I thought I would take this time to share a bit about our inmate ministry which we call SPEIRO. It stands for Sowing into Prisoners Eternity In Righteous Obedience. The Lord gave me this name some years back before we began sending anything to inmates. It is actually a greek word 'speiro' which means 'to sow.' And really, thats why we are called Heart Sower Ministries.
Anyhow, I wanted to explain that info to you. Because I know that this corresponding and writing to inmates is close to the heart of God, well, it means that its close to my heart as well. I do it because it pleases the Father. They may go in as hardened criminals, murderers and drug dealers, but on this end, we treat them as God sees them, lost treasures that are being found, needing the love of a good Father who is very willing to adopt them and show them His heart. People sometimes ask, "How can you do this, aren't you afraid." I think to myself, it's a special grace God gave me, for I don't see the bad stuff. On the other hand I don't ignore it either. We have acquired lots of rules in all of our writing to the prisoners. We have a PO Box, we do not send pictures, no money, no stamps, no gifts, except the books or Bibles and studies we send. We even use pen names for protection. Certain things we don't talk about in our letters, and we stay on the spiritual side of things. The whole reason we started the studies, is because we didn't want to only write pen pal letters. No, they need God's Word. That is what will change them. And we have seen a lot of great changes. Even if our hands are sore from writing, we will not stop, and that's happened too. There are 3 of us that write and send studies. And out of over 200 that have ever written to us, right now we have a steady influx of about 80 or so that write us regularly. It's a big deal for them to get a letter. Honestly, it's like Christmas. Many have no family or friends left. They destroyed them all. And many that we have are lifers.
So let me tell you of some of the gems I personally have. I had a writer and editor inmate who did edit our Bible Studies and was faithful to do it to the end, refused anything in return. A strong Christian. Yes, there are a lot of strong Christians in prisons. Many became saved and grew strong even in prison. I also have a favorite who is 74 yrs old and in for life, who writes beautiful Bible studies himself. His letters are full of peace and contentment. He loves Jesus so much. He always speaks of how grateful he is to the Lord. Amazing man. I have a few messianic Jews as well. That is a Jew who who has accepted Jesus as his Savior and Messiah. One imparticular is studying to become a Rabbi. He teaches studies within the prison. He likes to teach me about the Torah. They don't say 'Jesus,' but call Him 'Ha Shem,' which means 'The Name.' They feel it is too holy to say Jesus or God. Even though they are saved, they still carry many of the Jewish ways. We have a few artists as well, that you may have already seen in our section which shows their art. Beautiful work.
I have an inmate who has a ministry. In fact, many have ministries and go to College by correspondence. Some cook, work in the infirmary, many have small jobs that keep them busy, and may only pay $1.00. But it keeps them useful and out of trouble. This particular inmate, collects Biblical articles and studies, writings from other Christian inmates and sends them to his mom on the outside. She in turn compiles them into a newsletter, and then sends them nationwide to many inmates between 600-800. They have put our info into their newsletter a few times, and thats one source where we get our addresses from. Their newsletter is called 'Fishers of Men.' We have poets, writers, cooks, nurses, preachers and the list goes on.
We always send an encouraging note or letter each time with their studies. We get a lot of questions about God. It is such a joy to get a letter that is full of hunger for God. A person can't fake this. We know when there is a phony who just wants a girl friend. And a few times we have cut off any correspondence because of that. But for the most part all is well, and it is so worth the small bit of agro or difficult letters that we may receive. Remember that diamonds are not found in clean caves. There is dirt and dust, filth and scraping to get to the rocks that will one day be carved into beautiful priceless gems that have a high worth. Jesus doesn't mind the dirt. He cleans them up with His blood and His precious Word. The presence of our Holy God is not afraid of going into a dark and small, enclosed and smelly jail cell. His light changes things, and it changes people who's heart is open anywhere, and anytime. Each name and address is valuable, and you just never know. My friend one of my writers, who calls herself 'Paris' just recently got a letter saying that he didn't know where she got his address from. He was not into God anymore. He believed God forgot about Him. Well he ended up doing the study. We sent him a book, 'The Father Loves.' Then next letter she got was like night and day! He did a 180 turn around. Come to find out that he was a preacher who had strayed. He was quoting scripture left and right and thanked her for reaching out. Because of her writing and studies, he said it caused him to have an encounter with God. He actually felt the warmth and presence of the Almighty God in his cell. He then rededicated his life back to God, and is excited to live for Him again. I think the biggest thing is that he knows God is real, and didn't forget about him. So that one name, that one address can make such a difference. God sees them!
God is so good, so loving and so kind!