Helping and Enriching Lives Through Prison Ministry

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It seems like 2013 just got here


Dear Supporters, Brethren and Friends,

It seems like 2013 just got here, but the first quarter is already over. I want to take some time in this report to share with you about a faithful volunteer who worked with us for five years at Lawtey CI. She passed away on February 9. June Townsend – my mother.

Mom began coming to prison with me for our Sunday afternoon worship service at Lawtey CI the first year we began there. She was only 83 at the time! Mom had five boys so she felt right at home in prison with all the guys. It wasn’t long until all the men there began to refer to her as Momma June. You didn’t get out of the service without a hug from Mom even though the officers sometimes chided her. Mom’s mind was still good then and she would greet many of the men by name and began to write to 20 or so men at Lawtey and at other institutions that I worked at. She was a source of great encouragement to the men there and to me. She had a unique quality that made the men feel like she genuinely loved them – because she really did. On many occasions she would call me and say “I got a letter from so and so and I’m concerned about him. You need to go and see him.” She also opened her home to the guys after release. I can’t tell you how many men ate lunch at mom’s house after they got out of prison. She even held a wedding ceremony in her home for a former inmate and his fiancée after his release from prison. She showed the love of Jesus to so many men who felt like they didn’t deserve love. After her death, there were so many men that informed me of what she meant to them. As one inmate serving a life sentence put it in a letter to me…

“From the depth of my heart sweet lady you will be forever loved. I will give continual thanks to God for you and so look forward to being reunited with you in our eternal home. Your kindness, example and love shines through us all.”

I learned a lot about love from my mom. I learned a lot about service from her. I am glad I got to share the prison work with her the last few years of her life. Those will be cherished memories that I will have until I join her in eternity. Many of us will miss her.

This work depends on so many people helping in so many different ways. Our latest addition to the transition program, Daniel Eubanks is an example of this. We baptized Daniel a year ago in January at Lawtey CI. However, he was transferred a short time

later down to Polk CI near Plant City. It just so happened (God’s Providence) that Steve Truby, a brother that volunteers in prisons down there, was teaching a class at Polk. Steve followed up with Daniel and Daniel faithfully attended Steve’s classes. Steve helped Daniel stay focused and gave me confidence to accept him into our transition program. Daniel was released in early March. In fact, after picking Daniel up on a Sunday morning, we worshipped with Steve and his wife Connie that morning at the congregation they attend. The congregation there gave Daniel a warm welcome at his first worship service with God’s people in the free world. Afterward, Steve and Connie had us over for a welcome to freedom dinner for Daniel. Steve’s love and sacrifice for men behind the fence allowed Daniel to be a part of our transition program. Steve works a full time job and volunteers by teaching classes in prison on his day off.

Thank God for men like Steve, women like my mom, and people like you who support this work. We share in the fruits of changed lives together. Thank you for trusting me by supporting my work.

God Bless us together as we submit to Him!

Daryl Townsend