Dear Friends and Family,
2016 will be my 5th full year of being involved with the Saints Prison Ministry (www.saintsprisonministry.org). The Saints, beginning their 29th year as a ministry, have played in over 3,700 prison games, visited over 430 prisons, traveled to 33 states, and seen 29,000 inmates make professions of faith. The ministry corresponds with over 31,000 inmates with 1,000 of those men enrolled in The Saints Bible Correspondence School.
The last four years have been a blessing to me serving God in America’s prison system using the game that I am passionate about. Over the last four years I have been to 52 prisons in 10 different states.
2015 IN REVIEW
This past year I was privileged to participate in a 5 event season here in Central Illinois as well as participate in two Crusades. A Crusade is a short term missions trip where our Saints team will visit 5-6 prisons over a 5 day span. We typically visit parts of the country that don’t currently have a Saints team. The team that we take on the Crusades is often a mix of players from various Saints teams across the country.
Arizona Crusade- March 18-22
I have been on eight Crusades and this trip is near the top of the list of my favorites. We visited 4 prisons and handed out 898 Gospels of John. We also saw 64 men make professions of faith that week. One of the highlights was from FCI Phoenix where I had the opportunity to meet up with an inmate that had seen us play at FCI Pekin 1,400 miles away! He had been asking the administration to bring us in because of the positive impact and strong Gospel presence he had seen from us in Pekin. Another highlight was visiting the US Penitentiary in Tucson. We were told by the administration that we would only have 15 minutes to share Gospel and literature with just the team. By the time the games were over, we actually had the opportunity to have over an hour to share the Gospel with over 100 men in the prison chapel!
Alabama Crusade- October 7-11
During this trip I had to divide my attention between ministering in prison and watching nervously as the Cubs clinched a playoff berth! We visited 5 prisons, handed out 1,542 Gospels of John and saw 66 men make professions of faith. This was a special trip because I got to have several great conversations with the men in the prisons. A few different men I was talking to embraced their prison sentence and viewed their time in prison as their mission field. I also had the privilege of leading devotions on the trip. We discussed being “All In” as Christians and what God expects when we commit our lives to Him.
Central Illinois Team
This was an interesting year for our team here in Illinois, but we were blessed to make 5 visits this summer, two of which were
new prisons! We also achieved a milestone by finishing with a winning record for the first time in four years! During almost every visit we had a unique curveball that we had to adjust and adapt to. In Greenville we were only allowed to preach in the prison chapel and we played our softball games in the rain. During our first of two trips to Danville, we were rained out so we had the opportunity to play wiffle ball and dodge ball! We also got to visit Pittsfield, IL and Jacksonville, IL. Jacksonville was unique because they only play 16” Softball (without gloves) so we adjusted and had a great day with the men there. We handed out 780 Gospels of John and saw 81 men make professions of faith.
HOW TO PARTNER IN 2016
This year will be EPIC for the Saints Prison Ministry! Our Spring Crusade will be in Central Florida March 9th-13th . It’s been a long winter, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and meeting the inmates there. Our Central Illinois team is anticipating adding several Illinois state facilities to our schedule which will lead to a hopefully busy summer!
As a Saints missionary athlete I am asking for your support in two areas.
- I need to establish a team of people who will pray for me, the Saints team, and the inmates to whom we will be ministering. I am looking for a a team of individuals indicating that they will pray for me in 2016. Please give me a call, text, tweet, Facebook post or whatever! When you let me know, please share an email address as I will be sending out updates after every prison visit!
- I personally need to raise $2,300 this year to cover my travel, Crusade expenses, literature, inmate study materials, and softball equipment for the 2016 season. As a team, our Central Illinois team needs to raise $11,000 this year. I would ask you to prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible offering to support the Saints Prison Ministry in 2016.
If you wish to give online please visit http://www.saintsprisonministry.org/make-a-donation/ Under the “My Gift For” heading select
“Central Illinois Saints”
I will be sending out regular updates about how the season is going. I will be posting results and general thoughts about our prison visits at www.tomgibson.me
Thanks again for your support and Go Saints Go!!