God continues to open doors of opportunity for Hartland College.
Behind prison walls are men and women who have made bad choices. Whether by greed, a lack of self-control, or unwise associations, they’re facing the consequences of their actions,” says Johny Carmouche, a former inmate. “Many feel deep regret, and desire to make changes in their lives, but they don’t know how.”
Hartland College Prison Ministry (HCPM), spearheaded by Johny and Brian Beavers, has a team of volunteers, most of whom are Hartland staff and students. They give Bible studies and inspiring messages to inmates in six facilities. Also, they distribute Bibles to prisoners who request them.
Once a week, HCPM now ministers to five inmates at the Fluvanna Correctional Center (CC) for Women. “They are very open and hungry for truth,” shares Ivonne Restrepo, an HCPMvolunteer. “They studied about the Sabbath, and one lady prayed that she could get a job within the prison that would allow her to keep the Sabbath. She now praises God that she can work and keep the Sabbath.”
HCPM also conducts a weekly service at the Culpeper Juvenile CC. “Our work at the juvenile facility continues in Bible study form,” Brian relates. “Hartland College students minister to 18 to 20-year-old residents.”
Two more weekly services take place at the Coffeewood CC, where HCPM ministers to more than 35 inmates. One service is for English and Spanish-speaking Seventh-day Adventists, and the other is for Messianic Jews. Today four Coffeewood inmates, plus two who were transferred, are baptized Seventh-day Adventists.
Virginia’s Department of Corrections (DOC) has granted both Johny and Brian the statewide volunteer status. They currently conduct one monthly program at the Augusta CC, and another at the Buckingham CC. They minister to nearly 60 inmates in both facilities.
“The men at Buckingham received our first visit with much skepticism,” Johny recalls. “We bided our time uplifting Jesus in our messages, and their hearts were softened. They grow more receptive each time we go.” Virginia’s DOC has authorized three more HCPM volunteers to minister at Buckingham.
Johny concludes, “No matter where you live, there’s a need to reach God’s lost children in prison.” They’re not so different from the rest of us—we all need a Savior. In fact, if you’d like to help, you can simply write letters to inmates without disclosing your name and address. For more information, call HCPM at 540-672-1996 ext 287.