The Children and Youth ministers of Asbury bought presents for the children who visit their fathers at the prison. 27 men requested presents for 57 children who received their gifts on December 10,11,17 and 18. The first reports are of how much the children enjoyed their gifts. The fathers said they could not believe we would do such a wonderful thing by helping them celebrate Christmas with their children.
Our Church has bought clothes for 210 men who got out of the prison in 2016. Otherwise many of them would not have clothes to wear home since their clothes were lost or to small for them when they leave. The Warden thinks what we do with the clothes and gifts helps the men want to stay out of prison. They tell me that the receptive rate at our unit is about 20% , which is the lowest in the state.
We also gave the prison 1,500 stamped envelopes in order for the ones who do not have money to write home. If we can keep the men connected to their families, they are more apt to remain free once they get out.
All of the ministries at the prison have been responsible for us baptizing 67 men so far this year. There will be another baptism service on December 30th.
On Christmas Eve, we will hold a Candlelight/Communion service and then feed the men a BBQ supper and give all 162 men a Christmas present of a note pad, pen, pair of socks, 3 stamped envelopes, and candy and cakes. We are the only prison that can use candles in the unit.
We do this ministry with the help of Pulaski Heights and Maumelle United Methodist Churches. There are 8 volunteers that go to the prison on the 1st and 4th Sunday nights each month. The Asbury Prison Praise Band plays at the prison on the 4th Sunday nights. We average about 135 men each time we are at the prison.
We also won the best Faith Based ministry in The Community Correction prison system in Arkansas for 2016!
Thank you, Asbury, for your continued support of this ministry! If you would like to get involved, please contact Joe Wilkerson!
By: Joe Wilkerson