If you’ve ever read the Bible, you’ve probably read letters from prison. Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon were all letters written by the Apostle Paul while he was in prison for preaching the Good News of Christ.
For the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of receiving some of my own letters from prison and sending a number to prison. The correspondence has been through Prison Fellowship’s Pen Pal Program.
Prison Fellowship is a ministry founded by the once-incarcerated Chuck Colson, a former aide to President Nixon. He came to Christ prior to his time in prison and has been committed to prison reform and ministry to the incarcerated and their families ever since PF’s founding in 1976. If you've participated in the Angel Tree project that sends Christmas gifts to children of inmates, you've had some contact with Prison Fellowship.
In Hebrews 13:3 we read, “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” The Pen Pal Program provides (say that three times fast) an opportunity for Christians to minister to those in prison.
My pen pal, Jimmy, and I corresponded frequently at first then fell out of touch for a time but are back in touch again. I don’t know what he did and haven’t pried. I do know he’s about halfway through his sentence and seems to enjoy corresponding with me and taking correspondence Bible courses. His letters often contain the certificates he’s received. I try to send him interesting photos he can put up in his cell and generally try to encourage and challenge him as I can. As is the case with much ministry, I feel that I get more out of this correspondence than he does.
If you’d like to learn more about the Pen Pal program, you can contact me or see the Pen Pal FAQs at Prison Fellowship’s site.