by Heather Rice-Minus
It’s a joy to connect with you for the first time as Prison Fellowship’s president and CEO-elect. Will you pray for me as I step into this role, and for the ministry as we enter this exciting new chapter?
Experiencing the beauty of healing together—in prison and out
At Prison Fellowship, everything we do year-round is about the hope of a fresh start—something all of us have needed, one way or another. And I love how, this fall, we get to celebrate the growth of Create: New Beginnings®, a Prison Fellowship® program designed especially for women in prison.
Rooted in biblical values, Create: New Beginnings offers art-based workshops for incarcerated women to explore topics like identity, shame, and forgiveness. As they discover who Jesus is, women can truly heal from the past and begin to bloom.
I think of women like Jen, who endured years of abuse at home while she watched her mother cycle through volatile relationships. As a young girl, Jen was exposed to drugs and alcohol, and she began using as a teen. She found solace in creating art, learning to draw and paint from her grandmother and dad.
Later, after a serious car accident, Jen became addicted to pills. Once those ran out, she tried meth to manage her pain. Jen was finally caught selling drugs and sentenced to prison. That’s where she heard about Create: New Beginnings.
THE BEAUTY OF HEALING
As caring volunteers guided Jen through each activity, she re-imagined her future and experienced Jesus’ love. Throughout the program, she conveyed the beauty of His healing faithfulness in her life. Jen says she developed a relationship with the Lord that “infuses her art.”
Today Jen is sober, remarried, and working in human resources. She looks for every opportunity to tell her story and even serves as a board member for a nonprofit organization helping others with a history of incarceration.
“I know now that, no matter what happens in life, I trust God, no matter how hard or sad or difficult,” says Jen. “God is always there, and I trust Him.”
Each week, the program reaches more than 400 women in 12 states through 30 active workshops. We’ve also partnered with the Salvation Army and are active in nine of their Adult Rehabilitation Centers. Most recently, Prison Fellowship realized that all women could benefit from this wonderful program—so we collaborated with Tyndale House Publishing to make Create: New Beginnings available to women outside of prison! The book is set to release on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
HOPE FOR EVERY STORY
Just last week, Prison Fellowship held a special event to celebrate the book launch. We listened as artists Martha Ackerman and Stephanie Segel, the book’s co-creators, shared the amazing story of how Create: New Beginnings came to be.
Create: New Beginnings was designed for a prison context, but it’s proving to be so much more. Each workshop walks participants through engaging, restorative content that any woman could benefit from, in prison or out—because everyone, not only those behind bars, have faced challenging personal issues and emotions. We are all broken people who need a Savior to make us whole.
May this be a reminder that our ministry is not just about “going to” those we serve—it’s about coming alongside them, so that through face-to-face ministry, we may experience Jesus together.
Like you, I believe that Jesus has the power to redeem any story, no matter how broken, no matter how hopeless. Would you join us in praying that God would continue to guide us in ministry for His glory?
Being chosen to lead Prison Fellowship is an honor, and I’m abundantly grateful for your prayers and support in the days ahead.
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