Since retiring from his career as a social worker, Bill Folkerts decided to volunteer with Prison Fellowship because he has a heart for seeing inmates get a second chance. The opportunity presented itself when he helped to wrap Angel Tree presents at Christmas in 2015. For the past 12 months Bill has been able to visit the prison and meet one-to-one with inmates, in the hope to reach out to people suffering in difficult circumstances.
Last year Bill met with Greg* a few times. Greg has teenage children and was upset that he couldn’t be home for his daughter’s 16th birthday. In discussions about this, Greg gave an off-hand comment to Bill, “as they say, the truth will set you free.” But when asked about this, Greg said that he didn’t know where the saying came from. This comment led to a conversation about the Bible and Christian faith. As a result, Greg received his own copy of the Bible – please pray that Greg meets Jesus as he reads God’s Word.
In 2017, Prison Fellowship was presented with many exciting possibilities, including a new opportunity for Bill and another volunteer, Wolfgang, to visit the men’s medium-security prison once a fortnight to join a group in their activities session, accompanied by the recreation officer. This has enabled the volunteers to chat with a couple of inmates who they would not normally be able to visit, while making cards for family members and any other programmed activity. However, the last three occasions Bill and Wolfgang have been unable to gain access to the prison. There are other avenues for ministry opening up – last year The Prisoner’s Journey course was run in the men’s prison and many new volunteers have now been trained to run this evangelistic course again in 2017. Please pray for the organisation of these courses to run smoothly, and for this opportunity to be taken up by many inmates in Tasmania.
Please pray that obstacles in the way of Prison Fellowship visits will be removed, and that working alongside these men during their programmed activities will bring forth deep discussions about life and faith. Pray that the hope that Prison Fellowship volunteers have in Christ will shine forth. Please pray for more male volunteers to step up in faith to mentor and encourage, and for male inmates to have good role models and supporters as these men cope with life on the inside and are challenged to make good choices post-release. We give thanks for new opportunities in Tasmania to journey alongside inmates and minister together with fellow workers–in-Christ in the prison system.
-Lisa Haynes – Prison Fellowship TAS Volunteer