The Gospel Continues to Shine in America's Prisons
I first visited San Quentin State Prison, California's oldest correctional institution, in 2004. I headed to the visiting room of E block, or the "condemned unit," which houses hundreds of men awaiting the ultimate punishment. I had volunteered to counsel Ramon, a man on death row, who, during his trial, gave his life to Jesus.
The first time we met, an officer brought Ramon to a small cell, removed his chains, and then locked us in together. I thought, Have I lost my mind? If things go sideways, there is no way officers can get in here fast enough.
Over the next hour, my unease faded. We talked about the Lord and read Scripture until the officers returned to take Ramon away. We met and corresponded for years but then lost touch.
A few months ago, a chaplain from San Quentin invited me to visit—my first time back in a decade. While we toured the prison, I found myself in E block once again.
The chaplain took me to Ramon's cell. There, I saw my old friend's familiar face. "Hey, Mr. Ackerman, praise the Lord!" he said. We had a wonderful visit.
Ramon is an evangelist, sharing Jesus with condemned prisoners who are allowed access to a small, enclosed yard. Even on death row, he is alive with the joy of the Gospel—a reminder that no bars can stop the power of Christ.
READ MORE ABOUT PRISON FELLOWSHIP'S IMPACT
- Prison Fellowship, Hillsong NYC team up to bring 'hope' to inmates at Rikers Island (Christian Examiner, 07/13/19)
- Getting Free on the Inside to Thrive on the Outside (Stand Together, 07/19)
- Prison Fellowship holding first Ohio graduation ceremony (WTAM, 08/12/19)
- Women at Metro Corrections Center Graduate from Prison Fellowship Program (KOCO News, 08/26/19)
- Dallas County Jail Hosts Restoration Art Workshop Event Inside Lew Sterrett (DFW CBS Local, 10/07/19)
THE GOSPEL CONTINUES TO SHINE IN AMERICA'S PRISONS
At Prison Fellowship®, we witness God's Spirit showing up in similar ways at Hope Events nationwide. New Prison Fellowship Academy® sites are changing many lives. Create: New Beginnings™, our new restorative art workshop, is helping to heal the hurts of incarcerated women. Time and again, we see proof that the Gospel shines brightest in the dark.
Thank you for investing in the lives of men and women who need to know their story isn't over! I look forward to sharing more about your impact soon.
For His Kingdom,
James J. Ackerman
President and Chief Executive Officer
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