Prisons: ‘A Mission Field Next Door’

Mother and child at the library.

There are many mission fields open to church members. One of the most convenient is local prisons. Central to a successful prison ministry is the chaplain in that prison.

For 50 years, Jo Anna Woody, Director of Mission Possible, has been backing these chaplains with Bibles and gospel literature. Chick tracts have played a large part in her ministry.

Here, she shares a story of one chaplain who took a long bus ride before a tract abruptly turned him around and pointed him toward his lifelong ministry:

Testimony from Chaplain C, Texas

I was raised in a Christian home but in my early teens, I became rebellious and wanted to see the “real” world. I decided after graduating from high school that New York City was the place I could “see the world.”

I left Texas on a big Greyhound bus bound for New York City (1990). I felt I’d be safe from a Christian witness there! As I passed through each state, I was a little disappointed to see from that bus window it wasn’t too different from where I just left!

On stops along the way, I would go into the bus stations and walk around, searching for what the “world” looked like. After several stops, we arrived at the Greyhound Bus Station on Eighth Avenue in New York City.

I was the typical tourist —eyes about to pop out! The station was huge, people milling about, and I was lost (in more ways than one) as I joined the crowd headed for the street. Just before I left that huge building, a young man, a little younger than I, approached me with a big smile and something in his hand.

I had made eye contact, so it was too late to turn my glance! He welcomed me to New York with a broad grin and asked if he could give me a Christian booklet. I breathed a long breath, grateful that he didn’t try to engage me in a conversation. I took the booklet and started walking away.

I saw a bench, sat down to get my bearings for this new adventure and opened the booklet. It was in comic form, and the title got my attention —THIS WAS YOUR LIFE!

As I began looking at the pictures, reading the Bible verses, I started to put it down, but didn’t. When I got to page 4, I did stop!

Seeing the picture of the guy at the bottom of his grave startled me and conviction poured over my being! Page after page, I couldn’t put it down! When I got to the very last page, I read it slowly, several times.

Trying to hold back tears I saw the line “What to Pray,” and I bowed my head and repeated that prayer! Then I went to the ticket agent and bought a ticket back to Texas, having never left the bus station!

After committing my life to Christ in the church that I left, I also committed my life to become a chaplain at a prison facility near my home. I have been at that facility, giving out Chick Tracts and preaching the Gospel, for twenty-seven years now!

Mission Possible, Inc., has kept me supplied with tracts and Bibles to continue this “labor of love” for over twenty of my years! Pray for me —and the other men and women who serve God behind prison walls.

Jo Anna Woody says, “Every church should support missionaries to their local prisons. It is not nearly as complex as sending someone to a foreign mission field. And many of the people there have reached bottom and are now open to the gospel.”

For more information you can call Mission Possible at 352-464-4448 or write to:

  • Mission Possible
  • Box 2728
  • Dunedin, FL 34697

Chick Publications also maintains an account where people can donate to purchase tracts for Mission Possible. Please call us if you would like to make a donation: 909-987-0771

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