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Light in the Darkness: Testimonies from a Prison Church


“Throughout 29 years, my only view was the hypocrisy of the world around me. I thanked God when things were good and cursed him when they were bad. It seemed as though every good thing would be trumped with something bad that was worse than the last.”

Charles Keith depicts his life before (left) and after he came to know Jesus Christ.

These are the words of Charles Keith, currently incarcerated in the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. They describe his life before he found Christ through Cornerstone Prison Church, a Christian Reformed congregation inside the penitentiary led by pastor Steve Moerman.

Keith’s words, read by his wife, Tonya, were shared at the seventh annual Cornerstone benefit banquet. Cornerstone helps men like Keith, men who didn’t know Christ, come to know him in jail.

“And so, 19 years of running in circles and 10 years of incarceration doing the same circles, God must have had enough because he placed one of his angels directly in front of me, many of his warriors around me, and a ministry to tie it all together,” Keith wrote.

He wasn’t the only one affected by his changing attitude. His wife, Tonya, already knew Christ, and now her husband does as well.

Keith is thankful for what Cornerstone has done for him and Tonya. He realizes that the ministry also has an effect on the other men in the prison. “I am grateful to the Cornerstone ministry and the Moerman family,” he said. “It is because of the time you give to God through this ministry that so many like myself find hope in a place that is dark. I have always received encouragement and guidance in learning about our Lord and the relationship that he wants us to continue to grow in. Not only have I grown in him, my marriage continues to blossom as well.”

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