Dear Supporters of PiFO,
Last week I wrote about an article that Dr. Amit Bhatia prepared for an op ed piece in a local publication. Dr. Bhatia is the Director of the Corban extension in the Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI). In the article Dr. Bhatia wrote:
“Imagine yourself stepping into your classroom in a prison. As you begin instruction, the vision that you have turning over in your head is that of Jesus standing in the center of the classroom singing and dancing and rejoicing over what he has done and is doing in the lives of your students…God is changing our students. On the first day of class one student thumped his chest and responded with great enthusiasm, ‘I am a Corban University student!’”
If you are a professor, or staff person or student, or administrator at Corban on the outside, in the free world, how proud you must be about this student’s declaration! If you are a staff person or an administrator at OSCI, how proud you must be about opening this transformative educational opportunity for your adults in custody!
Last week, our students also shared with Dr. Bhatia how the Corban program affected them academically. This week our students share how the program has affected them spiritually. Here are a few of their responses they gave to Dr. Bhatia:
“God is not done with me yet. He is putting me to work, giving me a purpose for his kingdom. My life of freedom may be over, but I am not down and out. Never count God out.”
“This opportunity has been an absolute blessing. I feel like I’m learning something every day. Our Bible Study Methods Course has taught me to really slow down and take in what I’m reading. Quantity is not what is important but understanding God’s word is. Although I may be in prison, I still look at this as an opportunity of a lifetime.”
“I have learned new ways to pray. In chapel we sit in a circle around an empty chair and give honor to Jesus just as the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4 do. I have also learned to pray ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).”
“I learned that for God I am enough, with all my flaws and virtues; that he can help me to work on my flaws, and my virtues are because of him and to honor him.”
“This program, this gift, has created an oasis in the heart of a spiritual desert. Fostered within this atmosphere, my spiritual walk is being awakened and revelation of my greater purpose is becoming clearer.”
“I can’t change the world, but if I change myself I can help make it a better place one person at a time.”
Dr. Bhatia further wrote:
“One of the visions I had for our Corban extension was to develop a weekly chapel service. We meet for an hour for a brief time of worship in song, spending the bulk of the time in prayer. We clear out the classroom of desks and chairs and then sit in a circle around a chair that represents the throne of Jesus, a pattern I drew from Revelation 4. As we have prayed, God has moved. I have had students break down in tears out of gratitude to Christ for giving them an opportunity to become part of Corban’s program; students have hugged and publicly apologized to other students for getting into interpersonal conflicts while working on team projects; and students have also tearfully apologized for having and acting out on “bad attitudes towards them.”
Undoubtedly, God is transforming these men. It is only possible through your continued prayer and financial support. We are planning for our virtual fundraiser to be held in late fall or winter. Will you consider offering a scholarship to one of our 49 students? See how you can help by going to YOUR INVESTMENT on our website.
Full scholarships or partial scholarships can be provided by individuals, small groups, churches or businesses. Our students are praying for all the supporters of PiFO. Let’s pray for them.
Grateful as always,
Our board is meeting and praying about how God wants us to proceed with our Fundraiser this year. Please join us in prayer!