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“You have changed my life!” The volunteers giving hope to inmates through The Prisoner’s Journey

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The Prisoner’s Journey takes a whole-person approach to rehabilitation, coupling self-development with an introduction to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But just as important as the content of TPJ are the volunteers who facilitate the course.

For Nikki*, TPJ was more than just an eye-opening experience, it was a turning point in her life. “Session 6 changed my life. All of a sudden, I started to open my heart, and I learnt to believe. The 3 teachers were very knowledgeable, which made it enjoyable and easy to learn. Thank you – you have changed my life!” 

Our volunteer facilitators undergo careful training and planning before the course begins, and they work hard to deliver it with patience, wisdom, and empathy. As Brian* says, “I believe that the facilitators are literally a God-send. Their patience, compassion, and understanding is inspiring!” 

For Dan*, the impact of gentle, well-trained facilitators was felt throughout the course. “I feel that our class was very lucky to have great facilitators that came out to teach us about Jesus and the Good News. I would recommend TPJ to other inmates because even if it just helps one person, it would be worth it! Before I came to jail, I already wanted to change my life, and since being in prison, TPJ has been a massive support for me. I found having a different perspective on life really helpful. It was good to think about a better way to conduct myself. I really enjoyed the class discussions about Jesus and how he has positively affected us all in different ways.”  

Session six is an important part of the course for facilitators and participants alike. Focussing on the story of the rich man who cannot face giving up his wealth for Christ in Mark 10, this session asks the question, How do I get eternal life? It is an introduction to God’s grace, which we cannot earn in our own strength. It is a free gift that we must choose to accept. By the end of session 6, participants have grappled with questions like “Jesus says only God is good. What does that mean for us?” and, “The man in the story had lived a respectable life. Why was this not enough for him to gain eternal life.” Ultimately, session six teaches that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves – God alone can save us. With so many inmates struggling with shame and regret, it’s no surprise that this message of grace is life-changing. 

As Brian reflects, “Some of the stories on the videos were confronting but in a personally challenging and rewarding way. I had already made the decision to follow God before I did TPJ. I really enjoyed sharing our experiences of God. It was really helpful to build connections with the other attendees on the course and to hear their viewpoints. I feel many prisoners would find true joy in the teachings of the Bible and the interactions with the facilitators.”  

It’s clear from Brian, Nikki, and Dan that our volunteers are an integral part of the TPJ experience! Thank you to all our volunteers in prisons, and to our supporters who enable our volunteers with gifts and prayers. 

*Names have been changed 

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