An Encouraging Word Ministry


An Encouraging Word Ministry is a “Pen-pal” correspondence ministry to adult Christians who are incarcerated, providing encouraging personal letters and cards, full of scripture and personal prayers.

We are vessels that God uses for His purpose and plan. You will have an impact on an Insiders life when you join with God on His mission.

Encouraging Word serves over 650 “Insiders” in 125 prisons in 40 states

Based upon the Stephen Ministry model, we companion and walk a faith journey together with our Insiders. We do not preach, teach, intercede or “fix” them. We listen and we care.

More than 1,000 letters have been exchanged between Encouragers and Insiders. In addition, more than 3,000 cards and fliers have been personally sent to Insiders, along with 500+ personal Bibles and “Jesus Calling” daily devotions (written by Sarah Young).

You are not a financial resource to your Insider, nor to the Ministry. The only cost to you is the cost of a stamp.

Facts about the Ministry…


Encouragers are vessels that God uses for His purpose and plan. You will have an impact on an Insiders life when you join with God on His mission.

God’s Statistics Impress! Recidivism rates (returning to prison after release) of “Insiders” served by this ministry are…encouraging! Of the more than 300 “Insiders” who have been released since the ministry’s inception, only 9% have returned to prison. To understand how impressive this low rate of recidivism is, and how it positively impacts families and communities everywhere, do an on-line search on “Recidivism.”

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November 2021-Encouragers and Insiders of the Month

This Testimony Matters! ENCOURAGER Mr. Herb, Colorado

“I believe Christopher (his assigned Insider) is growing steadily in the Lord, although he has a lot to deal with, of course. It’s truly been a blessing to me, too. I think I get more encouragement from this exercise of writing and thought and prayer than he probably does, it is just a constant blessing and has given me many chances to think more deeply and examine myself more honestly, and walk with Jesus every day.”

Your Prayers Matter! ENCOURAGER Ms. Debbie W.

From her INSIDER “M”…“I put my papers into the Halfway house…please pray. I’m ready to start the next chapter of my life. God Bless you and thank you for all your prayers of support. Super blessed and it changed my life. I have a chance at a good life..THANK YOU. Keep on believing. Keep on striving. God has wonderful blessings in store for you. May God bless you.” AND from INSIDER “B”… “Thank you for believing in God so prayerfully. IT MATTERS!!!”

Response from Ms. Debbie W…“I am the one who is blessed by their enthusiasm and love for God. They can find light where there is darkness and look at the glass ½ full rather than ½ empty.” …Living out God’s Word in Hebrews 13:3—“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

Honor Matters! News from LaVista Correctional Facility, Colorado

New to LaVista is the Unit 1-HONOR UNIT. Higher education opportunities, paid employment, private rooms with cooking facilities, less officer surveillance and many incentives. At the same time, higher standards are expected, like volunteer work for 20 hours and being on a peer team committee to be present for others in need.

Your Concerns Matter! I have not received a letter…what do I do?
  1. Make sure that your return address is not a label and is the correct location on the envelope, not on the back of the envelope. Make sure you put their ID# properly on your envelope…and the facility on the top line. Stationery and envelope must be plain with NO decoration of any kind. No colored markers.
  2. Be Patient. COVID restrictions took them away from their jobs and means of affording stamps. They may be locked down. Or, if they are partially back to “normal” they are cramming for exams and rushing to finish their education requirements. If you’ve sent two letters within two months and not received a response, let Debbie know. She can check to see if they have been recently released or moved suddenly. You may be re-assigned or advised.
  3. There are some circumstances beyond their control, such as lock down for a facility, no money for stamps, or move to another facility, solitary, sickness or in the hospital for tests/operation.
  4. There are some circumstances that are under their control, but priorities have slowed them down. For example, important class tests, prison events like Mother’s Day, exhaustion from a physical job they are assigned to, or spending their last stamp on a letter to their loved one(s).
  5. If you want to be reassigned to another, your original Insider will remain on our master list and will continue to receive Ministry wide mailings, and birthday and Parole Hearing letters to continue to encourage them.
  6. You may be reassigned to another, when additional Insiders are made available.
Christmas Matters!

Send a letter with a picture of you (printed on regular paper), rather than a card this year. A Christmas letter from the ministry will reach all Insiders the first part of December. This year, the restrictions are overwhelming for incoming cards to prisons. Even the envelopes must be white with no decorations for some states. And other states will discard without delivery and without returning.

Reminder: It is the personal note inside that makes the difference AND a picture of you printed on normal paper warms their heart more.

Surprises Matter! JESUS LISTENS, Author Sarah Young

This is=s the #1 hottest selling book on Amazon, and the ministry is testing to see if it will be accepted in some of the prisons. It is written as Prayers to Jesus, quoting Bible verses embedded in daily prayer. For those INSIDERS who have issues on how to pray, it is a remarkable source.

Thankfulness Matters!

BLESSED THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! You encourage us at AEW. Celebrate all of God’s blessings, BIG & small!

It’s All God’s River

A testimony of Ms. Robin through the Holy Spirit of God. All praise and glory to Him!

It's All God's River-Rushing
It's All God's River=Serene
It's All God's River-parched

Cascading, pounding, rushing waters,
overflowing bounds,
uncontained, unexpected,
unwelcome, flooding, drowned.

Pristine and calm, a babbling brook,
serene and cool so richly blessed,
calm and peace unending!
Joy abounds, His praise proclaimed,
prayers answered? Yes, but yet…
look ahead to see…the river’s bank is bending.

Parched and thirsty, shrunk,
and stagnant
flowing not at all,
abandoned, lonely, lost
and stranded
“Why, Lord, why,?” you call.

Too much, too little
abundance, need,
is God contained in each?
Are we too soon dissatisfied,
perfection out of reach?

God’s river flows in flood and drought,
He’s found in both extremes.
He’s found whenever we reach out,
embrace His Son, our King.

God’s river carries us always,
past this life and onward still,
connected to His source of love,
Jesus Christ, it is His will.

We cannot disconnect from Him.
because it’s all God’s river,
redemption, mercy, grace and love,
because God Himself’s the giver.

Read His word, pray, confess
and let His love light flow!
He will never leave you or forsake you,
He’s with you where you go.


Read the testimonies from Encouragers, Insiders and Comforters–the people who are the heart of An Encouraging Word Ministry. Click the links below to hear their stories, in their own words.

“Encouragers” companion and walk a faith journey together with our Insiders. We do not preach, teach, intercede or fix them. We listen and care. Based on the Stephen Ministry model, men write to men and women write to women.


“Insiders” are incarcerated Christians seeking a relationship with Jesus Christ and other Christians. Each one completes a “Ready to Fly” form that aids the Encourager with poignant prayers and devotional topics relevant to them.


“Comforters” are Insiders who have become God’s hands and soul from the inside. They lead Bible studies and pray for others. Some even provide necessities for those who cannot work and have no money at all, from their own resources.