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State Prison in Vacaville, California

DECEMBER 25, 2020

A Spiritual Lifeline for Inmates Despite Lockdown

A Spiritual Lifeline for Inmates Despite Lockdown

When the COVID-19 pandemic locked down correctional facilities throughout the United States, hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped making their routine visits to prisons to offer Bible literature and to conduct Bible studies—shutting off a spiritual lifeline for thousands of incarcerated individuals. But our brothers have adapted to methods that are compliant with COVID-19 safety protocols to continue the prison ministry.

“Our concern was for all those who rely on our visits for spiritual feeding,” says Brother Dan Houghton, who helps to coordinate the prison ministry in the U.S. branch territory. “They need us now more than ever.”

For example, Brother Micah Seierstad contacted prison officials in Vacaville, California, to request permission to send video content of JW Broadcasting programs to their facility. To his surprise, prison officials asked him to provide content for the closed-circuit television network that serves all 33 prisons in the state of California. This resulted in the 2020 “Always Rejoice”! Convention being shown three times each day in 28-minute segments to a potential audience of 130,000.

Brother Seierstad says: “It’s amazing to see Jehovah’s hand. When he wants something done, nothing can stop him!”

Our brothers learned that prison officials at the Sarasota County Jail in Florida wanted to make “inspirational books” available to inmates to help them deal with the increased stress of the lockdown. In response, our brothers offered Bibles and a variety of Bible-based publications in both English and Spanish. The officials accepted the offer. The brothers also arranged for Bible studies to be conducted via videoconference. Regarding his virtual Bible study, one inmate wrote to his instructor: “I look forward to your visits. They encourage me to read the Bible. I think of the future in a different way.”

Officials from the Sarasota County Jail pick up 70 Bibles in English and Spanish and 30 Bible-based publications from the home of Brother Manolo Rodriguez, who is assisting in loading their vehicle

We rejoice that neither a pandemic nor prison walls can prevent our loving Father, Jehovah, from providing for the spiritual needs of interested people.—Psalm 139:7-10.