Friday, September 21, 2012

By Faith (Getty's strong song)

Peace Poem & Prayer

Tanner, an inmate-member of New Life Prison Community wrote this poem and read it at the worship service last night. He also included this prayer. I thought he nailed the topic of Peace and he gave me a copy.

Peace Poem

Peace makes the world go round

It can be lost but always found

It can stop a fight

(and when it's dark)

It can give you Light.

Peace ... it can


your deepest pain


Peace is more than the absence of conflict;

Peace is the Presence of God.

Peace Prayer


Prince of Peace,

teach me to find you

in the Calming Power of your Presence.

Strengthen me


with your Peace

and grant me

the stability I need

in this turmoil-filled world.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Volunteer Spotlight - Jean Goemaat

Jean Goemaat outside her home in Monroe, Iowa
 Jean has been volunteering with New Life since May of 2011.  She lives in Monroe (only 10 miles from the prison) and attends Living Word Fellowship in Knoxville, Iowa.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I taught school for 32 years in the USA at the elementary level.  I'm a retired school teacher.  I taught an additional 14 years in Belize for a total of 46 years!  I started in 1st grade which was a blessing. When I went to Belize, I was able to teach reading.  I love to garden - I like to get out and really garden: corn, beans, tomatoes, zucchini and onions.  I plant it all.  I just love to be out in nature.  I love music; I was a music major at Drake University.  Actually I had a double major of education and music.  I had a lot of choirs and handball choirs at church.  I enjoy my family - I have two daughters and five grandchildren.  One daughter is a deputy sheriff in Kentucky.  Her husband works at Fort Knox.  My other daughter lives right here in Monroe and is a daycare provider.

2.  How did God help you to overcome some challenges with your health this year?
I had to deal with some broken bones and also pneumonia.  God helped me to overcome through prayer and through the Word.  He has so many promises in the Word and I cling to those.  Mark 11:18 - If you believe in your heart, then the mountain will be thrown into the sea.  By his stripes I was healed (Isaiah 53:5, I Peter 2:24)  I've been spending a lot of time in Ephesians lately.  That is rich!  (see especially Eph. 1:3-14)  I focus on Psalm 91 a great deal and I read it in the 1st person.  There are so many promises in that Psalm.  For example, "Surely he will deliver me from the snare of the fowler ... under his wings I will take refuge."   This is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible.  "He shall give his angels charge over me."  I pray this too and remind God of this reality.  I love the promises in verses 14, 15, 16.  There are many wonderful Psalms but I really like Psalm 91.  Psalm 103 is a good one too.  It's fun to talk about the Word.  I love the Word of God.

Her time in Belize was a huge highlight for Jean
 3. Sum up your background in prison ministry and your time in Belize.
I started in Prison Fellowship when I was still teaching.  It was in 1993.  I began to work with women at the prison in Mitchellville.  Then I went to Belize to visit a missionary friend.  I knew right away - I fell in love with the hunger that those men in prison had for the Word.  I started a school inside the prison in Belize.  At first we studied the Bible and also basic education like reading.  Later I got involved in IFI (Inner-change Freedom Initiative) at the Newton Prison.  I was a volunteer with IFI then later I started the IFI program in Belize.  There were many challenges but God had his hand on it the whole time. Even though I'm back here in Iowa, it's still going strong.  Belize is a third world country in Central America where poverty reigns.  They grow up on the streets and they sell drugs.   Drugs, poverty, and the lack of education are huge problems.  My time in Belize was probably the most rewarding time in my life.  We had a great recidivism rate.  I was a mama - they called me Mama Jeanna.  I still go down once a year.  I leave for Belize on September 26 and don't return until October 9.  The goal of this particular trip is to tweak the program, work on advice and give evaluations.  We need to update the criteria for graduation.

4. Why do you feel inspired to help people who are in prison
I get to see the change come over the men.  You can see growth and that gives you the motivation to keep going.  Jail is a different ballgame.  I'd rather do the prison ministry because you have them for a longer period of time. Their prayer life - they're not afraid to pray any more.  Pastor Rick has taught them how to pray.  This gives them the courage to pray.  Also their desire to get into the Word - they expound upon the Word.  Without the Word they couldn't make it because that's their key to their life.  That gives them hope for the very first time.

5. What do you enjoy most about your time volunteering with New Life Prison Community?
God has a purpose for every one of us.  He put it in my heart to serve in prison ministry.  That is God's purpose for me.  I learn as much as they do.  It has to do with fulfilling the ministry that God has for me.  That's why we're here: to be a tool for the Lord and spread the Good News.

6. What positives do you see at New Life Prison Community?
Jean loves volunteering for New Life!
The men are ready to accept responsibilities and help out at worship services by fulfilling various roles.  They want to share the Good News with their families.  They tell in small group how they're getting their wives into the Word.  It's a domino effect.  The ministry also helps to raise their self-esteem.  Their body language indicates that they begin to think more of themselves.  It has to do with an openness to the Word - they have the reception to change.

Piercing the Darkness

On February 2, 2013 we hope to bring this Christian rock band into the prison at Newton.  Please pray that this happens since I believe they could reach out to a big group of guys.  Plus it would be a lot of fun!

Here is their website: Piercing the Darkness

United States of America

At the end of July, the New Life riders (including Pastor Rick) rode across the great state of Iowa.

Over 200 donors supported this fundraising event to support New Life Prison Community.  The record number of donors came from fourteen different states.  In no particular order, here they are: 

 Iowa, New York, Michigan, California, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota, Florida, Washington, Wisconsin.

Wow!  Thank you for your generous giving!