“When did we see you in prison and not visit you? Inasmuch as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it unto me.” That’s what Jesus says in the powerful 25th chapter of Matthew. These words from Jesus have always carried extra weight because they came near the end of his life.
A few weeks ago we hosted a “town hall” type meeting featuring three of our local, elected leaders. One of them, Sen. Steve Dickerson—when asked how our churches might collaborate with government agencies to solve pressing issues—said assisting with the re-entry of formerly incarcerated persons would be an enormous help.
Several years ago, a group of folks from our church began a “pen pal” ministry with incarcerated women. Over those years, relationships have been built and hope has been offered to those who didn’t have much hope.
Recently, Joy Moore—one of our congregation members—told me about her pen pal Shelley Breeden. They have been pen pals for 8 years! Shelley has just recently been released and is living in Jackson, TN. Allow me to share Joy’s message to me:
“My pen pal, Shelley Breeden, has been my pal for about 8 years now. I truly consider her a to be a friend. In our letters we shared our interests such as flower gardening, love of animals—especially dogs—and good recipes and favorite foods. We shared every holiday and birthday with cards and hers were always beautifully handmade. She has always been positive and spiritual. While incarcerated she found God and is now a true believer. In prison she was a tutor and a mentor. She spent most of her adult life in prison. But as of February 2019 she is finally out!! She is living in Jackson, TN and is going through the slow process of acclimating to society. She is trying her hand at selling Avon as a start. Please pray for Shelley’s success and happiness. She has been such a JOY to me!”
For me, this is what church looks like—a follower of Jesus steps outside their comfort zone to be in relationship with one of the least of these.
Does this sound like something you’d like to try? If so, please let us know. We can help you get started.
And if you happen to use Avon products, maybe you can get in touch with Shelley through Joy.