Annie gave her daughter, Jewdi, up at the prison gates. Now they go into prison together to remind women of God's love.
On the last weekend of Second Chance™ Month, close to 60 women and volunteers gathered for a two-day Hope EventTM in Pierre, South Dakota. A Prison Fellowship® team of volunteers from Sioux Falls drove for several hours to participate.
Annie Goebel, Prison Fellowship's director of programs and special events for women, spoke alongside her daughter, Jewdi Island. They shared with eager listeners how Annie's time in prison, and subsequent transformation through Jesus Christ, broke the cycle of crime and incarceration within their family.
It was a fitting reminder for every mother, daughter, and woman in the room that when we are in Christ, our families can also become new creations. Annie and Jewdi spent much of their lives in South Dakota, including the time Annie spent in prison. Their stories hit close to home for both speakers and listeners alike.
"I enjoyed every moment. This is the most comforting Bible/Prison Fellowship [event] I've attended," shared Melanie, a prisoner and Hope Event attendee. "Thank you for sharing your stories with us. [They] touched base with me and my sister. We both enjoyed this."
Like many other prisons around the country, this facility is geographically and relationally isolated. The women who attended were hungry to connect with their faith and with each other. It was very clear to us, the Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers, that the Lord used this Hope Event to help ignite and fuel the ladies in their walk with Jesus. One attendee, Liza, said, "It was wonderful to hear and know that I am loved."
WOMEN BEHIND BARS
Incarcerated women in prison are often at the end of a long, difficult road, one that has made them feel rejected, worthless, and hopeless. Without resources to heal the hurts beneath their bad choices, many women may remain in a destructive cycle. Prison Fellowship strives to show women the incredible love, acceptance, and purpose in Christ that awaits them both inside prison and out.
Prison Fellowship is rapidly expanding its ministry of inspirational events, helpful resources, and intensive programs tailored to the unique needs of incarcerated women: Hope Events share the restoration available through the Gospel; a special women’s edition of the Inside Journal® prisoner newspaper meets women where they are with inspiration and practical information; and the Prison Fellowship Academy®, a biblically based program that takes prisoners on a journey to holistic restoration, will expand to at least one women’s prison in each state.
Please join Prison Fellowship in praying for the ladies at South Dakota Women's Prison and for the thousands more behind bars across America.
ABOUT NAOMI FALTIN
Naomi Faltin is the special events coordinator at Prison Fellowship.
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