In her mug shot, 24-year-old Karen* looks like a frail child, but she has five young children of her own. Last Thanksgiving she wrote to Prison Fellowship®:
I am currently in what we call segragation [sic], which means I am locked in a room with nothing but a pen, paper, maybe a book and my personal's [sic]… tonite [sic] I came across your Inside Journal Fall 2011. And sat down on my bed and started reading some of the stories in it. One story in particular touched my soul and gave me hope. It was the story of John Jennings. … It made me think to myself that if a man like John can change like that, then there is still hope for me. …
Reentry into society is always full of challenges, but now Karen has moved from despair to hope. She goes on:
I came into these gates a liar, thief, and a drug addict, and am walking out a Christian, a loving mother, and a high school graduate.
How is transformation like this possible?
Quite simply, God's people showed up for Karen: A generous donor to Prison Fellowship gave Karen a copy of Inside Journal®; a few years before that, a volunteer ministered to former bank robber John Jennings, catalyzing the story of redemption and transformation that would encourage Karen; thousands more were part of the story, giving, praying, and volunteering so that Karen's life could be touched by the ripple effect of hope.
*Name has been changed.