I received this e-mail on 4/21/2000.
It is from a man whose company builds and operates prisons. This company has a heart both for Jesus and for prisoners. I hope you find the message encouraging.
Subj: Prison Ministries
Date: 4/21/2000 9:11:42 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: email@example.com (Steve)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My name is Steve Fleming and I am a christian from Bakersfield, Ca. I work for a company that is in the business of building and operating private prisons. Although this is a business, it is also a wonderful ministry. We utilize an established program called the "Newstart Program" in which we rehabilitate our inmates. We have been very successful in doing so. Aside from classes like anger management, family values, drug treatment, etc., we focus strongly on introducing these ladies and gentlemen to our Savior. The success of our program would be nothing without him as our foundation. I really just wanted to introduce myself and my company and let you know that there are others of us out here who believe that our loving Saviour cannot come again until all the world has had a chance to know him, including prisoners.
On 6/28/2000 I replied to his letter:
On 4/21/2000 you sent me and several others an e-mail briefly describing the work your company does. I was quite impressed.
I recently received an e-mail directing me to a site and book that addresses the theory that, since its inception, the AA 12-step program, which once had a very high success rate, has, since the 60's, experienced a steady drop in its success rate because Jesus is no longer named the higher power. What you are doing seems to be lifting Jesus up as our higher power and I applaud you.
I have a web site devoted to my prison ministry: "UNBOUND!" at http://www.angelfire.com/journal/unbound. As the home page states, I am planning to begin three new pages: one for pen-pals, one for families and friends of prisoners, and one for resources for prisoners and their families. Would you be interested in providing a paper for my site, probably for the "families and friends" page so to make people aware that those who run prisons do have a heart and an interest in seeing the inmates succeed in building a happy, healthy, responsible life. If your company provides or sells materials or books, or if you have a recommended reading list, that would be a nice entry on the "resources" page. If you do not have time or are not inclined to do this, could I at least publish the e-mail you sent me?
Thank you for your consideration in this matter. God bless you in all you do.
His reply on 7/03/2000:
Thank you so much for the nice letter that you sent me. I would be honored to either write you something for your website or have my letter published. I would love to send you two videotapes that our prison has, showing exactly what we are doing and what it is doing for our brothers in prison. I am sorry that I don't have more time right now to write more, but I at least wanted to send you a response. Please keep in touch and let me know what I can do to help. I'll keep looking at your website. If you send me an address, I will send you those tapes. God Bless you.
Subj: Alcoholics Anonymous needs Jesus. Please consider Dr.Chambers' book.
Date: 6/24/2000 5:45:17 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Derek Dulley)
Most of your prisoners you are working with are probably alcoholics and/or drug addicts. Many will have tried to get clean and sober through A.A. or N.A. Unfortunately, recovery rates of today have diminished from the founding days of 1935.
ABC's "20/20", aired June 7/00 claimed 95% now leave the fellowship. There was a 75% success rate
in the early days. Very sad. What has happened?
A.A. researcer and historian, Dick B. has determined that it was a requirement to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in order to participate in the fellowship. This is a rarity today.
Presbyterian minister, Dr. Cal Chambers saw this weakness after attending his first A.A. meeting in 1960. He continued attending meetings to explain that "The Higher Power" was Jesus. He became an A.A. evangelist. He eventually wrote a book to help other Christians do "The Great Commission" with people who have been involved with the twelve-step programes. Perhaps this book will provide the missing link for your clients to go from " a higher power" to Jesus.
I was sober for ten years, through A.A. before becoming a Christian in 1991. I feel if I had read the book during those ten years my conversion would have occurred much sooner.
We invite you to visit our website and view the book, "Two Tracks One Goal" at: http://www.twotracks.com
Have good day and God bless.
Bridging the Gap Enterprises
443W. 15th. St.
N. Vancouver, B.C.
Since writing the above, I have found out something quite tragic has happened. Audrey Kishline, founder of Moderation Management, has pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide after being charged in a drunken driving accident that killed two people.
ABC's 20/20, as written below, claimed 95% now leave A.A. and look for the alternative, "controlled drinking," rather than abstinence. One is too many, a hundred is not enough. Poor Audrey was one of those 95% that found something lacking in A.A. and left.
What would have happened if someone had explained that A.A.'s higher power was Jesus? Perhaps these two people would be alive today. After hearing about this tragedy, I am even more convinced that A.A. needs prayers and evangelists. Comments and ideas would be greatly appreciated. We have a discussion group at our website: http://www.twotracks.com
Seattle Times article (on Audrey Kishline) at:
Sorry to be such a bearer of bad news.
Have a good day and God bless.