USA (MNN) — While incarceration remains a “hot topic” for Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Biblica is focusing on the jailhouse mission field.
With their help, inmates like “Jesse” — who’s facing a long prison sentence for murder — are starting a new chapter.
“In the last eight years, I’ve grown in the grace and knowledge of God’s Word,” Jesse shares in recent communications with Biblica.
“He’s called me to preach the Gospel, to witness to the lost inside and outside of this prison. A raging, roaring river of Living Water gushes forth from my innermost being. Praise God!”
Incarceration and political strategy
Winning the votes of African American citizens is a high priority for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, this year’s Presidential candidates for the Democratic Party.
Primary elections are currently underway in the U.S. In each location they visit, Clinton and Sanders each try to “shore up” support from the black populace.
Though candidates differ in their approach to bettering social and economic life for African Americans, “both talk about issues like reducing mass incarceration rates and improving relationships with the police,” BBC News reports.
The subject of certain groups’ outrage, black incarceration rates are statistically higher than those of white Americans. According to the NAACP, African Americans comprise nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population.
African Americans also commit more crimes that lead to incarceration. As detailed here, 38.5% of people arrested for murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault between 2011 and 2013 were black.
Incarceration: a mission field
Currently holding the world’s second-highest incarceration rate, the U.S. prison population has increased 500%since the 1980s. With over 2 million people behind bars, the prison system has become one of the United States’ largest mission fields.
Biblica has been involved in prison ministry since 1815. More recently they partnered with Prison Fellowship to create an easy-to-read Bible called “Free on the Inside” that speaks specifically to prison inmates. Jesse’s life is one of the many transformed and redeemed through God’s Word.
Jesse recently shared the following testimony with Biblica:
“From the age of 10, I was brutally and sexually abused. It changed my life in a drastic way. My childhood secret, drug use, and violent lifestyle led me to a very distorted view of love. At 43, I ended up in prison for killing someone.
“But in a jail cell eight years ago, I picked up a Bible; and Jesus spoke to my heart. He asked me if I was tired of running from my pain and my childhood. As I read the Scriptures, in Romans it told me that God demonstrated His love for me in that while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me. The Spirit of God convicted me that I was a sinner in need of a Savior, Jesus His Son! As the Holy Spirit brought my every sin to my remembrance, I repented and confessed my sins one by one.
“The next time my mama came into jail to see her boy, she didn’t recognize me. I said, ‘It’s me, Mama.’ We stood there and let our hands touch through that thick glass, and we couldn’t do anything but cry there together. I told my sweet mama I’d met Jesus and He had come into my heart and saved me. She said, ‘I knew you had – I could see Him in your eyes!’”
More than 1 million copies of “Free on the Inside” have been distributed to inmates. With your help, Biblica can reach even more U.S. prisoners with the hope of Christ.