Their love stands out
One of the most interesting parts of my job is getting to visit our local PF groups across England and Wales. Each group has their own particular identity, their own unique opportunities in the local prisons, and of course their own challenges.
But the overwhelming impression I am left with at every group, is how committed they are to praying for and serving the men and women in their prisons. It is their love that stands out.
In May, I spent a few days in south Wales, and visited the PF Swansea group. While I was there, Linda shared a story with me from running their Angel Tree programme.
Daddy loves me
“The most challenging gift we’ve been asked to find was a pink teddy bear with ‘Daddy Loves Me’ written on it for a seven-month-old baby girl.
“We looked everywhere, online and in the shops. In the end, my daughter said there were some lovely plain pink teddies in Mothercare, so I bought one. Would that do? I wondered.
“It sat there looking at me for a couple of days, but I knew it wasn’t enough. The dad had asked for more! As I prayed, the Lord gave me a picture of the teddy wearing a little white apron with lace around the edge and ‘Daddy Loves Me’ embroidered in pink.
“I set to with a spare white pillowcase and my sewing machine, and within a day or so the gift was complete.
“When I remember that challenge, it reminds me that each one of those Angel Tree children is really special, both to their parent who makes the request, but also to God. We should aim to provide them with the best gift we can at Christmas — one that’s just right for them, nothing less will do—just as our Heavenly Father sent us His best gift at Christmas in the
Going above and beyond
Isn’t that wonderful? Linda’s story is just one of many that I hear every week of our volunteers going above and beyond in their love and service of prisoners and their families. For many in our communities (and sometimes sadly even in our churches), prisoners are the last people worth their consideration, let alone their love.
But we are following Jesus’ call to love the outcast. We take our inspiration from Jesus the Good Shepherd, who will go after the one lost sheep to bring them back to safety, health and community.
And so we don’t offer mediocre — we offer our best.
Peter Holloway is CEO of Prison Fellowship England and Wales. His job allows him to travel across the country visiting our fantastic volunteers and local groups.
Find out more about our Angel Tree programme, which allows parents in prison to send a present to their children at Christmas – something they otherwise have no way of doing.