Is. 55:11

In the last year we spent over $20,000 sending correspondence Bible Study Courses to Ohio Prisons.

Question: Do they do any good?

Last week our area grading coordinator, Mary Mast, forwarded this note that was attached to a Bible Study that she graded:

“In Nov. 2013 we had a family gathering- my mom got into an argument with my brother and it got out of control to the point that I saw my brother commit suicide right in front of me. My brother (who was my best friend) is gone. My mom never liked me and I couldn't cope- so I went for alcohol- then I shot my mother because she “killed” my brother with words that hurt too bad for him to cope.

Since my mother never liked me anyway, I shot her. My 15 and 17 year old daughters begged me not to do it, but with all the alcohol in my system, I did it in a flash. Now my life is changed forever.

While in this prison, I found the Lord through this [Gospel Echoes] Bible course. Now I have Christ and I have peace.

Please pray that my two daughters and my husband are protected and will find Christ as well.

I'm in for 15 years to life. But I have Christ.”

Well, a little bit late, but at least this woman now has an Anchor; a Governor;.. something besides her own will and out-of-control anger to help guide her life. And if she continues her studies in the Bible and develops into a mature Christian, when (if) she gets out, she will be a productive citizen instead of a threat or a burden to society.

Forty years ago Marv Beachy saw prisoners handing old cigarette packages with hand written Bible verses on them through the bars, from cell to cell, because they had no other paper to write on. He vowed right there in that prison cell block to see what he could do to provide Bible Study material for inmates. Over the next 40 years he provided the “Home Bible Study Course” that was offered on the old radio program, “The Mennonite Hour.” After that program no longer aired, he obtained the copywrite for the studies, adapted them for prisons, and last year alone, over 130,000 studies were printed at the Gospel Echoes print shop in Goshen, Indiana! I called the Echoes office to ask how many courses may have been sent out since that day forty years ago. The conservative estimate: over three million!

Common Ground Ministries (me) conducts 50-70 prison chapel services a year. We also go to churches, camps, banquets, secular events... but I'm starting to think that the most productive and effective thing we do may be sending God's word behind prison walls through these Correspondance Bible Study Courses!

“His word is living and active, sharper than a two edged sword, able to divide soul and spirit, bone and marrow; it judges the thought and intentions of the heart.” Heb. 4:12

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Ps. 119:105

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim. 3:16

Common Ground Ministries

John was singing in a country western band at the time of his conversion in 1972. God changed his desire for stardom in Nashville to minitstry.

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Address: Box 178
 Berlin, Ohio 44610
(330) 674-2274
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