Helping and Enriching Lives Through Prison Ministry

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This quarter marks the beginning of my ninth year


Dear Supporters, Brethren and Friends,

This quarter marks the beginning of my ninth year of doing the Lord’s work in the prisons full time. This work has been more than I ever imagined it could be. I have learned so much more about myself and the human condition. I sit down every week with men individually and in group settings and I teach and I listen. I have learned that most people will tell us what their problems are if we will just listen. It is easy to dismiss others before we have listened to them (Prov. 18:13). There is always another side to the story. Too many times in my life I have jumped headlong into decisions and judgments before hearing the other side of the story. I thought I would share some of the things I have heard from the men I talk to.

The world’s response to hurt is to hurt others. All of the men I talk to have learned to hurt others because they have been hurt. There are no exceptions to this that I have

encountered in prison or out of prison for that matter. The degree of hurt to others is varied, but we all become offenders, in part, because we have all been offended. Christ really offers a different way to handle the hurt done to us and the hurt we have done to others. God’s plan for handling hurt is unique in a hurting world.

We are all self-deceived. Satan is the father of deceit and lies (John 8:44). I listen to men all the time talk about how much they love their children for instance, all the while they were doing things that were destroying their lives. They really believe what they say. It is shocking for them to hear from me that our actions, our fruits, show whether we love or not, and their actions have shown they have not loved their children. That is hard for a man to see when he has held onto his delusion for many years. The more I listen the more I hear that without the light of God’s word in our lives we are fooling ourselves.

Secular education and vocation is not the solution. I encourage men that I work with to pursue a better education and better vocational training, but these are not the solutions to their troubled lives. Most men are overly concerned about what kind of job they will be able to get after prison. You can hear it when they talk about things they worry about. I ask them frequently if they had a job before they came to prison, and by far most of them did. You see a corrupt character can overwhelm any amount of education or job skills we can acquire. Yes men need a job after prison. No, most men don’t come to prison because they can’t find a job. I have never had a man come to our program that couldn’t find a job, but I have had many men fail even though they had good jobs. A man must change who he is before education and vocation matter.

Sin has ravished our world. I can’t begin to tell you the things I hear every week about how these men have been hurt and have hurt others. It is not unusual for me to hear about drug and alcohol use, explicit sexual exposure, and violence before they reached the age of 10 years old. I have to be honest, I hear it so much that it doesn’t touch me emotionally the way it used to, but it is still disturbing. Most men don’t come into our talks with the intention of talking about such things, but they almost always come out if I listen.

The gospel is the only hope these men have. Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 1:18…

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.19For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Thanks for supporting my efforts to bring the wisdom of God to men in prison. I hope you will listen carefully as I say to you how much your support has meant to this effort.

Daryl Townsend