May, 2014

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Donations – In the beginning of May, a Social Service Worker at the prison in Boston asked me for a Portuguese Bible with large letters. A Brazilian inmate had asked her because he cannot read small print usually used on most bibles. As I searched, I received a package with different kinds of bibles, including one with large print. Ms. Linnis Cook sent the donation; she and her late husband, the Rev. Archibald Woodroff, were missionaries in Brazil for several years. They blessed the IPIB (Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil) serving with passion and love. I remember when I taught Mission Theology at the IPIB Seminary in São Paulo. When I arrived for my first class, Archibald was there, and welcomed me by giving me a Spanish edition of John Calvin’s Institutes. Now Linnis and Archibald blessed me again with this donation. Linnis had sent me an email saying she had bibles available. Here is what she wrote:

Dear Reverend: My late husband, Archibald Woodruff left several Bibles that I would like to donate to your work, if you could use them in your admirable job.

Thoughtful notes and donations like these help me persevere in my ministry, knowing that God provides everything that is needed through passionate servants who understand the real meaning of the Kingdom of God.

Video Contest – As we shared in our previous edition, PIM entered a video contest launched by the 1001 New Worshiping Communities. Many videos were presented though ours was not selected as a finalist at the coming PCUSA General Assembly. Regardless, it was a rich experience to share some of PIM’s ministry, and to also see how God’s people can use creativity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you didn’t get a chance to watch our videos, below are the two links for each:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT5GAaLeCwAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu8_NU-DmiA

Donations received:

– Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana Hispana de Boston, MA

– IPI do Brasil

– Edward and Wanda Castner

– Henry Ruppenthal

– First Presbyterian Church – Newport, RI

– First Presbyterian Church – Stamford, CT

– Igreja Presbiteriana de Boston

– Greenwood Community Church – Warwick, RI

– Bethel Presbyterian Church – Marlborough, MA

 ATTENTION! THE PRESBYTERY CHANGED ITS MAILING ADDRESS:

Send your donations by check or money order made out to: Presbytery of Southern New England – P.O. Box 388, Chester, CT 06412 – Important: write a note designating your offer to the Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry.

 May Attendance – Sometimes I see a decreasing number of immigrants in prison but, in the following weeks, the number usually increases again. In the last week of May, 137 persons attended the bible studies. I believe it was the highest attendance since I started visiting prisons in 2005. Please, keep me in your prayers and pray also in favor of those who are in jail.

Day

Prison (all units)

Attendance

01

Plymouth

35

02

Bristol

11

07

Boston

31

08

Plymouth

48

09

Bristol

17

14

Boston

43

15

Plymouth

53

16

Bristol

23

21

Boston

46

22

Plymouth

45

23

Bristol

18

28

Boston

35

29

Plymouth

42

30

Bristol

60

 

Project Second Mile – Most of the detainees who used to attend our bible studies are deported after a while in prison. However, some are allowed to stay in the USA and they usually need help to re-start their post-jail lives. PIM has been looking for ways to follow up with them after they leave prison. Last March, PIM called a meeting when six released inmates came together to have their testimonies recorded for a video. All of them asked us to do this again. We believe this is a way we can continue helping their spiritual and personal development, nurturing in faith those who became Christians in prison. This is what we call Project Second Mile.

Why Second Mile?

 The idea for this name came from a letter we received some years ago when a prisoner wrote that PIM was doing for them what others were not doing. According to Matthew 5:40-42 Jesus said: “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” We weren’t forced to walk with them the first mile when they were in prison. We are doing that because we understood it to be our calling. However, walking only the first mile is not enough and they need us to continue walking with them further.

 The Project Second Mile will be developed in two ways:

  1. The Rev. Gerson or Ms. Kátia will visit those who left prison and are living in New England. In these visits, the emphasis will be upon getting to know them and their families better, nurture them spiritually and emotionally as they try to reorient their lives in the ‘outside world,’ and help them connect  (or reconnect) with local churches.  These visits will mean driving extra miles and grant money will be placed to cover the extra travel expense involved.
  2. We will hold periodic meetings or retreats when as many former detainees as possible can come together to share their testimonies, receive spiritual encouragement, strengthen community, and discover ways in which they can help PIM in its ministry.  These meetings will be held in central locations where released detainees are clustered. This may well mean that there could be more than one such group meeting periodically as the project moves forward. 

 We also believe this can be an opportunity for Congregations that want to get more involved with PIM, because they can hold a meeting at their respective facilities. There is a Congregation that is analyzing a grant proposal, which if approved, will help us start this new PIM project.

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