What do you do and why you love this ministry?
We serve with Prison Fellowship (PF) as Lead Volunteers in Stillwater MCF, Stillwater, MN. The program of 12 volunteers focuses on reentry to community from prison. We lead 10 others in a varied curriculum of 12 subjects geared toward critical thinking, boundaries, communication skills, and positive community interaction. Participation by the men in this program doesn't require that the individuals be Christian. It's not a Bible study.
Judy: I love the changes I’ve witnessed God perform in people society labels irredeemable living in a situation that neither rehabilitates nor teaches change of thinking. We bring God’s message. The men who apply to attend this program seek changed attitude and model positive behavior to those around them.
Dave: I learned long ago that prison was changing no one. Basically we were making better criminals. God is the only one who brings about change of heart. We teach both Christian and secular material that gives the men the tools to reach out to other men in the prison who we can’t reach. They better themselves and those around them. It is wonderful to see the change in these men.
How long have you been doing this ministry?
* We’ve done in-prison programs 1985 to present or 31 years. We have been affiliated with Kairos/Charis of Minnesota, Missionary Evangelism to Corrections (MEC), and Prison Fellowship.
What days and Times do you Serve?
* Tuesdays and Thursdays 6 of our volunteers go in to facilitate a 90 minute class of approximately 30 men. We are Tuesday volunteers but occasionally fill in on Thursdays during vacation or illness. Processing volunteers begins at 6:30 pm, class time is 7:00-8:30 pm.
What would you like a person wanting to try out your ministry to know?
* This is a ministry to men incarcerated for a variety of crimes and length of sentence. We encourage them to consider the community in which they are forced to live as their mission field by modeling productive and moral behavior to other offenders/inmates. The person is as God sees, not as society sees and they are treated as such.
* You may visit 2 times after a background check and acceptance by the Department of Corrections (DOC). Information needed is your: Full Name, Date of Birth, and ID or Driver’s License.
* If you decide you would like to continue as a volunteer, there is training to complete with both the DOC and PF. After being accepted as a volunteer and placed in the system, the DOC requires an initial 2 hour orientation plus a yearly 1 hour follow-up.
Dave and Judy McElyea
(Grace Sets Prisoners Free)