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Reaching Prisoners in Their Own Language


John Henderson of First Christian Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa, has been teaching English-language Bible studies in the Newton
Correctional Facility for about three years. But he realized that 12 to 20 percent of the facility’s prisoners speak Spanish and needed to be reached in their own language. So the Peru native did something about it.

“I think the Lord is calling me to ministry in Spanish,” he said. So he began with a Spanish-language study of the Heidelberg Catechism and has continued with Spanish-language books from authors Rick Warren, John Maxwell, and Joyce Meyer.

“They are hungry for God’s Spirit to work there,” he said of the prisoners. “They hunger for the Bible.”

Henderson, a factory machinist, leads seven to 14 students in evening sessions, which meet one to two times a week and last two to three months. Prison Fellowship sponsors the volunteer program and the full-time day ministry.

“You love these people,” Henderson said. “They need our help. God came for people who need love. It’s a joy to go to the prison and talk about Jesus.”

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