Share the message of Hope with a prisoner!

You can shatter the darkness and help prisoners find salvation. With your help, Prison Fellowship will continue to declare the Good News of Jesus at Hope Events around the country.

See for yourself how lives are eternally changed.

Help write the stories of lives transformed

The Gospel is all about hope, the hope that no life is too troubled to be transformed. That’s the message Prison Fellowship proclaims in prison yards across America at our Hope Events. Each year, countless incarcerated men and women respond to that message with open arms.

Lives are eternally transformed as a result. You’ll read many of their stories right here. You’ll be inspired, but please also remember—we need your help to write more stories like theirs.

Your generosity makes it possible to point prisoners to Jesus Christ, who can turn their lives completely around.


Annie’s story: A miracle of God’s grace

“I believe inside every incarcerated woman is a little girl still believing lies about her dignity and self-worth,” Annie Goebel says. And she should know.

Although she now leads Prison Fellowship’s outreach to women who are incarcerated, Annie also once believed the lie that she was alone, unloved, and that she had no value.

Annie has something else in common with women behind bars. She served time in prison too.

Annie’s life on the run began as a teenager

Raised in a violent and abusive home, Annie spent much of her childhood listening to her parents scream at each other and cowering in fear when the military police drove up with their red and blue lights flashing.

She was only a teenager on the night when her brother rushed into her room and yelled, “Get up and help me. Dad is loading his .45 to kill us.” Right then, Annie knew she’d had enough.

She slipped out a window and ran away from home. I can take care of myself, Annie thought. But she quickly discovered that life on the streets was nothing like she’d imagined. Soon she was in trouble with the law. She spent her 15th birthday in jail.

By the time she was 16 she was living totally on her own and running as fast as she could from God. “As I slid further down into a pit of darkness, I knew my life would soon be over,” Annie says. “Satan had almost won.”

But one night, alone and on the run from yet another abusive relationship, she realized she couldn’t fight God any longer.

Annie says, “That night I went outside and under the stars and I cried out to Him, ‘Jesus, please come into my life and save me!’”

“He answered my prayer in the most amazing way,” she recalls, “with an indictment for my arrest.”

But God had a plan for her—and it was BIG

Convicted on a drug charge, and still just 32 years old, Annie tried to be brave as the gates of the prison slammed shut behind her. It was all she could do to hold back the tears as she told her young daughter, “Goodbye baby, Mommy loves you and will see you soon.”

Annie’s heart nearly broke as she came to grips with the reality of the toll a year behind bars would take on her children.

She wrote to the judge, begging him for mercy. And again, God answered her prayer.

The judge allowed Annie to serve three years of probation instead of a year in prison. But that was only the beginning. The women at her church embraced Annie and her kids. They became her mentors and her friends. Annie went back to school and earned a teaching degree, graduating with honors. And by a miracle of God’s grace, she got a job teaching at a high school—even with her criminal conviction.

And God still wasn’t through with Annie, not by a long shot.   She didn’t know how, yet, but she was about to find out that He had big plans to use her. You see, one day while Annie was working on her master’s degree, she was invited to hear a former prisoner, a man named Mel Goebel, speak. What she heard that day would change everything.

“God has laid it on my heart to call out women who have been incarcerated and are now living victoriously to help start a ministry for women and go back into prison,” Mel said. Annie knew he was talking to her.

“God called me out that night,” she says. “I always knew that He could use my story of transformation.”

Today she’s an ambassador to women behind bars

Together, Mel and Annie founded Daughters of Destiny, a ministry devoted to reaching women behind bars. That was also the beginning of their love story. Today they are husband and wife. Last year Daughters of Destiny became part of Prison Fellowship. And under Annie’s capable leadership, we’re taking outreach to women in prison to a whole new level.

That includes our evangelistic Hope Events. We're planning more than 238 evangelistic outreaches this year at prisons across America.

Please help today if you can.

“As I slid further down into a pit of darkness, I knew my life would soon be over. Satan had almost won.”             —Annie Goebel, former prisoner
now director of programs and special events at prison fellowship

Ocean’s story: From the darkness of the “hole”—to hope!

They call it the hole, and for good reason.

In prison, restrictive housing is for the prisoners who are the most dangerous to themselves and to others—and, often, the most hopeless too.

But, when you reach through prison bars and into the darkness of the hole, even a prisoner like Ocean can be transformed.

He was born into poverty and hopelessness

Ocean’s story is tragic. He was born to a single mother on a Nebraska Indian reservation. His mother was an alcoholic. When Ocean was young, the family was often homeless.

The state intervened and he was sent to a foster home. After that, Ocean had food to eat and a roof over his head, but he never really felt loved.

When Ocean lashed out and beat up his foster mom just before his 14th birthday, he took the first step on a long road that would lead him to prison.

Ocean’s choices destroyed his dreams

Two years later, Ocean attacked his foster parents again. This time, he was arrested and sent to juvenile detention, but nothing really changed.

There were more fights and more trouble. Eventually, after an unsuccessful stay at a group home, Ocean ended up with his grandmother.

With her love and guidance, Ocean might have turned his life around. He started playing football. As a high school senior, he won all-conference honors. There were scholarship offers. He could have gone to college.   But Ocean never conquered his anger. And, by now, he’d also started drinking and partying.

Ocean was constantly fighting. One day, he went too far. Convicted of a felony, he was sent to prison for two years. But, even in prison, Ocean couldn’t control his temper. He got into so many fights that he served 11 months in solitary confinement.

The love of God found a way to reach him

In some ways, that was the best thing that could have happened to him. You see, while Ocean was in solitary, he was visited by two local pastors named Jeff and Steve, who were volunteers with Prison Fellowship.

They were part of a program reaching prisoners who have been segregated from the general prison population.

They visited Ocean faithfully for more than a year before they saw the slightest sign of hope.

“Several times, I threw up my hands and said, ‘This is impossible,’” Jeff remembers. But one day, finally, Ocean had a breakthrough and gave his life to Christ. A short time later, he was baptized—right there in the prison.

“If it wasn’t for Steve and Jeff, I wouldn’t be a Christian right now,” Ocean says.  “They went to hell and back to help me...and I love them for it.”

You can help reach others

A lot of things started changing after that. Soon it was obvious to everyone—especially the prison authorities—that Ocean was a whole new man. After finishing his sentence, he returned to live on the reservation in Nebraska. Today the desire of his heart is to reach other Native Americans with the Gospel’s message of healing and hope.

That message of hope is the same message Prison Fellowship proclaims in prisons from one end of the country to the other.

We’re planning more than 238 evangelistic Hope Events this year at prisons across America.

Please help today if you can.

“They went to hell and back to help me...and I love them for it.”             —Ocean, former prisoner, about his Prison Fellowship mentors, Jeff and Steve

Anthony’s story: “I was an enemy...of God”

He was big and tough—a thug through and through—but Anthony was crying like a baby. “Until the day I got saved, I was an enemy and hater of God,” he admits. But on this day, none of that mattered.

He was shaking all over as he jolted awake. The drugs had worn off and he knew that, this time, he was facing a long stretch in prison. Then Anthony did something that you just don’t do on the inside. He broke down sobbing in his cellmate’s arms.

Anthony made a mess of his life

“I said, ‘Celly, are you awake? Can I talk to you for a second?’” he recalls. He also remembers how dangerous that was: “In prison, men do not confide in other men. You’ll start a fight that way.”

Anthony says, “I started telling my cellmate what I’d been doing. I was finally being broken by the weight of all my life of sin.” And then, suddenly, his cellmate looked him straight in the eye and said, “Anthony, let me ask you something. Are you willing to surrender to Jesus as your Lord and Savior?”

It was the last thing Anthony expected to hear, but it was also exactly what he needed. “I’d never shared a cell with a Christian before,” he says. But he had been raised by God-fearing grandparents who took him to church when he was a boy.

“I didn’t even realize what I was saying,” he adds. “But I remember dropping to my knees, falling on the floor, and crying out, ‘Yes, God, I surrender to You. I’m done running from You.’”

The next morning his cellmate handed Anthony a Bible and said, “This is where it all begins.”

He surrendered to Jesus and became a new man

Anthony was eager to grow in his faith, and, thanks to the many faithful friends who support Prison Fellowship, he had plenty of opportunities. “He is so passionate,” says Prison Fellowship staff member Audrey Fay, who has worked extensively with Anthony. “When he starts talking about the Word, you just get excited about how God has turned his life around.”

After Anthony was baptized, Audrey helped him enroll in The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI), a Prison Fellowship program that provides intensive, seminary-level leadership training. He excelled from the beginning. He wanted to serve God, and God alone, once he put prison behind him. Once again, God gave him the desire of his heart.

Anthony’s story is proof God works behind bars

Following his release from prison in 2015, Anthony landed a good job at a Christian-owned manufacturing business and soon found a good church home. He also completed a year-long pastoral internship at his church—leading men’s discipleship groups, serving as a member of the preaching team, and helping with the children’s and youth ministry.

But by all accounts, including Anthony’s, the best is yet to come.

Prisons remain a vastly underserved mission field, he contends. “There are men behind these walls that God is raising up to be leaders,” he says. “I’m evidence that God is at work behind the walls.”

But many still need to be reached

Christ died for these men and women. God longs to transform and use them for His glory. But first, we must reach them with the Gospel.

We’re planning more than 238 evangelistic Hope Events this year at prisons across America.

Please help today if you can.

“I didn’t even realize what I was saying. But I remember dropping to my knees, falling on the floor, and crying out, ‘Yes, God, I surrender...’”             —Anthony, FORMER PRISONER

Regina’s story: Overcoming a lifetime of failure

“When I was brought into the prison system this time, I was broken,” Regina says. “I was completely broken. And I just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get it right.” Regina wanted to change her life. She wanted that more than anything.

But with each stay behind bars, her will to keep trying was growing weaker.

After a lifetime of failure, she had only one hope. She tells the whole story here and her newfound passion will inspire you. “I prayed to God,” she remembers. “I said, ‘Please guide my steps and show me what it is that I’m not getting right.’ ”

“He did,” Regina says, and suddenly a smile spreads across her face.

God answered Regina’s desperate prayer for help

She’s no longer haunted by the memory of her childhood—a time, Regina says, when she received little spiritual guidance. She knew about Jesus, she confesses, but says, “I didn’t know what it was that He did for me.”

At Folsom Women's Prison, all that changed. “Now I understand the things that God has been doing in my life,” Regina says. “He’s been orchestrating my life all the time—I just wasn’t listening.”

It took going to prison four times. But, in prison, Regina finally found the answers she was seeking.

She delved deep into God’s Word and ultimately enrolled in the Prison Fellowship Academy. “I look forward to the next 50 years of my life,” she says with a twinkle in her eye, “because everything that I screwed up these last 50 years I have a chance to do over.”

Regina has found freedom in Christ. And she longs to share it with others. She knows that many incarcerated women are just as frustrated and desperate as she was.

Regina also knows that women on the inside need the Gospel—and that one of the best ways to share it with them is at a Hope Event, like last year’s blockbuster Easter Hope Events that rocked Folsom Prison.

Will you help make it happen?

You can help another prisoner find freedom in Christ

That includes our evangelistic Hope Events. We're planning more than 238 evangelistic outreaches this year at prisons across America.

Please help today if you can.

“I was completely broken. And I just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get it right.”             —Regina, a prisoner at the folsom women's facility

Nick’s story: A portrait of redemption

When Nick was a little boy, his family took him to church twice a week. But it didn’t mean anything to him. And when he reached his teenage years, he started drinking and doing drugs.

Nick moved out of his home and into a trailer with buddies so he could live as he pleased.

And then one day, when he got short on cash, he robbed a loan store.

Nick’s rebellion landed him in prison

Nick was caught quickly and arrested. More problems with the law followed. At age 17, he received two 10-year prison sentences.

In prison, Nick decided he would rather be a victimizer than a victim. As a result, he was in continual trouble and in and out of solitary confinement. Nick even got time added to his sentence for bad behavior.

In hopes of finding a way to shorten his sentence, Nick joined a Prison Fellowship Bible study. Nick still had not opened his eyes, but God was beginning to soften his heart.

He shares the whole story here. You’ll be amazed when you see how God has transformed him. And it all began when he was invited to a prison evangelistic event like the Hope Events we’ll be hosting in prisons across the country this year.

He only showed up because he thought there would be girls

“Why do I want to go to this? They last for hours!” Nick complained. But when he was told there would be girls there, his attitude suddenly changed. It turned out there were no girls and Nick sat in the back so that he could escape as soon as possible.

But during the singing, God got his attention.

“I realized that I had never read the Word and never truly worshipped God before,” says Nick. He says he remembers the speaker declaring, “There is a man here today who needs to lay down his life.”

Nick tried to put up a fight. “I was angry,” he recalls. “Asking God in was like admitting that I was weak.”

“At that point I just started weeping, and I knew when I stood up, I was giving it all up.”

Nick prayed to receive Christ that day. And slowly, he began to change.

Transformed by grace, Nick longs to reach others

Several years later, after a long period of discipleship, Nick was released from prison. He started sharing his testimony with churches and went on to work for Prison Fellowship. Today he is serving as executive director of a ministry in Arkansas that mentors prisoners as they return to society.

He is grateful for his time in prison because he knows he probably never would have come to the Lord on the outside. He’s working hard to become the man God wants him to be. But his heart also aches for those who are still behind bars.

Nick knows that God longs to transform and use them for His glory. But first, we must reach them with the Gospel. That’s why Prison Fellowship will host at least 238 evangelistic Hope Events this year at prisons across America.

Please help today if you can.

“At that point I just started weeping, and I knew when I stood up, I was giving it all up.”             —Nick, former prisoner

Bill’s story: No longer the man that he was before

There is a sadness in Bill’s voice as he describes how addiction destroyed his life. “I couldn’t work. I couldn’t do anything else,” he recalls, “so, of course, I started stealing.”

“I would steal anything that wasn’t nailed down from just about anybody,” Bill confesses. “In 1985, I got arrested for a robbery and pretty much stayed in prison, off and on, until 2005, actually.”

“I would get out for a while, get high, and go back,” he recalls. “It was just a vicious cycle.”

Bill even admits that, when he first enrolled in the Prison Fellowship program, “I wasn’t looking to change anything. I was just looking to get out of prison sooner.”

But while he was in the program, God did a work in Bill’s heart. “I had a heart change,” he says. “I didn’t want to be the same Bill that I was before.” You won’t want to miss a moment of the story and you can get it all here.

You can help reach thousands of prisoners with the Gospel

You’ll be amazed at what God has done in Bill’s life. More than a decade after being released from prison, he can confidently claim, “Because of Prison Fellowship, my mentor, my wife, and my family, my life is good today, and I don’t ever see it going back to the way it was.”

He also hopes that his story will inspire men and women who are in prison right now to seek new lives in Jesus Christ.

Bill knows that God longs to transform men and women who are now behind bars and use them for His glory. But in order for that to happen, we must reach them with the message that their lives can be made new.

We’re planning more than 238 evangelistic Hope Events this year at prisons across America.

Please help today if you can.

“If Prison Fellowship can change a guy like me, why can’t it help the next guy?”             —BILL, former prisoner

Michael’s story: The day the Gospel invaded Folsom Prison

California’s notorious Folsom Prison is the last place you would expect to welcome the Gospel. It has a well-earned reputation as an intimidating place, housing some of the most dangerous incarcerated men, many of whom are serving long sentences for serious offenses.

But one day last year, in early spring, Folsom was rocking. Not with anger or the echoes of a riot, but with the sweet sounds of salvation and victory in Jesus.

Prisoners like Michael are hungry for hope

There was one prisoner in particular, James says he will always remember:

He was standing alone on the edge of the crowd. You could tell he didn’t fit in. I couldn’t help but wonder what had brought him here. He looked so young and so out of place.

When I walked over and asked him, he told me his name was Michael. He was 28 years old. He expected to be in prison for a while. He didn’t say why, and I can understand that. Just being locked up at Folsom was reminder enough.

As the band played, I asked Michael what he thought about the Hope Event. He liked the music, he admitted. And he said he believed in God. But it had been many long years since Michael thought about his Creator.

I breathed a silent prayer that today would change that.

As shy and withdrawn as he seemed on the outside, you could see Michael was hungry for the hope Christ offers. As Francis Chan got up and started to speak, he was hanging on every word. Michael edged a little closer when Francis spoke about God’s love—about grace that could completely wipe away his past.

Then suddenly, as Francis invited the men to come forward and accept Christ’s offer of salvation, Michael stepped out of the crowd and walked boldly to the front.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it for myself. I was witnessing a miracle. And it wasn’t just about Michael. More than 50 prisoners trusted Christ that day inside the walls of Folsom Prison.

But that was just the beginning.

You can help reach them with your gift today

You see, Prison Fellowship shares the Gospel in prisons across the country all year long. This year alone, we will host at least 238 evangelistic Hope Events, including two Hope Events at prisons in Virginia on Easter weekend.

Please help today if you can.