Prison inmates can communicate their love and concern from prison to their families and friends, thanks to a greeting card ministry by New Life Prison Community in Newton, Iowa, dedicated to the men who are incarcerated in the Newton Correctional Facility.
New Life, which already holds Bible studies and prayer groups with Newton inmates, took seriously a suggestion from the prison chaplain to expand their ministry. Upwards of 200 inmates show up once a month in the prison chapel to select up to four greeting cards, which they can then send out to their families and friends.
Pastor Rick Admiraal purchases Dayspring cards for all occasions from American Rehabilitation Ministries for a minimal cost. He distributes them with help from the prison chaplain’s assistant and a few select inmates. The cards are available to inmates who are not in solitary confinement and who have money in their accounts to pay for postage.
One prisoner recently selected three mother’s day cards—for his wife, his sister, and his daughter. He explained that this is a beautiful ministry because “by sending a card, you let people know that you’re in here thinking about them. It shows that you really do love them.”
Admiraal says the prison officials are quite supportive of the card ministry and recently approached him to expand it to the minimum security prison as well.
New Life is an emerging congregation that meets in the prison. It is supported by various churches, individuals, and Classis Central Plains (the regional group of churches). Admiraal is called to the ministry by Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa.
About the Author
Anita Ensing Beem is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. Retired director of education and outreach at North Hills CRC in Troy, Mich., she now resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is a member of First CRC.