USA (MNN) — Jail and prison ministries give prisoners the good news that they can be forgiven. Set Free Ministries and Forgotten Man Ministries wanted to make that message go deeper by teaming up and working in a local-to-Michigan jail.
Set Free’s Dean Vander Mey and Forgotten Man Ministries’ Bill Bruursema helped oversee the start up of the partnership.
Vander Mey says the partnership is a prayer come true.
Set Free has worked in jails in India and some in Michigan for about ten years. But the team really wanted to get involved in the Grand Rapids Kent County Jail so they could think more locally.
They prayed for years and now, with the partnership of Forgotten Man Ministries, they’re able to spread their reach.
Both ministries have witnessed transformation. They’ve seen uncommitted fathers turn into loving and honoring husbands and fathers. They’ve seen men forgive themselves and others who wronged them.
They’ve been able to share the Gospel and tell the men God loves them. Vander Mey explains that this is a defining factor because a lot of the inmates they mentor have been scarred by their fathers.
“When we don’t feel loved by our fathers, we think that maybe God the Father is the same way,” he says. “We had a heart-to-heart talk with all the guys in the God Pod…and we explained truly who God the Father was.”
Out of the roughly 75 prisoners in the God Pod, about 60% said they wanted to be “all in” and accept Christ as Lord.
“They want it. They want to be trained, they want the tools, and they want the equipping,” says VanderMey. “We are there to set captives free, and then Bill comes in with a lot of his volunteers and they do a lot of the continued discipleship.”
Bruursema explains that Forgotten Man Ministries provides chaplains for jails to oversee all the religious activities like worship services and Bible studies. They also include an intense optional program for inmates. For six hours a day, five days a week, inmates study the Gospel.
Programs typically last 10-12 weeks, and the average time a person spends in the Kent County Jail is 45 days. Forgotten Man Ministries has formed their program around the schedule.
“Our programming in the jail is created in such a manner that it constantly revolves,” Bruursema says. “If one session ends, it immediately picks up again. So if [inmates] get to Lesson 10, they’d start right over on Lesson 1.”
Both ministries are excited for the formation of the partnership and to see how it will bring change into prisoners’ lives.
They could use your support during this time of transition. “Pray for strength for the volunteers that work in the jail and for favor from the administration,” Bruursema asks.