Unlocking Hearts

Pastor Rafael Fernandez needed real help for an incredible opportunity.

He had been conducting a monthly worship service in the local prison in Okeechobee, Florida. When the handful of men attending his chapel meetings grew to more than 200, inmates began asking for something to feed them spiritually between his visits.

So Pastor Fernandez turned to church member Denise Cheshire for help.

The plan they developed was to send Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides to interested prisoners. After completing the lessons, the inmates would mail the answer sheets back to the church to be corrected. Denise recruited a team of 15 members to grade the lessons and mail back two more, along with encouraging notes. (Names of church volunteers are kept anonymous.)

Group PhotoThe response was overwhelming! When she sent 240 inmates the first two lessons, 100 of them immediately responded. On Sabbaths, Denise distributes answer sheets to her volunteers who correct the lessons. In the last two years, more than 300 inmates have completed (or are completing) the lessons. Denise says, “We can hardly keep up!”

Most exciting is that 80 inmates have been baptized as a result of going through the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides and another 18 are preparing for baptism. Pastor Rafael believes candidates should be carefully prepared. They must have a clear understanding of salvation, the Bible, and the meaning of baptism. He feels the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides are an excellent tool for leading inmates to Christ.

Denise shares, “Prison inmates take lots of Bible studies from many different ministries, but the ones they love the most are the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides. They appreciate how they are topically organized. They find the questions relevant and the answers solidly based in the Bible. It’s easy for them to follow because they build on each other.”

When inmates send answers sheets back to be corrected, they sometimes have more questions. Church volunteers have used Amazing Facts websites like Helltruth.com and Sabbathtruth.com to print off answers and mail them back, since these prisoners do not have access to the Internet.

Because of the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides, almost one-fifth of the prison population has studied these lessons. There is now a Sabbathkeeping Church that meets in the prison, and inmates are writing back and saying, “I’m giving these Bible studies to my cellmate.” They are becoming evangelists themselves. Denise and her team are currently working to get Amazing Facts DVDs into the prison.

The Okeechobee Church also uses the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides, along with other resources like the Millennium of Prophecy DVD series, the Cosmic Conflict DVD, and the new Revelation: The Bride, the Beast & Babylon DVD to share in their community.

Denise’s husband, Eric, also finds Amazing Facts resources helpful to share with others. He is a lawyer practicing family law and often finds himself ministering to people during some of the most difficult times in their life. Eric shares the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides with clients, along with Amazing Facts DVDs. He finds that the Amazing Facts resources appeal to all types of people.

“We had no idea how much God would bless our prison outreach,” Denise shares. “Other churches have written to ask about our work. A prison is a mission field full of forgotten men. When we reached out with the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides, they felt cared about. These lessons have been a key resource to unlock prison doors. We love using them because they have touched men behind bars and given them freedom in Jesus.”

Call 916-434-3880 to learn more about how your church can use Amazing Facts Study Guides to reach prisons and communities in your area.

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NOTE: If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.

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