The summer of2012 is behind us and for SOCPM it was a fruitful and blessed summer and as we are well into fall we look forward to God's continued blessings.
SOCPM begins a 3rd year at Sheridan, a 2nd year at Dixon and an ongoing partnership with New Life Corrections where will be partaking in SOCPM's 16th 2-day "Transforming Incarcerated Dads" seminar and a 5th year of grading Bible lessons.
The highlights of this edition of The Barbed Wire are Bittersweet Good-byes, SOCPM's new web site and some changes coming to the content and frequency of The Barbed Wire.
A humbled blessing was my ordination as a Minister of the Gospel on August 26th. Who'd ever think that this burnout barfly would become an ordained minister of the Gospel? Only by God's grace and the death of Jesus Christ did it happen.
May He be glorified,
Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
Bittersweet & Long Good-byes
One of the biggest challenges if not the biggest is saying goodbye to a student once he is paroled. Although it no doubt is a very blessed and happy event for the student, soon to be former inmate, it is bittersweet for me. This is especially true if the student has participated in a SOCPM class for any length of time. With SOCPM's presence in Sheridan having passed the 3-yr. mark this past August, all of the 1st year students have been paroled as have a majority of the 2nd year students. Some of the latter continued taking SOCPM courses into this year but have recently been paroled or will be in the near future.
For this soft-hearted guy a lot of these students become friends. However, due to prison policies which forbid contact while the former inmates are on parole, for all practical purposes for me it's a bittersweet & long goodbye. It feels perhaps the way a 1st grade teacher feels when her former students head to jr. high. Though these guys are grown men, God has forever stored them in my heart.
I'd be remiss if I didn't share my goodbyes with the many of you who have prayed for them: Andre, Anthony, Antoine, Christopher, Jacob, James, John, Jon, Miguel, Robert. Rodney, Terry, Zahn and many more. Thanks for the memories guys, God bless and do good!
SOCPM's New Web Site
The new and improved SOCPM web page is here!
It debuted on September 18th and SOCPM gives a heartfelt thanks to Dave & Rebekah Lewis of theWebThing.com.
Though I am one who is in to all the latest and greatest of media technology, my computer skills have fallen in the 'no longer can be seen' past of DOS and HTML.
Tweaks are still taking place but some of the pages
currently in place include the home page with SOCPM's most current happenings, SOCPM's mission & vision
statements, statements of belief, student prayer
requests and inmate prayer request from other prison ministries, a calendar of activities and more.
Visitors can hook-up and follow SOCPM on Facebook and Twitter, and connect to us on Linkedin.
Ideas are being reviewed for future pages to include a picture gallery, recommended reads on both prison ministry and theology, a SOCPM blog, online giving and more.
Anyone who has ever spent more then a couple of hours with me knows that to verbally share what God is doing in SOCPM is easy peasy for me, but to share the same through writing is a challenge. This is especially true when it comes to deciding which one or two stories I should share and then condensing them down. Having to do so on a quarterly basis is very difficult.
Beginning with this issue The Barbed Wire will be published bi-monthly (every two months) and distributed in a 1-page format through e-mail and print.
Eventually an expanded online edition with longer versions of some of the 1-page formatted stories and additional stories not included in the 1-page format will be published.
New Life Corrections Ministry Wayside Cross Ministries
215 East New York Street Aurora IL 60505
Men Needed for our "Road Teams"
"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel."
The purpose of this email is to help everyone know when they scheduled and when openings are available. You must be signed up at least 6 weeks in advance for security clearances to be obtained.
Can anyone sign up? Christian Dads, 18 and older, no felony convictions.
Your role? Leading Small Group discussions after each of the 8 classes.
COMING UP, December 3 & 4 - We're scheduled to present the Dads' Classes 2-Day Seminar to 100 inmates in the Dixon Correctional Center. Right now, we have 7 volunteer Dads to facilitate the Small Group discussions. This means about 14 inmates per Small Group. We'd like to have smaller Small Groups - maybe 7 in a group? We need some more Dads! There's room for you!
"ROAD TEAMS" TAKE OUR
GOSPEL-CENTERED "DADS' CLASSES"
TO THE MENIN THE ILLINOIS PRISONS!
On our Dads' Classes "Road Teams," we present the same Dads' Classes we have weekly in many local County Jails, but we present them in a 2-Day Seminar. We visit Prisons, where weekly classes simply are not an option for us. Our purpose is to:
Bring the Gospel to the inmates in the context of fatherhood,
Spark an interest in the men to become better Dads, break the generational cycle of crime, reduce recidivism, and
Spark an interest in the Prison Staff to welcome the year-long Malachi Dads' Program.
"Road Team" members lead small-group discussions between the classes. All class materials, even discussion questions, are provided.
We pay our own expenses (gas, motel & some meals).
Dave Haidle (Road Team member): "The majority of men in prison are fathers, and contrary to what many might think, these men are eager to be good fathers to their children. I can't think of a better investment of time than to be teaching eager men about God's perspective on fathering. It is challenging, humbling and rewarding; plus you get to know other brothers in Christ on a deeper level as you soldier together."
You may sign up for more than one trip to more than one prison.