A Ministry of Reconciliation
This Newsletter is the 5th for Bethel Ministries (Bethel). The newsletter is sent out regularly to contributors, churches, and interested public.
Bethel, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and faith-based program in Boise, Idaho, was established to help men leaving incarceration change their lives to become law-abiding, productive members of society. Bethel provides transitional homes where the men reside in a family-type setting. During their six to twelve month stay, the men are matched with mentors, obtain employment, attend a structured program of life-skill classes, and participate in group and individual counseling.
Bethel provides an invaluable service to the families of the Treasure Valley and all Idaho by preventing many newly released prisoners from re-entering communities void of rehabilitative services necessary to help such men on the right track before being on their own within the community.
News from the Chairman
Since our last Newsletter, Bethel has been blessed to receive a number of new residents. Bethel now has a total of 18 residents. Our current housing capacity is 24. Based on projections, we may be at capacity later in April.
Bethel Ministries recently started a new program where churches can adopt Bethel as one of their outreach ministries. Adoption by a church means that a church supports Bethel’s program, offers prayers for Bethel’s residents and success for the program, and when possible provides financial support. Churches that notify Bethel of adopting the Ministry will be so listed on our web site. More information on the adoption program may be found on the donations page of our web site.
Since November, presentations by Bethel staff have been given to the Celebration Church of God, Ontario, Oregon; Mountain View Church of the Brethren, Boise; and Grace Communion International, Boise. If you would like a presentation at your local church, please contact Rob Lee or Chris Roberts at the e-mail addresses or phone numbers listed below.
An Open letter to those in and out of prison
Redemption is a powerful thing. Making a serious decision to “come to Jesus” can be truly life changing. It is an act of surrendering our wills to God. It may be a frightening experience in that we surrender control in our lives to God and other people.
I have had the privilege of being involved with Bethel Ministries almost since the beginning. The program has changed in some ways but for the most part it has not. Jesus’ redemption has always been there and God’s grace is the center-point of all God’s ministry.
Let’s talk about the Program at Bethel.
First of all, I need to say I am writing some things here that come from my heart and that I feel need to be said. They are not easy things for me to write. They may feel confrontational in some ways and could make you angry. That is not my intent. But I need to say them because there is a misconception out there by some that this ministry has thrown some folks away. Because I care about you and about them, I want to make it clear.
Jesus Christ does not ever throw people away, and neither does Bethel Ministries. Having said this, I have to say that for us it seems some people have walked away. Bethel is not for everyone. The reason it is not is that if you decide to come to Bethel, you truly need to be serious about needing changes in your life. You need to be serious about what Christ Jesus means to you. I suggest you take a good look at your life right now… How’s it working for you? If you are in prison that might just tell you that some things are not working very well. Life truly is not rocket science. If you are in prison or jail, you have probably made some serious mistakes in your life and there needs to be some major changes. Our Lord Jesus calls us out of this need for change and that is what we, at Bethel, seek to be here for. Our deepest goal is to help you find a new way of living.
If you agree that this is your need, then Bethel Ministries just might be for you. When you come out of prison, there is a stigma that will be and is a part of your life. Frankly it can be difficult finding work in just a couple of days and sometimes even weeks or months.
For nine years, Bethel Ministries has been there for men coming out of prison. We have been able to help many find work. We have provided daily needs and support. We have seen nearly 100 men graduate from the program. We have had a handful end up back in prison over the years and it is obvious that life has not worked very well for those who have gone back. If you feel we have let you down, then we want you know how sorry we are. We also want you to know that Bethel is still here and we ask for another chance. We want to give you another chance. Let’s help one another… That’s what grace and forgiveness are all about. Please understand and remember that a good number of men have found success in life with the help of what we do at Bethel.
There are a number of men who are in the midst of finishing their college degree. Many are holding good jobs and living successful lives. Through the power of Christ Jesus, damaged relationships in families are being healed. Dads, mothers, and their children, are getting back together. God’s grace is at work for so many.
From time to time, on the pages of this publication you will read some of the success stories. I encourage you to read them carefully and then take a look at your life and see if just maybe some of these stories may be your future stories.
There are those out there who will tell you why the program did not work for them. Some even may blame the Bethel program. Consider what has worked in those folks’ lives.
I encourage you to take another look.
Ask the people who are finding success in their lives who are free today, who have jobs, and growing family relationships. Ask them how Bethel has worked for them.
Now as I close this writing, please know that we are praying for you. We have hope for you. And you can have hope too. Jesus Christ is offering you a new way of living, “a new life”. He is offering real growth and most of all He is offering His grace. Know at Bethel, we believe in redemptive justice.
How to help
You may donate through PayPal or send checks made payable to Bethel Ministries, PO Box 44106, Boise, Idaho 83711-0106. Your support is always greatly appreciated.
Additional ways to donate
In addition to your prayers and monetary donations, Bethel is in need of many other types of donations including household items such as kitchen ware and appliances, draperies, furniture, such as beds, chests, washers, dryers, freezers, tables and chairs, and also men’s clothing. Bethel can also use donated food. Contact Rob Lee or 208-724-1734 or Chris Roberts at 208-602-3885 about having your donated items picked up or where you may deliver them.