We serve the support needs of students of New Life Prison Ministries after their release from prison.
As tough as life can be for men and women who are incarcerated, things often don’t get a lot easier and can, in fact, be more challenging for them when they return to the community.
At New Life Prison Ministries we want to be available to support our students when they are released and begin their new lives as “returnees”. Many of them have come to know Jesus and trust him for the first time while incarcerated or, have been reconciled to Him during their time in prison.
The reality is that many of the returnees are ill equipped for the challenges they will face when they come back into society. Lost identification papers, safe and affordable housing, income support, counselling, employment, medical needs, mental health issues, addictions, all the way down to such basic needs as food and clothing: all are areas of potential discouragement and difficulty. Having someone or even better, a team of people who can point them in the right direction, pray for them and meet and listen to them as they share their struggles is extremely helpful.
If you are recently released from prison and looking for support, contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out this website for possible resources in your area- as new information is being added regularly.
In 1982, correspondence courses were made available to respond to the hunger for spiritual growth in the men and women in prison. The correspondence course program was gleaned from an existing curriculum of international Bible courses, along with other sources, and adapted for use in Canadian institutions by New Life personnel. Under the godly and visionary leadership of Gerrit and Susan Blok (1980-2014), the ministry grew rapidly as incarcerated New Life students spread the Bible courses throughout the prison system and requests for both programs and courses spread quickly! Inquiries were soon received from numerous chaplains and offenders across Ontario and eventually throughout Canada. God blessed the work, and lives were changed for eternity. Enough cannot be said about the important part played by the Blok's who, through their sacrificial and dedicated service, were used by God to build New Life Prison Ministries into the fruitful and influential ministry it has become. Their complementary spiritual gifts allowed them to manage New Life in such a way so that presently there are few correctional institutions that are not involved with New Life Prison Ministries through correspondence courses or the Christian DVD ministry.
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A critically important aspect of the work is to try and help men and women get connected to a church or faith community where they can both grow in their faith and also find ways of giving back and serving God. Loneliness is a real enemy of the returnee and many poor or destructive decisions come about because of a need to escape it.
Psalm 68:3 states that, “God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing.” (NIV)
As Christians we are to be hospitable. That is what Paul writes to the church in Romans 12:13(NIV):
“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
The parable that Jesus told, known as the Good Samaritan, showed us what being hospitable looks like as the man responded to the needs of his neighbour, even at a cost to himself. As Christians we have a real opportunity to be used by God to be safe “family” for those truly seeking to live new lives in Christ. Are there risks? Of course there are. Loving in Jesus’ name usually means risk in one form or another. Common sense and counsel from people in the know are important to insure that unnecessary chances aren’t being taken. If you have any doubts or questions, contact us at email@example.com and we can talk with you about resources and training to minimize any threat.
At New Life Prison Ministries we are also interested in connecting with other Christian groups and churches who are involved in aftercare for returnees and in building a network of ministries across Canada, willing to work together, to share experiences and learning. If you are part of a group like that, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can be a referring ministry, pointing men and women in your direction should they re-locate to your area. There is no point duplicating services if a good job is already being done in a city or town by another ministry or church.