Bible Grants Bring Detainees Closer to God

| August 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

“I don’t care if I go to prison; I just care about continuing in this peace, God’s love, finding my rightful place in His plan.” Those are the words of a detention center inmate expressing the change God made in his heart.

The Maryland Bible Society’s (MBS) Scripture Grant Program is helping to change the lives of many incarcerated souls striving to turn their lives around. The Maryland Bible Society (MBS) has partnered with the Greater Baltimore Jail and Prison Ministry (GBJAPM) since 2003 to donate Bibles to the inmates of the Baltimore City Detention Center. Through GBJAPM President John Plasterer, working as volunteer chaplain, over 100 Bibles and New Testaments are delivered every week to the detainees arriving at Central Booking. Of the thousands of Scripture given over these nine years, 80 percent are provided by the MBS.

Under the MBS Scripture Grant Program one Bible is given free for every Bible purchased, enabling GBJAPM to double the impact of its budget. New Testaments are offered first because of the ease of reading and an assumed stronger sense of familiarity. If an inmate requests a complete Bible, of course, it is given. Those who participate in Bible studies or Bible correspondence studies are also given full Bibles. Following are excerpts from a letter from Thomas, an inmate, about his growing faith….

“Greetings, Please bear with my writing as I am very limited to supplies… also I can’t see too well. I just want to thank you for your time/ effort in sending me the magnifier to read with and the Bible literature. I would like to ask if you have a Bible Study available for me…. I walked away from God/church/life/ people in general, angry over the loss of an 18 year marriage…29 years ago! Two years ago, I was starting to live again and the last 3 people I trusted and loved were taken! I wallowed in my sorrow til landing here. And for some reason I feel more pain than I ever have, yet I am not angry nor do I feel lonely or lost….

I don’t care about being here; I don’t care if I go to prison; I just care about continuing in this peace, God’s love, and finding my rightful place in His plan” Thank you! Again!

With God speed…………… Thomas

The results of this distribution of God’s Word are that many men accept Christ as their savior and have the opportunity to grow in their faith. Some have read the entire Bible in several months. Others read repeatedly through the New Testament. And, many men take their Bibles with them when they are released or transferred.

“MBS has been a blessing to me and the men of the Baltimore City Detention Center for many years,” said Chaplain Plasterer about the program. “Without the matching grants supplied by MBS, many of the men would not have received the Bibles while incarcerated, and thus would not have come to salvation through our Lord Jesus. Many of the detainees assume that the institution provides the Bibles. When they find out that they are all donated and that I am a volunteer supported by God’s people, it really leaves an impression.”

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For over 200 years, the mission of the Maryland Bible Society (MBS) has been to see that every individual has an opportunity to own a Bible regardless of their native language or financial situation. Here in Maryland this mission has been mostly fulfilled. We now are turning our emphasis to encouraging and helping people read, understand and live out the truths and principles God has given us through His Holy Scriptures. As a non-denominational ministry, MBS is uniquely positioned to offer God’s Word without note or comment to Christians from all denominational backgrounds. This position allows us to work with all local Christian churches, serving and assisting them as they follow God’s lead. MBS has and will continue to establish and build partnerships that promote the distribution of the Bible, supply related sources and provide educational opportunities. Our vision is to ignite fresh passion for God’s Word to be lived out in the daily lives of people in Maryland and the world beyond. God’s Word contains truths that speak to all of the important areas of our lives: family, marriage, work, friendships, finances and parenting. It serves as the ‘road map’ for the often-overwhelming experience of life. It is a comfort, an encouragement, a teacher. It is convicting, edifying and inspiring. The Bible reveals our purpose in life. The Creator of the Universe has given us His Word to guide and direct us as we serve Him and live in the world.

As we embark on this renewed vision, our desire is to impact lives. As God leads us on this great adventure, we invite you to partner with us. Lives will be transformed as the Holy Spirit works through the Scriptures, resources and opportunities provided by MBS. Join us as we ignite fresh passion for God’s Word among individuals, ministries, local Churches, and businesses.

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