New Plymouth Brings Light To Ontario Prison

The words of Hebrews 13:3 (NIV), “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering,” are being put into action by volunteers from the New Plymouth (Idaho) Church.

Despite a membership of only 40, New Plymouth Church has been sending volunteers to minister to the inmates at the Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Ore., since 1994. Many of these volunteers are retired couples.

One such couple, Bill Haynes, retired pastor, and his wife, Helen, both in their 80s, retired for a second time in December 2005 after nearly five years of outreach and ministry to inmates.

Though the New Plymouth congregation is quite small, their volunteers still commit to spending each Sabbath afternoon and Wednesday night sharing the message of God’s love with the Snake River facility inmates. The New Plymouth Church also provides the inmates with a Seminars Unlimited KJV Bible, Daniel and Revelation seminar materials, Steps to Christ, Christ’s Object Lessons, and the Adult Sabbath School quarterlies—all free of charge. The volunteers only ask the inmates to invite others.

Once an inmate has been invited to attend they are welcomed into God’s family. The volunteers don’t judge the inmates but instead show them kindness and God’s love and forgiveness.

The Adventist prison ministries programs at Snake River are known for being filled with in-depth Bible study, prayer and singing.

The Adventist prison ministries programs at Snake River are known for being filled with in-depth Bible study, prayer and singing.

David Ronk, New Plymouth prison ministries leader, has been volunteering since the very beginning. Ronk said that almost all of the Snake River inmates come from the Portland area or the Willamette Valley and as such come from the Oregon Conference territory.

Recently, members of the Forest Grove, Tabernacle and Beaverton churches in the Portland area donated brand-new hymnals for the inmates to use, replacing the well-worn, pre-1985 hymnals. These new hymnals are being used with care every week to sing praises to our Lord.

Thirteen inmates were baptized in October and now share the good news of Christ’s gift of salvation with other inmates. Though some of those baptized were prior members, most of those baptized are new to the church.

Thirteen inmates were baptized in October and now share the good news of Christ’s gift of salvation with other inmates. Though some of those baptized were prior members, most of those baptized are new to the church.

April 01, 2006 / Idaho Conference
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