"Providing Living Water for Thirsty Souls" ™
Pen Pal System
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24 (New International Version)
At mail call in most settings there are two groups of people. The first group goes to mail call expecting to receive mail. The second group goes to mail call hoping to receive mail. In prison there is a third group; those who do not go to mail call because they have lost all hope of receiving any word from anyone in the outside world because their families and friends have literally deserted them.
Have you ever looked into the eyes of a man or woman who has lost hope? Through our ministry we strive to help encourage that hope to return. By receiving letters from people in the “free world” we remind them that not everyone has forgotten them and there are some people in the outside world who believe they can make a new start in life if they truly want to do so. Through letter writing we encourage them to try.
In our first letter to them, we tell men and women in prison that we are not a dating service, nor do we offer legal advice, nor do we put money on inmate accounts. We make it very clear to our pen pals that if they want to talk with someone who will not judge them for their past, but in the love of Christ become a friend to them then he or she has found such a friend. If you are interested in learning more about how our pen pal system works, click on the “Become A Volunteer” link on the left side of the page.
How Our Pen Pal System Works
When you agree to become one of our Volunteer pen pals, we email you copies of several “first letters” that have already been written by other Volunteers to give you an idea of how to compose your own “first letter”, as this is the hardest letter to write. This letter is designed to introduce yourself to your new pen pal and give them your statement of faith or personal testimony, as this helps to set the tone for future letters between you. Once your “first letter” has been emailed back into the ministry office to your assigned ministry contact, we will print it off on our Ministry letterhead and mail it out to your assigned pen pal(s). We will then notify you of the name of your new pen pal(s) via the email system.
We will not provide you with the location and mailing address of your pen pal, nor will we provide them with your address or location. Your email address is for our purposes only. This system insures that all letters are routed through our Texas Post Office Box inside the prison system so that this is the only address seen by the inmates. It also allows us to make sure that all letters received by the inmates are answered by their assigned volunteer. Under the circumstances, we do not want any of our pen pals to feel left out since many of them are already experiencing this through family members. In addition, it offers our pen pals the safety of knowing that you are part of our ministry and they can read your letters knowing they will be encouraging and uplifting.
The first letter that all pen pals receive is from our Ministry office in Fort Worth, Texas. We make it very clear to all new pen pals that we are NOT A DATING SERVICE and that the point of our letter writing is friendship and to encourage them in their walk with the Lord. To assist us with this effort, included in each letter you write will be copies of either our “Encouraging Hope™” (EH) editions or “Feasting With The Father™” (FWF) issues. Copies of each of these Editions and Issues are available on this website (see Encouraging Hope or Feasting with the Father links) for your viewing purposes. When you write your letter to your pen pal we asks that you mention which EH Edition (as many as 2) or FWF issue (1 only, please) you want included with your letter. Once we receive your letter into our Ministry office, we will print off the editions or issues you have specified in your letter and mail it out from our office. This set-up avoids you having to pay for the postage and protects the privacy of both you and your pen pal. Plus, it allows us to make sure that all letters are answered in a timely manner and that none of the inmates are overlooked, forgotten, or missed by their assigned Volunteer.
Once a letter is received back from your pen pal, a copy of it will be sent to your email address. We do ask that you try and respond to your letters within 7-14 days of receiving it if at all possible. We also ask that you not judge your pen pal should they decide to share their past history with you. We give them the freedom to share their past with us if they want to, but don’t ask it of them, if they do not. Please remember that except for the grace of God anyone of us could be in their place.