Prison ministry

David Stevenson, left, with How Is Your Heart Ministries, with Wolfe City officers Brian Scott, Jarred Hayes and Chief Matt Martin about a prison ministry program. Even though the staff with the ministry cannot yet visit prisons because of COVID-19, Stevenson has already delivered Bibles to the Collin County Jail.

Despite rules in place to prevent prison inmates from possibly being exposed to COVID-19, prison ministries in the Hunt County area are working to develop Christian-based prison ministry programs.

One of the programs, which is through How is Your Heart Ministries (HIYH), has started by simply delivering Bibles to prisons since they a currently unable to visit prisoners because of coronavirus.

“We’re on fire, working on delivering Bibles,” David Stevenson of HIYH told the Herald-Banner. “So far, we have 10,000 Bibles to deliver and we just delivered our first batch at the Collin County Jail, and will be delivering to Hunt County (Detention Center) soon.

“We do have a counselor on staff, and once we can start ministering our theme is mostly going to make sure that no one feels forgotten,” Stevenson added. “I was in prison for three years myself, so we want to help remind those who are in jail that they are not forgotten.”

Another group, one that offers support to recently incarcerated women as they transition back into the outside world, is “Upward,” a women’s Bible study that – until COVID-19 hit – met weekly at Authentic Life Fellowship.

As a program, Upward places much of its focus on helping recently-incarcerated women forgive themselves for past wrongdoings, as well as addiction recovery, and services like assistance with GED programs, free professional clothing and free transportation.

“I’ve been speaking with my tech lady, and we should be ready to start offering our meetings through Zoom within the next two or three weeks,” Esther, of Upward, said (who requested that her last name not be included in this story).

In addition to leading Upward’s meetings, Esther has also served as a women’s chaplain at the Hunt County Detention Center.

“Right now, with the virus, everyone’s just standing still, and I hate it that I can’t go into the jail just yet, but we should be set up with Zoom in a few short weeks,” she added.

Those interested in learning more about HIYH’s prison ministry program may call 469-867-8727 for more information. Likewise, those who would like to know more about Upward ladies Bible study, may call 214-707-1986 or 469-320-1602.

Travis Hairgrove is a news reporter and features writer at the Herald-Banner and covers city government for many municipalities in Hunt County. To reach him outside of business hours, email THairgroveReporter@gmail.com.

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