Roberto and I had never met before, but neither that—nor the prison regulations against physical contact with visitors—kept him from giving me a bone-crushing hug.
“I’m so thankful you are here,” Roberto said, towering over me while a grin stretched across his face. “I want to help!”
I soon found out that my new friend has “been with Prison Fellowship” much longer than I have. Roberto led a very violent life before becoming incarcerated. But while he was serving time in Iowa, he met Jesus. He was discipled in a Prison Fellowship faith-based unit and became a leader in the church behind the walls there.
After serving his sentence in Iowa, Roberto was taken back to Illinois to do additional time. He is eager to know what Prison Fellowship programming might soon be available at his prison in Illinois. He wants to be a servant, helping to grow the Christian community right around him.
Too soon, Roberto had to go. Officers were taking the men back to their cell blocks. As he glanced over his shoulder, he said, “Please hurry. I’m ready to help!”
Roberto’s plea is one I hear echoed all over the country. Pastors and their churches want to help restore their communities that have been affected by crime and incarceration. Members of the Church behind the walls want tools to study God’s Word deeply and become ambassadors for Jesus in prison. Legislators and corrections leaders of goodwill want to build a truly restorative criminal justice system.
With the support of countless friends like you, it is our privilege to equip and convene diverse groups united by the desire to bring restoration—including prisoners like Roberto. They are ready to help. Let’s hurry.