We call this ministry "Let Us Gather" for two reasons. Let us Gather together to worship, focusing on volunteering at inmate facilities for worship. Let Us Gather around those in need, focusing on the family of those incarcerated. Through our time as prison volunteers we have seen how many times the inmate's families are in need of support, everything from spiritual needs to car repairs. We created this ministry to partner with folks like us in the Treasure Valley to provide a link between those in need and those who have the ability to fill those needs.
My husband Patrick and I volunteer at a local prison facility here in Boise, ID. In 2011 we added a prayer request list to our Bible study time there. It was through those requests that we learned of the needs of their families as well.
Many of the men we teach have families right here in the Treasure Valley who have no family or friends to lean on. Since many are unbelievers or haven't made any connections, they don't have a church family either. Some families have moved from other parts of the state to the Valley to be closer to their loved ones in the Boise facilities. Many of the women are basically single Moms, only their not single, and they have to explain why. As volunteers within the facility, our ability to help these families is limited.
We also realized that many of the inmates have come to Christ after being in prison and when released are going home to an unbelieving family, and adding that much more stress to an already stressful situation.
These men and women are incarcerated for a reason, but, while they are doing their time, or have done their time, we as believers, saved by the miraculous gift of grace, need to answer the call to share that grace and gather around them and support them, helping them to break the chain of dysfunctional families and reducing the rate of recidivism.