Beginning this year, 2018 Rehoboth Jail & Prison ministry wants to welcome "Bible Reading Outreach Ministry" to our family. While working with the pen pal ministry, we made contact with Mrs. Holmes and her ministry as she began to ask if I could add men to my pen pal list who were writing to her for Bible studies and wanted to develop correspondence with her. She basically handles Bible studies, so she really does not have time to write the many 100’s of men to whom she is mailing Bibles and Bible studies.
On the other hand, we write inmates and find pen pals for them, but I have to send the men somewhere else to get a Bible correspondence course. When she reached out to the pen pal ministry of Rehoboth for pen pals for the men and mentioned her correspondence courses, we asked about sending her the names of those who wrote to us asking for Bible studies. As we began working together serving the inmates, we formed a friendship over correspondence and after speaking about her joining with us under our umbrella of our 501 c3, she said it sounded like a good move, and we feel the same.
She will do her ministry as she always has, and we will not interfere at all. After all, she has been doing fine for 22 years. All of those wanting Bible Studies will still write directly to her. She will come as a partner on our Website and under our 501c3. While that could benefit her, it will greatly benefit Rehoboth as now we can provide Bible courses for inmates seeking a stronger walk and better understanding with the Lord. This seems like a no brainer to me. Here is a little about her work.
Bible Reading Outreach Ministry Details
My ministry is to send Bibles and Bible lessons to prison inmates. The Bible lesson contains questions where the participant is to read a particular chapter in the Bible and answer the questions. Included is a self addressed stamped envelope which is used to return the lesson as many of the inmates are indigent. The returned lessons are graded and returned to the participant and will include the next lesson in the Bible chapter they are studying. The lessons are arranged in the order of John, then Luke, Mark, Matthew and continuing on in order from Acts to the end of the New Testament. The lessons are then continued from the Old Testament (i.e. Genesis, Exodus, etc.).
The lessons and questions are strictly from the Bible. The answer to any question can be found in a Bible verse. The questions are not based upon opinion and are not written in a way that invokes a person’s opinion. The answers are never comprehensive type answers – and are generally fill in the blank type. There is no timeline on the lessons – simply send it back when completed and another lesson will be sent.
The lessons are on the scale as an adult would be able to understand. However, I also send out a multiple-choice type of lessons which is easier for some who like that style better.
A combination concordance and Bible dictionary is sent to participants when they reach the book of Acts. Upon completion of the New Testament lessons, the participant will receive a Certificate of Completion. When the participants start the Old Testament lessons, a Strong’s concordance is sent for their use.
I currently have 455 (as of today) participants taking the lessons from 43 different facilities. I also have around 25-30 who have never been in prison or jail that are taking the lessons. Many request Bibles and lessons while some just ask for a Bible. I send a Bible and a lesson to each person who asks in hopes they will do the lesson as I know you have to read the Bible to answer the questions. By word of mouth of other inmates, many are told “this Lady will get you a Bible”.
Many of the participants will write periodically, and I try to answer as many letters as possible to encourage them and answer questions they may have about the lessons and the Bible. My Sunday School teacher, a godly man for 60+ years, reviews and assist with any questions concerning the Bible.
I do this ministry on my own and work 6-8 hours a day fulfilling the lessons and studying to prepare more. On average, I will receive 25-30 lessons a day from the participants. I am a very active 79 year-old woman who has loved the Lord for over 50 years and has been doing this ministry for 22 years. Recently, a lady from my church has been helping and comes twice a week for a couple of hours. Additionally, my daughter helps on the weekends.
The only goal of this ministry is to get a person to read God's word. I know that our Lord will take it from there. I am thrilled to say that many of the participants want to continue the lessons when they are released and many have been with me for years even after going home.
The “Bible Reading OutReach Ministry” of Mrs. Barbara Holmes uses about 5-6 rolls of stamps a month ($300) (just for the return envelopes with the lessons coming from the inmates back to them) and the ministry uses 400-500 of the .71 cent stamps ($355) which it takes to mail out the lesson envelope.Quantities of bibles purchased range from 40-60 bibles a month at a cost of $16 – $19 per bible depending upon the version and current cost. Additional cost are related to computer paper, printer ink, envelopes, concordances, bible dictionaries and other related operating expenses.If you are interested in donating toward this ministry please send all donations Bible Reading OutReach Ministries C/O Barbara Holmes at the address below. Make all checks payable to Bible Reading OutReach Ministries.