Monday, February 28, 2011

When Mama is in prison

Over 2 million children have a parent behind bars.
As the population in U.S. prisons grows, so too does the number of children with incarcerated parents.  Over 2 million children have a parent behind bars. Three quarters of all incarcerated women are mothers. In the last 20 years, the number of children with a father in prison has increased by over 75%.*

The average age of children with an incarcerated parent is eight years old; 22 percent of the children are under the age of five.*

...Parental incarceration can expose children to a multitude of risk factors. These include material hardship and internalized feelings of fear, shame, and grief. Children of incarcerated parents often have difficulty controlling aggressive, self-destructive, and disruptive behaviors.
For the most part, we've found the incarcerated parent (often locked up for non-violent, poverty related crimes, or not guilty but with inadequate legal defense) wants to be empowered to care for their children, even behind bars.

Many times kids get farmed out while the custodial parent is in jail, often losing connection to their neighborhood, and unnecessarily to their school.

The correctional system in its current form fails to acknowledge the needs of the children of those it incarcerates. Parents are regularly sent to prisons far away from their homes, making family visits difficult if not impossible. Prison visiting rooms are typically uninviting for children, and many prisoners are not allowed to have contact visits - children are not able to hug, kiss, or hold the hand of their parents. Further, most states provide little to no resources for children upon the incarceration of their parents.

It is imperative, for the good of both the families whom incarceration directly impacts as well as the communities from whence they come, that policy makers seek to address these issues now.*

At Hope Aglow, we pray with mothers and encourage them to stay in touch with their children with letter writing and especially prayer.  Imagine if you were a young girl and your mother was locked up. It's frightening and very difficult for the children, who cannot fully understand.

Please pray for these kids, and all the parents in jail.

2* Wendy Jason-Support  for Children of Incarcerated Parents
3 * Children of incarcerated parents fact-sheet

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Garry Sims - the Director of Hope Aglow

Garry doing what he does best.
Pray for Garry. He puts in a lot of miles, and shakes hands with lots of people every day, spreading the message of freedom in Christ for the captives through Hope Aglow.

Garry is on his way to South Carolina this weekend to visit his twin brother Terry who  is in the hospital.  He was diagnosed with terminal cancer this week.

Pray for Garry, his family and especially for Terry. At times like these the body of Christ should come alongside to encourage and strengthen each other. We are all in this broken, disease infected world together until the day when Christ calls each one of us home.

Until then, we press on- trusting Christ to help us, and He does. Thanks be to God.  Garry- we are praying for you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"they look at us like animals in a cage, like we don't deserve another chance"

How the reward of being able to play football helps these incarcerated young men feel respected. It's prison reform at it's finest.

Every saved person owes the gospel to every lost person

If we claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we must do what he has called us to do. We are called to share the gospel with anyone who has not heard it. We who believe, haven’t cornered the market on the amazing grace of God.

How many men and women are incarcerated in America? Two million, three hundred eighty one thousand, two hundred seventy six. 2,381,276.

How many of them need to hear the gospel? How many of you have even seen the inside of a jail, or would be willing to talk to an inmate?  We owe Christ to the world, from the least convicted pedophile in prison, to the greatest guy in our own neighborhood.

At Hope Aglow we are keenly aware of the shortage of "witnesses", yet we have a burden. We have always been committed to the task of prison evangelism. We share the gospel, develop a relationship with the inmates, pray with them, counsel them and offer them the only hope there is in this life, the hope of Jesus. 

Imagine you are a young mother, perhaps you have made some very bad decisions. Maybe you were poor, desperate, and raised in a home with no love or authority and now you find yourself in a cell, alone in the middle of thousands of other angry, hopeless women. 

A Christian volunteer tells you God loves you, that Jesus Christ can free you from the bondage of your sin and you can be truly free no matter your location. This mission field includes millions and is growing daily. If you are unwilling, or unable would you be willing to send us, as missionaries to this field? Every human alive is precious to their Creator. God is not willing that any should perish. We are invited and privileged to share the life giving message and will gladly be your representative as you support us prayerfully and financially.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The mission field called JAIL

If one part suffers all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad! All of you together are Christ's body and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:26

This is the very essence of Hope Aglow. This is what the fruit of prison evangelism produces. We are so honored to be missionaries in this vast country of over two million three hundred thousand.

We take the gospel into jails and prisons, we send Bible studies, Bibles and devotional materials. We have many volunteers who partner with us who are burdened to share with the lost men and women incarcerated, and the thriving body of believers who are in prison today. We are their church.

Commended for hard work

Feeling very proud!

Receiving a study Bible from Hope Aglow, and a certificate of completion

Nice job!