resulting in spiritual growth. The first testimony in this month’s newsletter is an excellent example of this. God is at work in the prison system!
Giving thanks: the Psalmist tells us to give thanks to the Lord and to praise His Name (Ps. 100:4) and Paul told the church at Colossee to be thankful (Col. 3:15). As our students get into the Word of God and discover new life in Christ, they often cannot help but express thanksgiving to the Lord. Read this month’s newsletter to catch this spirit of thanksgiving – and then give thanks yourself for His great work in their lives and ours.
One of our branch volunteers painted this thought on a display board: “God sometimes takes us into trouble waters – not to drown us but to cleanse us.” Many of our students are experiencing “troubled waters” as they serve time for what they have done in the past. At the same time, many have experienced the cleansing that has come with knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Read their testimonies in this months newsletter.
As we look back on 2016, we are rejoicing and praising God for the over 900 students that came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior during the year. We also rejoice with thankful hearts for the many hundreds more who were able “to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18, ESV) as they studied God’s Word.
When the angel appeared to the shepherds on that first Christmas evening, his message was “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” And this message is still one of great joy which is for all people. This is the message many people in the prisons and jails in Texas and Louisiana have been able to embrace because of your faithful prayers and financial support. To God be the glory!
A few weeks ago the Lord graciously confirmed to Write-Way that this is His ministry. While one of our volunteers was shopping in the Houston area, the Lord orchestrated a meeting with some ex-offenders who were shopping in the same store. They told her that they were shopping as part of a prison ministry to help men coming out of prison. She replied that she was also a part of a prison ministry. Their reaction when she told them that her ministry was Write-Way confirmed that this indeed is the Lord’s work. You can read the whole story, complete with pictures, in this month’s newsletter.