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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.

Dec 14

December 2022 – Changes Ahead


Someone on the Outside

What does a prison inmate value most? High on the list, I would venture to guess, is someone on the outside who cares.

When we receive a website request for a new single magazine subscription, the subject line of the email contains the name of the recipient. When I see such a request, I realize that this particular inmate has someone on the outside who cares about them.

I occasionally visit a friend who is serving a 15-40 year sentence. Six years in, the only others who visit him are his wife and elderly parents. Each of us drives 4-6 hours for the visits, making the trip only several times per year. Still, my friend considers himself privileged, because many inmates receive no visitors at all.

Receiving Loaves & Fishes is not the same as having a friend on the outside, but to many of our readers, it represents a meaningful contact with fellow believers in Jesus. This contact is made possible by those of you who distribute the magazine, donate, or in some other way partner with us. God bless you.

—Mike Fisher, operations manager

Changes Ahead

Since 2014, Lighthouse Publishing has been a ministry of Burning Bush Mennonite Church in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Prior to that, it was a ministry of Pikeville Christian Fellowship in Pikeville, Tennessee. It was founded by Darold Gingerich in the early 1990s. Lighthouse Publishing began as a multi-faceted print shop, but over the years became focused on publishing Loaves & Fishes.

Effective January 1, 2023, the ministry will undergo another organizational change, becoming 501c3 incorporated as Lighthouse Publishing. The new organization is an integrated auxiliary of Hope Mennonite Fellowship, a network of ten conservative Mennonite congregations in Pennsylvania.

The ministry will carry on operations at our facility in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Our 11-member Advisory Board is being invited to continue in its current role. We are continuing with our current editorial team at this time. Darold Gingerich, our founder, will continue to curate reader-submitted material for the magazine, and Lavern Gingerich will remain available for consulting.

Most of all, Lighthouse Publishing will continue to need you. The scale of our work requires the support of a broad donor base and the inspired energy of distributors who get the magazines into prisons and jails across the country. We cannot overstate how much our ministry depends on those of you who receive this newsletter.

Our mission as a new organization is to steward well the ministry of Lighthouse Publishing. With God’s help, we commit to support, maintain, and grow the work of providing Christian believers in prison with literature and tools to help them succeed as disciples of Jesus.

Lighthouse Publishing Executive Board
Wendell Martin, Chairman (Bedford, PA)
• Bryan Weaver, Secretary (Newmanstown, PA)
• Stephen Lauver, Treasurer (Liverpool, PA)
• Elijah Brubaker (Newmanstown, PA)
• Mike Fisher (Bedford, PA)

A final change we must announce is the retirement of Jimmy Weaver at the end of 2022. After retiring from his “real” career in 2014, Jimmy devoted countless hours of time to our ministry and to the prison inmates we serve. Working in mail processing for the past 7 years, he has been the point of contact for many of our readers and distributors. We are deeply grateful for his service, and know that God will reward him for it.

Issue 47 Shipped

The week of November 14, we shipped the bulk and single copy subscriptions of Loaves & Fishes issue #47. The cost of printing was around $24,000, an increase of around $6,000 from our last issue. This delayed the shipping of this issue by several weeks.

The postage cost was around $8,500. Our circulation is around 79,000 copies. With around 10,000 additional copies purchased for inventory, our total cost of printing and shipping this issue was about 40¢ per copy. With all other associated expenses for this issue paid, such as editing, design, and supplies, we have a bank account balance of around $4,500.

The shipment was prepared by around 30 volunteers, including the board members of Lighthouse Publishing and their families. We enjoyed a great evening of work and fellowship. For photos and videos of our packing events, and other updates, search for Loaves & Fishes Magazine on Facebook.

Issue 48—The Holy Spirit

We are currently preparing the content for an issue of Loaves & Fishes focused on the Holy Spirit. Our readers will be challenged to know what it means to be filled with the Spirit of God.

As always, we want our readers to gain knowledge that will help them grow in their life with Jesus. Pray for our editors and writers, and pray that our content would make a real difference.

Our work is energized when we feel your support. No matter whether you are giving your time in sharing our magazines in the prisons, or supporting us financially, you mean so much to us!

Oct 04

October 2022 Update


The Pandemic Is Over

In a recent interview, the President announced the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this is good news, nothing will undo many of the effects of the virus on our lives.

Most importantly, the loved ones we have lost are not coming back. We can only honor their memory and anticipate a joyful reunion with them in Heaven.

The economic disruptions are still not fully resolved. Some have lost their livelihood in the past several years. Others have had their jobs or businesses become much more stressful to maintain.

The health regulations that invaded our daily routines are in some cases still in place. For example, in the chapel at our county jail, I fear that the ugly wheeled plexiglass dividers separating groups of inmates from different cell blocks are there to stay.

The virus disrupted the ability of many of us to minister in prison. Normal volunteer work in our local jail only resumed several months ago; for two and a half years, no in-person church services could be held. Many distributors of Loaves & Fishes reported trouble getting the magazines out to their inmates.

Covid-19 is a scar on our memory. I doubt we will ever forget these days.

When Jesus walked with us, He brought physical healing on a small scale. The sick people of the towns and villages of Palestine experienced His miraculous touch. But not even all the sick in His time and place were likely healed, and few in other regions at the time even knew of Him.

What Jesus did bring on a large scale was spiritual healing. The entire world from His day and through all ages to come found deliverance and forgiveness from spiritual sickness and death. Our mission is to teach the world about the salvation that is to be found in Jesus.

And one day, on a grand scale, Jesus will end sickness and evil of every kind for those who serve and follow Him. There will be ultimate healing. We have a wonderful message to all those who are sick—whether with Covid-19 or with sin, that common malady of mankind.

That message is healing in Jesus for our soul and spirit now—with full and ultimate healing promised us in the life to come.

Issue 47 Status

Issue 47 will be in our warehouse soon. Our print quote for this issue was $24,000, nearly $6,000 over the cost of our last issue for a similar amount of copies (89,000). Inflation has hit the printing business, and this is reflected in this steep increase in our costs.

Additionally, we project a cost of about $10,000 to ship this issue. We are trusting in God to provide for yet another issue of Loaves & Fishes to reach our readers in prison.

Even with this increase, the production and shipping cost for this magazine project will be around 40¢ per copy. This means that each dollar donated reaches two prison inmates with a strong message of hope, biblical teaching for their lives, and the opportunity to hear from their fellow inmates about what Jesus means to them.

Thank you for your support, and God bless your work abundantly.

—Mike Fisher, operations manager

Responses From Chaplains and Prisoners

“I would like to start receiving Loaves and Fishes, I’ve had the pleasure of reading one through a friend. They are very inspiring and very soothing to the soul. May God bless Lighthouse and all of you. Thank you kindly.” John Coe, Century Correctional Institution, Century, FL

“Thank you all for your hard work in making Loaves and Fishes available to us on the inside free of charge full of inspiration and love. You are all in my prayers. I hope to continue receiving them, as well as view the website on the outside. I pray you all are kept in the Lord’s palm during these tough times. I send this note with much love and respect.” Deg Holman

“The inmates here have expressed their heartfelt thanks for your magazine. It is well received by our residents here, and we just wanted to send you a note of thanks and for you to keep up the good work that you are doing in ministry.” Michael Brown, Senior Chaplain, Broad River Correctional Center, Columbia, SC

“Your publications are highly anticipated and greatly appreciated. Thank you for the blessings of Loaves and Fishes. God bless you all.” Nancy Malone, Homestead Correctional Institution, Florida City, FL

“Last November was the first time I have ever seen Loaves and Fishes. I was so touched that I read every article in the book two or three times. I loved it. This the first time I have ever been in jail, and I truly feel that is God’s blessing that I am still alive and in jail. I am waiting at this time for a bed at SAF-P, a substance abuse treatment facility prison, where I will serve nine months for possession of a controlled substance and receive the help that I need. Also I would love to have more of your Loaves and Fishes issues. I would even love to have old issues. I just absolutely love Loaves and Fishes! Thanks! Kay Hutson, Childress, TX

“I found a copy of Loaves and Fishes under the stairs in my housing unit. After reading it I realized how much that I relate to everyone in it and would like to have a subscription for myself. Thank you for your time. Have a great day, and I hope to hear from you soon. Adam Benjamin, Henry Hill Correctional Center, Galesburg, IL

Aug 29

The Intensity of Evil


The rays of the sun are now at their most intense, and the warmth and light we wished for last winter almost make us wish for cooler weather! And just as the weather cycles through seasons of heat and cold, so it seems do the problems of our world.

We are in a time of war, when global powers are cautiously facing off in proxy conflicts that raise frightening parallels with the horrific world wars of the last century. At the opposite end of the scale, mentally sick individuals are unleashing years of pent-up rage by murdering innocents in schools and places of business.

It feels like evil is intensifying in a horrible sort of heat wave, as culture wars rage over such things as gender identities and roles and the definition of human life itself. Conflict and rancor characterize far too many relationships, to mention only a few of our current problems.

What does our Christian message bring to such a situation?


Prisons are the gathering place of many of the world’s evils. When we work with inmates, we interact with both victims and perpetrators of some of humanity’s worst behaviors. Nowhere more than here is Jesus and his message needed.

Loaves & Fishes Issue #47 will focus on God’s answer to evil: salvation in Jesus Christ. God has provided a remedy for the evils around us, but especially for the evil that is inside each of us. That remedy is found in the atoning work of Jesus.

There is nothing to do for the struggle we all face with evil other than to embrace the new life in Jesus. We are hardly strong enough to conquer our own demons, let alone bring peace and healing to the world’s problems. But God is able to bring about redemption both on an individual and a grand scale, and indeed He has already done so. We only need to surrender ourselves to the Savior to become a participant in His great eternal kingdom.

Issue #47 Status

Our next magazine issue is currently in graphic design, and we expect it to be print-ready in a matter of weeks. Our current bank account balance is $11,000, and as usual, we project an estimated printing cost of $20,000 and shipping cost of $10,000 in order to get this issue out to our readers.

As always, we are humbled and grateful as we process the daily donations from willing hearts who care for the spiritually needy in prison. What we are doing is impossible without your contributions.

Meeting the Need

What does Loaves & Fishes mean to the prison inmates who receive them? I will let a few of them tell you in their own words.

I recently came across one of your Loaves and Fishes booklets and I want to say it really was a blessing. I was very happy after I read one of the poems. It really lifted me up! I would like to receive this booklet and any other material you guys have to offer to prisoners like myself. I really appreciate your time and consideration.

Carlos Ortiz
Coffield Unit, Tennessee Colony, TX

Thank you so much for your publication. I really enjoy it and I’ve learned so much from it. I look forward to “The Faith Worth Dying For” Bible study.

Rick Stephens
Kern Valley State Prison, Delano, CA

I truly enjoy this magazine. Thank you so much for sharing it with me at this point in my life. I’m getting all kinds of messages from them. God bless you all.

Tina M Goodspeed
Lane Murray Unit, Gatesville, TX

I love to read Loaves and Fishes. I have been a Christian since September 10, 2001 and enjoy the testimonies and poems of other prisoners. May God continue to bless you all. Thank you.

ArnulFo Silva, Sr
Avon Park Correctional Institution, Avon Park, FL

My name is Lara Cohran. I am incarcerated here at Whitworth Womens Facility in Hartwell, GA. It is a minimum security prison. Previously I was in the Glynn County Detention Center in Brunswick. That is where another inmate shared your magazine with me and I really enjoyed it. I wrote while in the county jail but was shipped off to prison before I got a chance to receive the first issue.

I would really appreciate it if you would start sending me the Loaves and Fishes. I enjoy it so much and will share it with others. I know they will appreciate it as much as I did when my friend shared it with me.

Lara Cohran
Whitworth Womens Facility, Hartwell, GA

Hello my name is Adam, and I am writing today because I found a copy of Loaves and Fishes under the stairs in my housing unit. After reading it I realized how much that I relate to everyone in it and would like to have a subscription for myself. Also was wondering if there are other services you help out with for people in my situation? Thank you for your time. Have a great day, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Adam Benjamin
Henry Hill Correctional Center, Galesburg, IL

Again, I want to personally thank all of you who are active participants in our ministry, whether by donating money, effort, or time. God bless you.

—Mike Fisher, operations manager

Jun 15

June 2022 Update: Issue #46 Shipped!


Summer is Here!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17a).

One of these good and perfect gifts from God is the season of summer. Not only is it a pleasant and beautiful time; it’s also a fruitful time of growth. We can endure the cold winters better knowing that summer will come. And here it is at last! Here in the Northeast, June weather is just as good as it gets. We look forward to the unfolding of beauty and fruitfulness in our lives and in our ministry, just as we see it occurring in the world around us. Praise God for His faithfulness.

Issue #46 Shipped

The bulk subscriptions of Loaves & Fishes issue #46 shipped on June 3. Single copies are going out this week. We are running about 4-6 weeks behind schedule due to a few weeks of waiting for funds to cover the cost of postage.

We prepared this mailing with a large group of over 40 volunteers working 3–4 hours. Thanks to everyone who has supported this printing and shipping project, which cost around $30,000.

As mentioned in our last newsletter, issue #46 is centered on the theme Jesus Christ. There is no message more central to Christianity and to our mission of making disciples. Jesus personally holds the answer to all our problems.

Issue #47 in Process

We are completing the content for issue #47, which will have the theme Salvation. It will be ready for editing soon. We look forward to shipping it later this year.

Bulk Mailing of Issue #46 at the USPS Distribution Center

Messages From Our Distributors

The backbone of our magazine distribution is the hundreds of prison chaplains and ministries who receive Loaves & Fishes in bulk and dispense them in prisons. Here is some of the feedback we receive from these dedicated men and women who minister to prisoners on a daily basis.

The inmates ask for this publication by name.
—Chaplain, Santa Fe, NM

Our Tehama County Jail inmates appreciate your work. They like the magazine.
—Chaplain, Red Bluff, CA

Men use it to pass difficult and lonely hours of incarceration.
—Chaplain, Columbia, SC

The inmates love receiving the booklets, and I believe some are now opening up to Christ and His teachings.
—Prison Outreach, San Bernardino, CA

The inmates look forward to each issue and share what they are studying with others.
—Chaplain, Mitchellville, IA

Many inmates have expressed how relevant the articles are, and the format and structure of the material is well put together.
—Chaplain, Victoria, VA

Our inmates ask for it regularly. We run out of every issue.
—Chaplain, Milledgeville, GA

I use the stories in your books to teach at times.
—Chaplain, Winchester, KY

It builds personal relationships between chaplain and inmates. The color format is well received by all but the most resistant.
—Chaplain, Anchorage, AK

Once again, I wish to thank all of our kind supporters for making it possible for us to spread the good news of Jesus and the Kingdom of God in the prisons of our nation.

Every dollar donated to our ministry typically provides for the publishing and distribution of 2–3 issues of our magazine. Even the smallest amount we receive is a blessing to someone!
—Mike Fisher, operations manager