When Gwen Shamblin felt the Lord’s leading to start our “Remnant Fellowship Prison Ministry” several years ago, this was no small decision. The amount of “red tape” that has to be cut through to even become a regular VISITOR in the Prison system is almost overwhelming. In fact, it is enough to stop the process before it even starts if you don’t have RESOLVE. And thankfully…praise GOD…Gwen had that resolve. So – what began as an opportunity to keep encouraging our dear brother and sister in Christ, Joseph and Sonya Smith (who are in Prison for something that they did not do – see www.thesmithsareinnocent.com), now has exploded throughout several different Prison locations in multiple states AND in Canada! We have learned here that GOD has many purposes that are beyond our understanding, and when you see two dear Saints wrongly incarcerated, it hurts on so many levels…but GOD is faithful and both Joseph and Sonya see His hand of guidance and their purpose in this entire process. So many other incarcerated men and women are finding a relationship with GOD because this Ministry exists! There is no proper price tag that can adequately assess what that is worth! Is the Remnant Fellowship Prison Ministry successful? Is it reaching and changing the lost and hurting like no other Ministry in the Prison system? The answer is YES!
As this Ministry has become more established over the past few years, the Team of Volunteer Saints who regularly visit and encourage the inmates has grown. If you’ve watched and/or attended any of our webcasts in recent months…specifically when Gwen has featured the Prison Ministry as a theme…you will have seen the faces of at least some of those Saints. And they will be the first to tell you that the blessing is THEIRS for GETTING to participate! Every single one of them views their opportunity as a gift from GOD…rather than anything time-consuming or burdensome in any way. They look forward to every interaction with these humble inmates who are finding GOD and being reborn spiritually in rapid fashion. Let’s take a moment and hear from some of the key Saints on the Prison Ministry Team, along with how this has impacted THEM…
I am so thankful that God led me into the prison ministry from the start five years ago. I have had the privilege of watching it grow through all the warfare and tests. In one month it will be a year since God moved us to Macon, GA to be able to go to more prisons. Since our move three more have opened up to us and just this week we now have two classes in one of them. The chaplain there told us we were doing too great a job because he now has a large waiting list. Another prison is interested and will probably let us in soon. There are a lot of hours on the road but I love it because this is what God wants us to do. The fruit of our labors are the men who are truly getting the message, are changing and love God. When I hear their testimonies or read their letters I get teary-eyed because of joy in my heart. I want so much to reach as many as possible in the time we have. One man who loves God with all his heart tells us each week he is learning so much. One day he asked if we knew what the beds and thin mattresses look like in the prison. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep. So he prays, “God, can I sleep in your arms tonight?” And he gets a good night’s sleep. And here’s an interesting statistic: The prison teams that travel each week from Nashville and Macon and the teams that come to visit Joseph and Sonya drive an average of 2,448 miles per week. – Vernon Eikenberry
What a privilege and honor it is to have a part in the Remnant Fellowship Prison Ministry! In the past I would never have dreamed that I would ever be someone who would be a part of this ministry, but I found that God will use anyone who is willing. Not only is this something that we were available to do because of our retirement, but also, a very positive side effect for me has been that the many different experiences have produced more personal spiritual growth in myself, which I praise God for! Over the past five years, I have seen men come into the Exodus From Strongholds class who were angry, dejected and hopeless, and week by week I have watched as they have begun smiling and testifying of changes in their lives as they have put the Strongholds principles to work in their lives. Any inconveniences there may be, such as travel, are so worth it compared to the rewards of seeing lives changed, and I can never thank God enough for allowing me to witness people in physical prisons become spiritually free! – Phyllis Eikenberry
The small portion that I get to play in the prison ministry team is one of the biggest blessings in my life. The conviction that I receive from the humility in these men is quite priceless…and most recently, getting to share a room with Tony Andrews in Cincinnati, I was encouraged to pray and praise GOD for the simplest of things like a clean tooth brush, shoes that fit, prepared meals, dishes to eat on, napkins, etc. The point is how blessed we are as a Remnant Nation and how we can do more for our brothers and sisters around the world. Hearing the perseverance in the lives of these men and women continues to remind me that those who started this movement – Gwen and her family, the Smiths, and all the saints who devote time and resources for this ripe field – if you will, are truly bringing the good news, and a cup of cold water to those seeking God no matter the location, and what a light it is to this world…I have the utmost love and respect for the devoted prison ministry team…..Battle onwards Israel! – Durville Patton
Praising God for a chance to be involved with the Prison Ministry! God’s truth is working so powerfully in these dark places. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear of how this message is encouraging and helping these men and women lay down their strongholds! I am constantly humbled and charged by these testimonies to go further myself!!! – Greg MacPherson
As part of the team that God has allowed to travel to the actual prisons and meet the humble men, I just had to share how encouraged I am after we leave. First of all, the drive to Georgia is always a joy and chance to praise God together and listen to Truth on the way down and back. The prison services and classes always fill my heart with Awe of God’s Spirit on how He orchestrates everything…as do the testimonies from the men on how this truth is changing them and opening their eyes to the lies they have believed for so long. God is definitely moving in their hearts and we get to hear directly from them. The letters we receive from these seekers are so inspiring and they are sooooo grateful for Gwen and what they get to hear every week. That is how these seekers are!!! We see it in their eyes and so our hearts are so FULL when we leave. I am in Awe. – Cherri MacPherson
One of my favorite parts of prison ministry is picking up the mail that comes in from the inmates. I feel so very blessed, and I am truly honored to read these precious letters. Many times my eyes fill with tears at what pours out of the hearts of these men and women. Many express gratitude for the Weigh Down materials they have received and overflowing joy at the things they have been set free from (anger, lust, greed, blaming others, unforgiveness). They cannot believe the love of God they feel from this ministry and the generosity that allows them to receive these precious life-giving resources for free. They are overwhelmed to get such encouraging letters from our letter writing team when their own blood family wants nothing to do with them. Some are crying out in pain from their day-to-day existence. They humbly ask if they can receive the Weigh Down materials others have shared with them so they too can experience the freedom of a changed life. In the last five months, we have received over 400 letters from 29 different prisons in 5 different states. All praise to God for how He has allowed His message, poured out through Gwen Shamblin, to spread to these humble hearts in prison seeking a relationship with Him. I cannot even believe that I get to be a part of something so beautiful!!! – Jodi Hertz
God has grown me to a place that I could have never imagined. I came into this ministry to be spirit-led and help and do whatever God wanted. Five years later, it has been absolutely amazing. So much God has shown me; so much God has grown me to where I have this burning passion that only grows more and more each week. I am so highly blessed!!! It has been an ongoing honor and privilege to be a part of this ministry, watching God’s hand unfold this ministry of bringing His exiles home. All praise, glory and honor to God!! – Linda Hardin
Wow! NOTE that these quotes are only from the Team what works out of Nashville. We have Saints helping in other states and in Canada as well. So this article could go on and on! But for now…as you can see…there is not a single “burdened” soul on this Ministry Team. They LONG to serve and to share the love and encouragement of GOD, Jesus Christ, and this Church with everyone they meet. And this is producing EXPONENTIAL CHANGE! For every man and woman who is impacted permanently by this outreach effort, there is the potential for their FAMILIES to change as well. Don’t underestimate what GOD can do and IS doing. Selflessness is rewarded by the Father, and this Volunteer Team is overflowing with those rewards…as you can see. May we all be charged to pour out our own lives, giving our time and efforts to further His Truth and His Church! For those who have chosen total love and obedience to GOD, we have been freed from prison, whether we’ve actually been behind physical bars or not. Let’s thank Him today and every day for this unbelievable opportunity to walk in PURITY…and to have a relationship with Him!