Do You Want To Help?
To volunteer or support your Men of Change ministry
Statement of Faith
The people of Men of Change are called by God to share the love of Christ with those impacted by incarceration. Men of Change encourages believers from a variety of Christian traditions to be volunteers in this Christ-filled ministry.
Men of Change programs offer to prison residents, their families, and those who work with them, the opportunity to receive God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ, and to connect with one another to visit their loved one through our Ride Share program.
We stand on the common ground of the following elements of faith:
We at Men of Change believe:
· The Bible is God’s authoritative and inspired Word for our faith and our lives.
· In the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son' and Holy Spirit.
· In the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
· Friendship with God is a free gift, For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
· The love of Jesus Christ motivates His followers to provide food for the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome to the stranger, clothes for the naked, and visits to the sick and those in prison.
· In sharing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ with all incarcerated individuals, their families and to those who work with them inside and outside the correctional institution.
Men of Change was birthed in 2006, inspired by the Holy Spirit and blessed by God. The co-pastors Keith and Leslie Smith started with six men and a desire to help bring hope and the good news of Christ to men incarcerated in Pelican Bay State Prison. At the time, Keith an inmate also, started a daily Bible study and mentored young men new to prison, most of them with life sentences. He also maintained a food closet of sorts in his cell from which he fed men who had no support from the outside world. His wife, Leslie contacted family members in the free world and helped to begin the process of reconciliation. She was the go between as family members began to need help getting rides to the prison. She provided transportation herself and introduced family members to others going to the prison, enabling them to share not only a ride but the cost. Pelican Bay is located in Crescent City..7 hours from Sacramento California...12 from L.A.
Both Keith and Leslie are ordained ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bishop Ron Allen of Sacramento Ca. Ordained Keith in 2007 based on his service in Pelican Bay. Leslie stood in his place at the ceremony held at Greater Solomon Temple Church. A few years later the same Bishop ordained her.
Pastor Leslie is active advocating for the rights of inmates. She admits at times she feels like she is shouting into the wind but, knows that God hears not only her voice but the cries of the men. She readily admits that most men are in prison for valid reasons but after incarceration there is still life to be lived." As Christians it is vital to get the message to men behind bars that Jesus is still in the soul saving business, and nothing is impossible for God. Many people seem to think everyone who goes to prison finds God but that is just not so. The vast majority live aimless lives caught up in the politics of gangs or just plain survival . For "lifers", hopelessness is a very real emotion. When through us, Christ can open the eyes of a man to see that it's no longer where you are but ,who you are and what you believe..then hope enters the heart."
What the Smiths hope to accomplish through Men Of Change is simple. " Of course we nurture the hope that the Holy Spirit will enter the hearts of these brothers and that they receive Jesus Christ as their personal savior but, after that we leave the finished product to God. Some of these men will be left in prison all their lives and in doing so will become the "light" to others. Some of the brothers will be released and God will get the glory as the court said "life." After an encounter with the Christ no man remains the same"
What about Bro. Keith? " Keith and I have a promise from God that we stand on but, whenever that promise manifests we will be found being about our Father's business. Mathew 25:35-45, paraphrased states " Don't forget about those in prison because to do so is to deny Christ." Those verses also remind us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick and take in a stranger. As followers of Christ we should each have a burden on our heart to be a part of this commission Jesus has given us here. Where do you fit in the plan was the question my husband and I found the answer to by loving those forgotten by family and friend.
If you have a loved one who would be open to the services of this ministry contact Leslie at 916 613-7601. We also have a letter writing ministry. Email the inmates (men) personally at their address and they will receive a handwritten response. God Bless.