Some people are skeptical as to whether there is any benefit that comes from prison ministries. “Jail house religion” is a term used to describe the tendency of those who are incarcerated to turn to God for help. Some people believe the changes are only superficial and temporary. While it is certainly true that some former inmates are quick to return to drugs, alcohol or other addictions, we know that some men are truly set free by Jesus Christ – and are indeed new creations.

We also recognize the need for God’s continued forgiveness for our own sinfulness, and are glad that God’s mercies are new every morning. We see God’s Spirit reaches out to the broken, the hurting, and those who recognize their own need. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. God promises we will find Him if we seek after Him with all our heart. We see God work in amazing ways in the hearts of men we encounter behind bars. These are merely a handful of true accounts of the ways the Holy Spirit has worked in the lives of men we have been blessed to know.

DANIEL ROSE: Daniel was a gang member, from Centinela State Prison, who was spending some time in the East Facility while going to court for more of his crimes. He used to sit at the telephone banks to mock and intimidate those who had lined up for church. For a while he wondered what could possibly motivate these guys to even carry a Bible, let alone spend time reading it; but it really baffled him that they could withstand his taunting and still attend church to listen to a kindly, but old Chaplain Acres dressed up ever so neatly in his suit and tie. Eventually, Daniel decided to check it out for himself. He had never heard anything like the Gospel message, so he went back again…and again. Eventually, Daniel became a follower of Jesus Christ. He read through the Prison Bible the Gideon’s so generously provide the inmates of all our 7 facilities. He also completed the Fundamentals of the Faith course and was awarded a soft-covered Macarthur Study Bible provided by Grace Community Church. He read all of the books written especially for prison inmates by Dr. James P. Gills, a world-renowned cataract surgeon, and founder/director of St. Luke’s Cataract & Laser Institute. In the 2 years that I was his chaplain, Daniel read church history, theology, and Bible study books as fast as we could included them in our library. He became the dorm prayer leader and led many men to Christ.

The Tuesday evening after Thanksgiving 2008, Daniel told me that he had enjoyed the best Thanksgiving of his life. I asked him “Why? Did they serve something special in here?” He said, “No, but my mom came to visit on Sunday, and she told me that she and dad and my older brother sat down for a turkey dinner, held hands and prayed. In my whole life we never sat down at the table together as a family and we certainly never prayed together!” Since he had been in East Max, his parents and brother had become Christians because of the testimony of his changed life. His older brother used to be his “Homie” and now he has quit running with the gangs and is going to church and working for a living.

Today Daniel is back in Centinela, and he is following Christ and being a light to the lost men in prison. Daniel is also learning Greek through correspondence with Steve Gambino, th