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Prison Life Report

Learn about prison life in America in this free download, the open door of reaching prisoners, and how we are using literature to make a difference.

Sep 11

August 2023 Update: Choices!



How old were you when you made your first choice? I certainly have no recollection of that event in my life. I’m sure that it was very early in my childhood. Maybe it was a choice about what I was willing to eat. Maybe it was a choice on whether I would obey my parents and go to bed when I was told. Whatever that first choice was, I don’t believe it has affected me adversely. But as we age and mature, we constantly must make choices on issues of increasing importance, and the ripple effect of those choices will directly affect the trajectory of our life. 

I’m sure if you interviewed anyone that is currently incarcerated, they could tell you about a small choice that they made that directly led to them being imprisoned. For example, many people who have been convicted for embezzlement didn’t start their life of crime by embezzling large sums of money. Many times, they had personal financial problems, and took their organization’s funds with every intention of repaying. But that first choice was only a gateway, and they found themselves dipping into the organization’s funds with greater regularity and ever-increasing amounts until the time when their crime was exposed. Most of those people regret that first wrong choice, and had they known where it would take them, they probably would have made a different choice. 

Choices are always that way. The choices I made yesterday impact my decisions today, and today’s decisions will directly impact the decisions I will have to make tomorrow. There is no such thing as an insignificant choice when it comes to following Jesus and living with integrity. I need to be willing to analyze the choices that I am making, and if they are leading me away from Jesus and his way of life, I must make a conscious decision to change my choices. Just like Joshua said to the children of Israel, I must “choose today whom I will serve.” It is my choice, no one else’s. 

This is our mission at Lighthouse Publishing. We supply free discipleship tools to those that are in prison, helping them to continue to choose to live the way that Jesus taught. Many of them have very few people in their lives who can help to mentor them in making proper choices. We strive to give our incarcerated readers a valuable resource that can help them make right choices regarding their walk with Jesus and how that walk should impact their everyday lives.  

We can’t do this ourselves. Each one of you that makes the choice to join us, whether by choosing to give funds, time, prayer support, or distribution of the magazine, is an integral part of us fulfilling our mission. We are grateful for the choice you made, and we are blessed to have you with us!

—Wendell Martin, Board Chairman

Issue 49 Shipped

By the time you receive this newsletter, Loaves & Fishes issue 49 will have shipped to our readers. We ran about a month behind schedule with this issue, the second one of this year, but very generous recent donations have allowed us to get this issue out with a surplus amount of funds to put toward our next issue. We sincerely appreciate our donors. Part of the purpose of this newsletter is to share with you how much your gifts mean to our readers and distributors.

Our current circulation is around 75,000 copies, with about 2,300 of these being single copy subscriptions and the rest going to bulk distributors. Our cost to print issue 49 was $23,821.31, and we project postage costs to be around $9,000. Including the cost of additional copies ordered for inventory, our total cost to print and ship this issue is around $32,800. The average cost of each printed and mailed magazine is 41¢. This is up from 24¢ just three years ago, which reflects how inflation has impacted our costs.

With our current publishing schedule of three issues per year, the time between published issues may sometimes extend as long as 4-6 months. If you are a distributor and find yourself running low between issues, we invite you to contact us and order extra copies. We have an inventory of back issues. Please feel free to take advantage of these while supplies last.

While our donors make financial investments in our work, we are keenly aware that our distributors make investments of time and energy. We sincerely appreciate what you do! We think of your daily work and pray that God will bless and reward you for your service.

Issue 50

For our final issue of the year, which we hope to publish later this fall, we will address the topic of the Church. The Church is the body of Christ on earth. The idea for the Church’s existence comes from God. It exists where Christians are gathered, including prisons. It is a place where Christian discipleship happens, and where Christ shines out as the Light of the World. It is the Bride of Christ!

Please partner with us in prayer as our editor and writers ponder how this issue can be made relevant and inspiring to our readers. We want to see God’s kingdom expand in the prisons. Your support in prayer, giving, and distribution of Loaves & Fishes can be a part of this effort.

—Michael Fisher, Manager of Operations

Jul 05

June 2023 Update – Daddy, Can You Help Me?


As a father to three young daughters, I hear this often. There are so many things that a little girl needs help with. To me, it often looks like a small thing hardly worth asking for help for, but to them, it is big.
“Daddy, I can’t get this baby doll’s dress on right.” Maybe it’s a shoestring that needs to be unknotted for what seems like the tenth time in just the last few minutes. Maybe they need a push on their bike or the swing.

Sometimes it’s as big as trying to get past six half-grown chickens. The problem is that she is very afraid of them. To her, that is a big deal; to me, it seems small. “The chickens won’t hurt you,” I’ve told her many times, but the only way she will go past them is if I hold her hand. She trusts that I will keep her safe.
How often do we go to God with a big problem? We have a need that there seems to be no way around. We have a financial difficulty that we don’t know how we will ever meet. We fear that we are failing as parents. What if our children don’t turn out right? What if they don’t choose to serve the Lord?

Then we have the smaller problems and fears all the things that worry us, the things we fret about. Are we willing to give all these things to God? Are we willing to tell Him we need help? Are we willing to place our hand in His, knowing that as long as we have His hand, we can trust Him to get us through? We have nothing to fear.

Remember, God wants to hear from us, no matter how big or small the problem is. We need to pray all the time, trusting He will answer us at the right time, with the right answer. God sees the whole picture. He sees the end, and what seems so big to us, to Him is no problem at all. God has it all figured out. All we need to do is trust Him.

—Elijah Brubaker, Board Member

Issue 49 Update

The theme for the upcoming issue of Loaves & Fishes is Repentance and Renewal. We will encourage our readers to think of repentance as the pathway to new life in Christ. If we could fully understand the freedom that repentance brings, surely we would heartily and quickly embrace it! However, being what we are as humans, we typically need encouragement to practice this spiritual discipline.

As we wrap up work on the content, the primary issue we are facing is funding. The cost of printing the last issue was around $25,000 with an additional $9,000 in shipping expense and other design and production costs. Our target is to order the printing of the magazine in June, with a ship date of July 15 in order to meet our current schedule of 3 issues per year.

As of this writing, we are less than halfway toward meeting the printing cost. We trust the Lord to provide for our work as always, and we are grateful for the generosity of our donors large and small who allow God to use their resources in this way. Thanks for all you do.

The Blessing of Loaves & Fishes

I’m currently incarcerated in Wasco State Prison. I came across Loaves & Fishes issue 46. I truly love it! It is also very inspiring for me to follow God again. Can I please get a Loaves & Fishes issue sent to me? I would love all the new issues.

— Johnny Helgin, Wasco State Prison

I am the chaplain at Halawa Correctional Facility, the main facility in Hawaii. The chapel here in the prison is not funded by the State, and everything we have is by donation to make available for the inmate population. Your Loaves & Fishes magazines are a blessing to the men here in Halawa.

—Chaplain Alan Leigh, Halawa Correctional Facility

You produce a high-quality inspiring publication that blesses more than you’ll ever know. It provides those with little hope much to hope for. They always look forward to the next issue.

—President Daryl Jackson, Another Chance Ministries

I love what you are doing. Your magazine is very helpful to our inmates. Thank you. It builds personal relationships between the chaplain and inmates. The color format is well received by all but the most resistant.

—Chaplain Greg Joyce, Anchorage Correctional Complex

Just a quick message to say thank you. We received our magazines today. The residents appreciate having something good to read.

—Judy Gilliam, Volunteer Service Coordinator, ICI Orfino

May 01

Healed & Transformed


Jesus walked this earth working many miracles of physical healing. We love to hear a modern story of God doing just that, but often we forget that some of Jesus’ greatest miracles were those when He healed in a non-physical way. Are we aware of and praising God for the healing He brings in our lives, both physical and non-physical?

Tony Campolo tells a story about being in a church in Oregon where he was asked to pray for a man who had cancer. Campolo prayed boldly for the man’s healing. The next week, he got a telephone call from the man’s wife. She said, “You prayed for my husband. He had cancer.” When he heard her use the past tense verb, Campolo thought that his cancer had been eradicated! But before he could think much about it she said, “He died.”

Campolo felt terrible. But she continued, “Don’t feel bad. When he came into that church that Sunday he was filled with anger. He knew he was going to be dead in a short period of time, and he hated God. He was 58 years old, and he wanted to see his children and grandchildren grow up. He was angry that this all-powerful God didn’t take away his sickness and heal him. He would lie in bed and curse God. The more his anger grew towards God, the more miserable he was to everybody around him. It was an awful thing to be in his presence.”

But the lady told Campolo, “After you prayed for him, a peace had come over him and a joy had come into him. Tony, the last three days have been the best days of our lives. We’ve sung. We’ve laughed. We’ve read Scripture. We prayed. Oh, they’ve been wonderful days. And I called to thank you for laying your hands on him and praying for healing.”

And then she said something incredibly profound. She said, “He wasn’t cured, but he was healed.”

Romans 12:2 Says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” I believe that one of the miracles that God seeks to do in our life is a transformation of the way we think!

Every one of us carries preconceived biases and mindsets that are not true. All mindsets that don’t line up with the heart of God need the touch of God’s healing and transforming power. Sometimes we don’t recognize wrong mindsets because they were passed on to us from generation to generation. 

Other times we have developed a process of thinking that isn’t correct because of what life’s experiences have thrown at us. Every day we make choices that can start to affect the way we think in both a positive or a negative way.  What are areas where God might want to heal and transform your mind?

It is my heart that Loaves & Fishes could be a tool for God to continue to heal and transform minds. We live in a world with so much brokenness. This directly affects the way our human mind thinks. How we need to hear from God! How we need to allow Him to transform and heal our minds!

—Bryan Weaver, Executive Board, Secretary

Woman touching hem of Jesus robe, woman with issue of blood, your faith has healed you. Biblical Series

Magazine Update

We were delighted to be able to ship Loaves & Fishes issue 48 on schedule, thanks to your generous support. On Saturday, March 11, a group of volunteers from Garbers Mennonite Church in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, helped our local staff prepare the shipment.

Our circulation for this issue was 81,418, including 79,116 bulk subscriptions and 2,302 single copies. We ordered 91,000 total copies for additional inventory. The printing cost was $25,132.57 and the shipping cost was $8,675.00. Including design and editing, the total cost for this project was around $36,500.

Each of our magazine issues represents a significant effort by many people, supported by the financial gifts of many donors. And this is only the beginning! Once the issue is published and shipped, our distributors receive the magazines and put them in the hands of those we are hoping to serve. May God richly bless each of you who are a part of this ministry.

The theme for Issue 49 is Repentance and Renewal, the next in the series of major Bible doctrines we are following. We plan to discuss topics of new life, confession, forgiveness, daily commitment, and faithfulness. The content is largely prepared at this point, and we hope to have the next issue ready to ship by July as the Lord provides.

—Mike Fisher, Manager of Operations

Reader Responses

“Your publication was a wonderful gift to me. Its contents are filled with hope and encouragement for a population mostly forgotten by family and the outside world. 

“I was introduced to your magazine in 2014 while incarcerated. Thank you.”

—Theresa Musselwhite-Myers, Hartwell, GA

Distributor Responses

“Many refer to the devotionals and talk about them to me. It is obvious they are reading them.”

—Chaplain Dennis Dibert, Bedford, PA

“Thank you for your generous donation of Loaves & Fishes issue 48. Your ministry is a valuable tool for helping these men to cope with the situations that the prison environment brings.”

—Chaplain W. Gerhart, Okeechobee, FL

Feb 08

February 2023 Update


Living Sacrificially

We have just come through the holiday season, and for many of us it was a time of traveling and gathering with family. Amid all the festivities, we reminded ourselves of why we were celebrating.

Over two thousand years ago, Jesus was born so that He could live among us and die for us. He left His perfect kingdom where He held all power, riches, and the worship of angels. He was born as a vulnerable baby to a poor carpenter in a barn, and was first greeted by shepherds, who were societal outcasts. He grew up among depraved humanity, which despised Him and condemned Him to a criminal’s death, even though He hadn’t once sinned.

Why would He do that for us? He had no obligation, no reason why He had to save us. He created us, and when we rebelled against Him, He responded by taking the consequences of our rebellion on Himself. He loved us so much that He left the perfectness of Heaven, so that He could experience life on earth, knowing full well that He could destroy us if He wanted to. But instead, He sacrificed His life for us, so now we give ourselves as a living sacrifice for Him.

Living for Jesus includes telling others about Him. Jesus left Heaven for us, so surely we can get out of our comfort zone to witness for Him. Jesus lived with humans all His life and somehow still loved us, so we should love others enough to tell them about salvation. Jesus gave His life to save us, so we should live our lives as a witness for Him.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work for Lighthouse Publishing, but I also remind myself that I need to live for God every minute of my life. I owe Him everything, so I can’t just put in some time at this organization and count that as enough for one week. I pray that every day someone can see Christ in me.

I also pray that the work we do here at Lighthouse is a help to some soul. Thank you for each of your prayers and support as we continue working to show the love of God to the people behind bars.

—Carinna Martin, Mail Processing

Issue 48 Status

Very soon after you receive this newsletter, we expect our next magazine issue to have arrived in our warehouse. We have been blessed by your generous financial support, and are able to order this printing ahead of schedule.

The cost of printing Loaves & Fishes issue #48 is projected to be around $24,000. We project the shipping cost to be around $9,000, for a total printing and shipping cost of $33,000. Our current bank account balance is around $30,000, so we are able to order the printing of issue 48 a few weeks ahead of schedule. If funds allow, we project to ship by the end of February.

It is an honor for us to steward these funds on your behalf in such a way as to bless Christian believers in prison with information that can bring about needed change in their lives. Thank you for trusting us with your valuable resources.

2022 Items Shipped Report

Items we shipped in 2022

2022 Financial Report

2022 Financial Report

2022 Cost per Magazine Issue

The cost to publish and distribute each issue of Loaves & Fishes magazine in 2022 was 42¢.

Responses from Prisoners

“Thank you for your wonderful, uplifting discipleship magazine for prisoners! I share all the Christian material I receive.”

—Athena Kuykendall, Wayne McCollum Detention Center

“May I please receive a devotional magazine? I am 43 and have finally become honest with myself and asked God for forgiveness and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I have never felt better in my life.”

—Matt Anthony Strohm, Armstrong County Jail

Responses from Distributors

“The women love when your publication arrives. They enjoy the colorful issues and encouraging content.”

—Chaplain Julie Bell, Iowa Correctional Institution for Women

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