Dear Supporting Friends,
God keeps doing things in this realm of ministering to corrections officers—we have to get this letter out before our hearts get any more full! Maybe in the future we should write it as things happen so as to more effectively capture and convey the depth of what we see our great God performing.
Having a supply of Bibles to meet the requests is such a blessing! Thank you for your generous and consistent financial support. In the month of July 737 Bibles were placed in the hands of corrections officers! 280 of them were requested by individuals and mailed out; the rest were among those we had the privilege to personally transport to Kentucky and Virginia.
Warden Litteral at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex allowed us to hand out Bibles to custody staff at all three shift changes in one day, during our visit last month. Due to the way a prison operates, it is not possible to see all the corrections officers in one day; the warden assured us that she would take the Bibles that remained to roll call and hand them out personally to those who were not on duty while we were there. This is remarkable and speaks well of her regarding her care for her staff and her commitment as a Christian. We had the opportunity to interact with several individual officers, and we were well-received.
As you know, we were set to travel on to Red Onion State Prison in Viginia as well. Due to a visit from the governor, we were unable to go inside this prison. However, the 180 Bibles for officers were securely delivered into the hands of a Christian Lieutenant who is on-fire for the Lord. He recently reported to us that several Bible studies have started since the officers have received their Bibles. Glory to God!
Ministering to officers and their families is definitely our heart and passion. The wife of an officer from a southern state reached out to us for help. She told us that as she dialed the number, knowing it was late, she was hoping someone would answer! Please pray for this lady and her husband, as corrections work has taken its toll on their marriage. If the Lord would arrange it, we would like to meet with them personally when we travel to Louisiana State Penitentiary this winter.
At the end of the month, we were able to return to Potosi Correctional Complex for a daytime visit. Travel time to the institution from our home is about two hours. We were on site from 6:30am until 11:45am, armed with “jungle drop” items. Understand, the staff receives us extremely well, but there is something overwhelmingly taxing and oppressive about working in the corrections environment—every little bit of encouragement or thoughtfulness a person can give is useful, even if it doesn’t appear so on the surface. As second shift assembled, we were able to greet them in the briefing room with a simple gesture of kindness (a bag of M&Ms with a small note attached), a smile, and an expression of gratitude for their service. During this time, an officer who appeared skeptical during previous visits, accepted a Bible, tract, and Scripture card! Wondrous! As those staff members went on duty, we got to stand in an area everyone passes through and greet the first shift crew with this little unexpected treat as they were coming off duty. We pray God would continue to use these little things to warm the hearts and earn the trust of those we seek and care for.
Since we were there on a week day, we had the chance to meet and minister to some administrative staff, including the leader of the PACT group. This is a team we are part of that is designed to meet staff needs after critical incidents. God has arranged and allowed interaction with a particular officer during our last two visits that has afforded us insight into some serious personal struggles. Please pray for him, as we perceive that he could easily turn into a corrections officer suicide statistic. It is our desire for him to understand that he is able to reach out to us.
Right now, as a result of a Bible that was requested and sent out to an officer in Lexington Fayette County Detention Center in Kentucky, we are preparing 353 Bibles, tracts, and Scripture cards to be personally delivered next week! God truly knows no bounds or limits! The impact of one person can be immense! Thanks be to God! We are scheduled to arrive prior to morning shift change and personally hand out Bibles to corrections officers! A tour of the facility and a meeting with administration is set to follow and then the time will end at the next shift change, as another group of officers are personally met. This is a thrill to us! Your prayers for this time of travel and interaction are appreciated! It will be a short turn around due to work demands.
Pressures among officers continue, whether the facility is large or small, where they report to duty each day fully knowing that there are no hopes of it getting better. A seasoned officer told us recently, “This place wears on you and makes you tired, even when it’s not busy.” Thank you for your investment in the lives of these men and women. May we continue to remind you, it is making a difference! Our records show 5,552 Bibles and counting! Wondrous! Thank you for your support for this and the many things other things that cannot be counted!
Caring for the Corrections Officer,
Marvin and Jacqueline Jackson