Fall/Winter 2017 Alpha Prison Ministries Newsletter
“I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:36)
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Impact in the Prisons
At our Impact Night on October 9th, at least one of our volunteers was asked privately what an Alpha volunteer does. It was in the context of volunteering inside the prisons doing Bible study with inmates. We try to emphasize what we do on a regular basis as a ministry in these newsletters.
The in prison Bible studies involve far more than getting men into the Bible, we know that when we are successful, we get the Bible into men. We've stated in the past that the goal is not simply for our volunteers to conduct these Bible studies, but that the inmates would become Bible study leaders themselves.
It starts small. A few men each leading another. Those men in turn each find one man who is willing to become a disciple. Jesus is our example. He had multitudes following him but he only appointed 12 as apostles and only 3 were his closest. But these men changed the world!
In October we received a packet with 12 letters thanking us and demonstrating how Alpha in prison Bible studies are making disciples who make other disciples in the prisons. We just wish we could share them all but following are just a couple examples:
Dear Friends of Alpha Ministries,
I want to first thank Leon for attending our weekly meeting at Central Michigan Correctional Facility. Your presentation was most valuable in putting a face on all the people who make it possible to help men come into a lasting relationship with Jesus Christ. All of the prayers and financial support given have not been for naught.
Men here are growing closer to Christ. They are presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ in classrooms and out in the yard. It is so exciting to hear testimonies from these men as they report back to me how God has used them.
One such story was told to me just yesterday by a brother in Christ named DJ. DJ told me about a man who was questioning his faith. DJ was able to walk him through what it means to be a Christian, how we can know for sure we are saved, and the peace in believing in God and his work. DJ informed me that if it were not for what he learned from Alpha's One On One Discipleship, he would not have had the boldness to present the gospel.
At last night's meeting we had 10 One On One groups meeting together and a number of men working on other Alpha Ministries' materials. God has blessed us to the point that if we grow any more, we will have to find a bigger room. Praise the Lord! Once this group is finished, we will have 10 more men ready to teach and disciple someone else.
One of the things we do is to encourage men who begin the program to start praying for a man he can invite once he graduates—a man he can disciple. This is all to the praise of God our Lord and Savior.
I want to publicly thank God for Elroy who comes week after week to this facility and gives us his time, wisdom, acceptance, and the love he has received from God. His faithfulness has been an inspiration to me and many of the leaders and future leaders here. If there was a possibility he could be thanked and recognized, it would make many of us happy.
Please continue to pray not only for us but for the future students of Alpha. Pray that God will give our leaders and students alike a boldness in their faith to give an account for the hope they have in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
I personally thank you all for the tools and opportunity to continue to present the gospel in such a way that men I witness to have the opportunity to make an informed decision for Christ. May God bless each and every one of you with the love of Christ. We are praying for you and for churches that will come along side to partner with the Alpha Ministry team.
May God bless you and keep you in the palm of his hand.
“I Have Become a Discipler”
EDITOR'S NOTE: This letter is from DJ (Donald) mentioned in Brad's letter.
To the Friends of Alpha Ministries,
My name is Donald (DJ). I have been at Central Michigan Correctional Facility for a little over a year. I started in the Alpha program shortly thereafter.
I had spent my childhood and young adult life searching for something to fill the hole in my life. Although Alpha Ministries did not introduce me to Christ, you did show me what is means to have a relationship with him.
I have since finished the discipleship book and have become a discipler.
These words alone cannot come close to expressing the gratitude I have for this “class” and for you godly men and women that have given a piece of yourself so that others may be able to find the peace and love of Christ. I know that it is not only a monetary effort you make on our behalf, but also through prayer.
On behalf of everyone that has been a part of Alpha, thank you for everything.
May the blessings of God also be on you!
Quotes from a Few Others in the “12 Pack”
I have a Certificate of Completion. I want to thank you for that also. Now I am discipling a new person in the Alpha Prison Ministries.
I am very grateful for the program. To be able to learn about Jesus and in return teach a fellow inmate is a blessing.
Without your support and compassion for us, we would have never learned how to minister to those in need. Your donations for our books and study materials are greatly appreciated.
Through these studies I'm content and I have a great peace I've never had in my life. God's mercy has freed my once hardened heart.
Because of your ministry, many inmates have chosen to follow Christ and his calling.
Alpha Ministries is very important to my walk with Jesus and my goal of being able to help others do the same.
Expression of Gratitude from Former Inmate
If you were at the APM Impact Night on October 9, one of the former in-mates named Dave spoke about how he “had it made” until one day his whole world came crashing down and he ended up in prison. He wrote this expression of his gratitude for APM in an email:
What an awesome privilege to witness the hand of God moving through Alpha and its volunteers. Praise God for being so good—a good Father using you for all eternity's sake. If what God has done in my life through this ministry is the only tangible result, then this one man will live forever in unending gratitude. Wives thank you, parents thank you, children thank you.
Alpha Prison Ministries' Finances, January-September 2017
Total $ Income: 51,717.04
Total $ Expense: 73,996.58
Net $ Income: -22,279.54
Unless otherwise noted,
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)
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