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June 4, 2010: Persecution and Violence Can’t Stop God’s Work in California’s Prisons

by Peter Ditzel

Since 2000, Word of His Grace Ministries has had an ongoing relationship with the pastor of the Sovereign Grace Bible Church of the "C" yard in Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California. The pastor is himself an inmate, and I will withhold his name. What makes this pastor and the work God is doing through him extraordinary is the phenomenal growth it has experienced as it has spread throughout the California prison system. Not only that, but it has experienced this growth despite severe persecution, usually over the doctrines of grace. At times, the pastor has even been the victim of violence from other prisoners, including those who claim to be Christians and are members of other churches.

Below are excerpts from the pastor's latest letter, in which he tells of being stabbed and of God's blessings on the Sovereign Grace Bible Church. Please remember this dear brother and his work in your prayers.

I’m so sorry for my delay in writing to you…. Yes, I was stabbed…. I went out for surgery on March 26, April 20, and May 5. I was in really bad shape, but I have recovered. They had to put a stent in my renal tube in my right and left kidney due to collapsed kidneys.

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November 21, 2007: An Extraordinary Prison Ministry

by Peter Ditzel

Something that makes me thankful, as well as amazing and humbling me, is the way God continues to use our website and literature to help people. We have received letters and emails from people who have left cults after reading our articles, from Christians who have used our website as a learning resource before confronting unbelieving relatives, from missionaries who use our booklets to teach people in far-flung regions of the world, among many others. But the correspondence that stunned and humbled me the most this past year was from a Baptist pastor who is also an inmate in a state prison. In these letters, he tells of his pre-prison life of hypocrisy and sin, his incarceration, his conversion, and how God has now used him, with our publications, to build a church (presently consisting of fifty baptized members and expanding rapidly) that teaches the doctrines of grace in the prison, and the persecution he and the other members face. I found his letters so inspiring that I want to share some excerpts with you. To protect this servant of the Lord’s privacy, I have left out his name and edited out of the letters anything that might identify him, his specific crime, and the prison. I have also, for the sake of readability, made a very few grammatical changes and combined letters.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus,

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