Blessings for a Simpler Life

Prison Ministry

volunteering, prisoner

Rodeo Rider

My husband David and I both laughed and cried while watching the movie we rented from Netflix titled “The Ride.”
It’s about a champion bull rider who is given the choice of jail or working at a ranch for troubled boys. What happens next is two hours of good entertainment and a heartwarming message.

But, I had an additional reason to enjoy the movie because the star, Michael Boehn, resembles my friend Pastor Dave Hibbison in looks and mannerisms so much that I marveled about it throughout the whole movie. The same winning smile – the same walk – the attitude that I can so imagine Dave having during his journey in life.
You see, Pastor Dave spent a few years serving time at Sandstone Federal Prison not so long ago. But, like in the movie, Dave accepted Christ into his life during a Charis spiritual retreat at the prison. After his release he became an ordained minister and focuses on serving newly-released inmates in his New Life in Christ ministry.

Pastor Dave and I both volunteer through Charis at Sandstone Federal Prison in Minnesota where Pastor Dave once served time. When he speaks, the inmates listen. They know that he’s been where they are and that he knows how they feel. He changes lives every day.

While I am not as effective as Pastor Dave, I worship and fellowship with the inmates who tell me how much it means to them. One of them told me, “When you come here to visit me it gives me hope that when I get out society will accept me again.” Most inmates’ families cannot visit often due to the distance. Those incarcerated in federal prisons come from all over the United States. Visits from outsiders are greatly appreciated, and Charis volunteers have brought many inmates to Christ.

If you want a gratifying volunteer experience, consider visiting inmates in one of the many state, federal, or military prisons throughout the U.S. either through Charis, a division of Cursillo, (https://www.natl-cursillo.org/) or Prisoner Visitation and Support program (http://www.prisonervisitation.org/). Charis is faith based; PVS is not. I have volunteered through both programs. By participation in prison ministry, you will be giving inmates hope for the future and you will reduce inmate recidivism.

And, if you haven’t seen The Ride give yourself a treat and watch it soon.

Do you do volunteer work that you feel changes people’s lives? Tell us about it.

Blessings for a simpler life,
Connie Lounsbury

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Author, Connie Lounsbury

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