Each Week our volunteers hand out many Bibles, booklets, and Bible Correspondence Course lessons at Egeler and Huron Valley. Among the books that we hand out are 3 books that Gene Goulooze, our founder, has written for inmates. It was time to order another printing of Path’s Worth Choosing and we needed to come up with $6,600 for the 20,000 copies. After praying that God would provide for the printing, we started making calls to raise the funds. Can you believe that we only had to make 3 phone calls? Each person was quick to respond to our need. After thanking the second donor for his generosity, he suggested that perhaps the next call I made would pick up the remaining amount (which was still a large sum). I kind of chuckled and said, yeah, wouldn’t that be great? And wouldn’t you know, that is exactly what happened! What a blessing it was to see God working. I’m sure he directed me right to the people that he intended to help us. I’m sure that if we had called all of the faithful donors that we have, many would have joyfully contributed to this cause, but how encouraging that we didn’t need to. Thank you, God for reminding us of 2 Corinthians 9:8; “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” And a special thank you to Frank & Sally Jonkman, Bob & June Ribbe, and a donor who wished to remain anonymous for answering the call.
In 2014, Gene, our founder and president at the time, moved to Tennessee with his son and family. In this modern age of technology it was possible for him to stay connected with New Creations via phone and email. The hardest thing was for him to stop going into the prisons for Bridge Builders meetings and One-on-One visits. It wasn’t too long before he began going into the Northwest Correctional Facility in Tiptonville, TN. The next thing we knew, he started handing out lessons for our correspondence courses and our Tennessee ministry began. Around January 2017 Jack H. began going on visits with Gene and things were on track to begin setting up a Bridge Builders program there as well. In January, 2018, a new weekly Bible study program was launched at the Day Reporting Center (DRC) in Jackson, TN, with the potential of expanding to several other locations as TDOC began opening more Day Reporting Centers across the state.
In February, 2018, Jack had to stop going on One-on-One visits due to his health, and Gene began to have health problems as well. Shortly thereafter, Gene was diagnosed with Parkinson ’s disease and had to step down from ministry entirely. We have been able to continue sending correspondence courses to the inmates in Tennessee who had already started, but with no one to go into the NW facility or the DRC, the only way the new inmates are reached there is by the referral of our current students.
Would you please join us in prayer for the ministry in TN? That God would raise up the right people or group to reach inmates there and that avenues would be opened for us to continue to grow there. We know that God cares for those men and women even more than we do and that he will create a way for them to hear his word. One thing we know for sure, God is still working, even if we aren’t there to see it!
In January we reformatted our new Introductory Course and began sending it out to the students. With the new prison mail policy, there is much more work involved processing the mail in the prisons, and mail is taking much longer to get to the inmates. This has been very frustrating for them. Change is not usually an easy thing to deal with. Please pray that they will not be discouraged and give up studying God’s word.
While we are working through completing the reformatting of the courses, we are able to start looking forward to the work that needs to be done this year, and beyond. We are looking for additional local churches, businesses, and individuals to partner with us financially as we strive to reach inmates with the Word of God. We are also looking to develop some more churches as hubs for the pick-up of the correspondence courses, more volunteers as Bible Study Partners, and Bridge Builders small group leaders. We ask for your prayers that doors will be opened to us to present our ministry. If your church or Sunday school class would be interested in having a representative from New Creations Prison Ministries come and talk to them about what we are doing, please contact the NCPM office.
I would like to leave you with the following words from one of our students. It is only by the grace of God and the generosity of faithful givers that our work is possible.
“Thank you kindly for the Bible Study Course. It was a privilege to have a guide to follow and learn with as I read, studied, prayed, and completed these courses. They are very knowledgeable, and have you go back to the basics and focus on building a long-lasting relationship with Christ Jesus my Lord J It’s deepened my love for Jesus and has helped my relationship grow tremendously”
Happy New Year! This is the time of year when we reflect on the past and make a fresh start towards our future. The past year has seen many changes and challenges for New Creations Prison Ministries. We serve an amazing God who loves to take our struggles and use them to bring glory to His name!
When the new MDOC mail policy came out, it sent devastating shock waves throughout the ministries that serve in the prisons. Many times I had to remind myself that God knows our needs and He wants His Word to be spread within the prisons even more than we do. Wouldn’t it be just like God to take this situation and turn it into something wonderful? Well, that’s just what He did! We sent out a call for prayer, put our heads together to quickly come up with a temporary solution, and set out to find a good long-term replacement for the lessons that we were no longer able to use.
We were prepared to use the temporary solution for 6 months or more while we prayed for God to show us the answers. God brought our new lessons to us within a month! We believe that we will actually be better able to share God’s Word and guide the students in their walk with Christ than before! What a mighty God we serve! We have begun printing the new lessons in-house and the first ones have gone out this week.
Thank you so much to all who have prayed and supported us during this season of transition. Thanks to you and our wonderful volunteers, our students were able to continue to receive encouragement from God’s Word throughout the Christmas season.