Luke Carson has been finding ways to connect with prisoners while in lockdown.
Lockdown meant no gym, not as many showers and no family visits. But one of the worst things to deal with was backlogs in the courts. “You could be waiting three months for your sentencing date, to find out whether you’ll be inside for one year or 10 years. The day comes, but no one comes to your cell. The sentencing gets pushed back by a month. You can imagine what that would do to your mental health”.
Luke has been building friendships with four men, whose parole dates have been pushed back multiple times
for the same reasons. “The difficulties they’ve faced have all led to opportunities to talk about God”, says
Luke. All the men have expressed a desire to give their lives to Jesus, and one of them, Craig*, has become a
Christian. “Craig has had some very traumatic experiences inside the prison, but he has started a daily prayer meeting with some other men on the wing and has even been sharing the gospel with two of his family members over the phone.”
Your support has allowed Luke to be joined by missionary Olly Sherwood forming a Prison’s and Resettlement
team. Together they seek to equip churches across London to get involved and share the gospel in a relational way with those in prison, as well as helping those who have found faith inside to re-build their lives and find a church family after release.
“There is so much value in having strong partnerships with local churches, the more people we can get involved in this ministry, the bigger the impact we can have. I’ve had a guy from another church who has been able to continue going in and he has been my point of contact. I’ve been making weekly Bible study materials for the guys, and he has been passing these under the cell doors, checking in with the men and giving feedback on how they are doing”. “Up until coronavirus we would have over 100 people from Sunday services inside the prison. It was oversubscribed on the Sunday. Of course, lot of the guys would be there for odd reasons – for example a church service happens to be a great place to swap drugs. But still, people were hearing the gospel on Sunday morning”.
In-person church services had to be put on hold, so Luke and Olly looked at what they could do instead. Most
prisoners have a TV in their cells and the prison authorities control what they can watch. So, during lockdown Luke and Olly made a gospel TV show, gathering material from local churches and worked with the prison authorities to get this content played, so that everyone in the prison had access to it. “Even other Christian organisations were freely sharing materials with the team, saying they really love what we are doing in the prisons”. Luke says “It’s been great having Olly Sherwood on board as well. His connections to the gospel music scene, and London gospel urban artists are tremendous and they have sent videos that get broadcast”.
“We are pulling together content with so much solid biblical truth for the guys in prison to watch, and we know from talking to them that it’s having such a positive impact. Thank you for standing with us with your prayers and support.”
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