Wherever He Leads I’ll Go

Women are daughters, wives, mothers, sisters and friends, yet it is our relationship with our Heavenly Father that identifies who we are and how we live. In Tasmania’s prisons there are over a dozen Christians who have felt called by God to visit female inmates, sharing their lives and the message of the Gospel to the broken-hearted – the mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and friends in prison. We are privileged to share with them the boundless grace of God and the forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ to those who would turn to Him in faith.

They are involved in craft groups, art classes, mentoring, church services, letter writing, administrating Angel Tree Christmas presents, Happy Birthday program, Camp for Kids and post-release support to enable Prison Fellowship to bless as many women, children and families as possible. Our supporters in local churches are a very valuable link for inmate’s families to our Christian community, delivering presents and fostering relationships.

Karin Becker, a volunteer with Prison Fellowship, reflects on her journey:

As a volunteer with Prison Fellowship in Tasmania for the past five years, I thank God for the fulfilment of a desire to share the Gospel in the local community, in this case with those in the prison. The words of Jesus concerning the anointing he received from the Father “to bind up the broken hearted and set captives free” have always stirred my heart and spirit.  However, God often surprises us regarding the outworking of a call. Not only were they physical prisoners but like everyone else prisoners of sin and Jesus had come to set them free as well.

It was not until early retirement that I was asked to join Prison Fellowship.   Amazingly all the five women I have had the privilege of mentoring asked that I share about God with them so our times were spent primarily around discovering God and understanding salvation.

I have so many wonderful stories to share. My focus is friendship evangelism – building trust with people – it’s not just jumping in and sharing the Gospel. We build a foundation of trust over a couple of years.

On one occasion I was working alongside another Prison Fellowship volunteer in our weekly craft group when a representative from Crossroads Bible Institute arrived at the prison. I decided to go along and listen to him give an evangelistic talk to the women. I noticed that many of them were not interested in attending; they were sitting outside on the benches. But I said to them, “Look, I’m going in to listen to this talk, do you want to come?” They deliberated, and because they knew me, they decided to come in with me. The speaker gave a great talk and when asked for a response, seven or eight women agreed to engage in a Bible study in the prison!

One of the women who I met for regular Bible studies was Michelle. I’ve noticed a huge change in her attitude towards life and other people, and she was baptised in the prison by the Anglican Bishop of Tasmania. She is now doing a survey of the whole Bible on salvation; she works to a very high standard embracing very powerfully the concepts of the Christian faith.

As workers in God’s field of Prison Fellowship we build upon the foundation of the many people who have ministered faithfully before us, and reap where they have sown.  We give glory to God for increasing favour and opening doors as His love is spread abroad within the Prison walls and beyond.

Please pray for opportunities for the gospel to impact the lives of women in prison, and for meaningful connections with mentors and local churches providing family and post-release support. Pray for husbands, wives, carers, parents and children this new year – that they may be supported and cared for and come to know Jesus as the one who renews all things.

– Lisa Haynes, Prison Fellowship volunteer

“I have been really been blessed by the years spent mentoring women in the prison.”