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2024 3 26 prisonThe Aglow Prison Ministry in California is celebrating 40 years of reaching into prisons with the Love of Jesus. Enjoy Earlene Leming’s first-hand story as she walks down memory lane.

Walk back in history with me to a winter night in January 1984, and go with me as we join a group of women in a home in Southern California. Sense the excitement as you hear their voices. Feel God’s love as they begin to introduce themselves with hugs! Listen quietly as a tiny lady named Lee Krueger welcomes them to the “First Official Meeting” of Aglow Prison Ministry. Forty years later, we understand these women were chosen by God to pioneer His plan for a Miracle Ministry. Today, It is my joy to share some unique beginning stories...because I was there.

1983, Lee Krueger resigned from a position on the Orange County Board of Aglow International Women’s Ministry. She sensed God wanted her to “take the love of Jesus” through Aglow ladies INSIDE prisons & jails. There would be NO Luncheons with Guest Speakers and programs. Inmates would be fed the “Bread of Life” and “Living Water”. They would meet Jesus, follow Him, and see miracles!

Because Jesus sent His disciples out into the world “two by two”, God followed that pattern for this ministry. He brought Mary Andrews, a praying mother who understood the Prison System well. She learned it through visiting her children who were “in and out” of jail for many years. Together, they organized the monthly Prayer & Training Meetings at Lee’s home. Together, they selected some teams and submitted them to Training conducted by Chaplain Steve Lowe under the Pacific Youth Organization. The Aglow Prison Ministry was birthed in local Juvenile Facilities!

I conclude my first story with a recent observation. One of our Grads, Rhonda, who moved to Arizona, now leads a team of Aglow women in a local State Juvenile Hall. They hope to attend the Fortieth APM Anniversary Celebration at our Annual Prison Retreat in June 2024. Just look what the Lord Hath Done!

Here is the timeline of events:

"Aglow Prison Ministry Milestones"

1984 - Aglow Prison Ministry began the first Aglow meetings at California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, CA with a team of 15 women, under the leadership of a newly formed "area board" w/Lee Krueger as President. (Earlene Leming, Bruce & Dorothy Johnson were on the original team)

1985 - Jill Meskimen was paroled. Aglow Prison Ministry "named" the paroled women GRADS.

1989 - The first "Aglow Prison Board" was formed in CA, with/ Field Coordinators appointed to oversee new areas: Betty Acker-north, and Dee Klaus-south. (CRC & CIW under Lee Krueger)

  • Lee and Earlene presented the "Aglow Prison Ministry Training Manual" to the Aglow International Board and Jane Hansen in Lynwood, WA.
  • Earlene Leming was appointed VP of Leadership Training to conduct ongoing APM Training in CA.
  • Mary Montano appointed as VP Outreach...first 'grad" to hold an office on APM Board

1995 - Rachel Bondshu was appointed President of Aglow Prison Ministry. 

  •  APM teams conducted services in 5 Prisons: CRC, CIW, NCWF, CCWF and VSPW
  •  APM Spanish ministry under the leadership of Sara Rodriquez conducted services in CCWF and Spanish Training in other areas.

1996 - Jill Meskimen appointed VP of Administration

2002 - Rachel Bondshu, Betty Acker, and Earlene Leming resigned from APM together. Patty Rose became the new President, Jill Meskimen (grad) VP of Events & VP of Administration, and Allison Bown, VP of Leadership Training.

2011 - Jill Meskimen became the first "grad' to be appointed President of Aglow Prison Ministry.

2024 - Aglow Prison Ministry celebrating 40 years of Ministry throughout California

  •  31st Annual Retreat will be June 21-23, 2024 in Oakhurst, CA

And we will end with the 2023 year in a report from Jill

Dear Friends of APM,

In the year 2023, we had the Victory! In the NAME OF JESUS, we had the Victory!! And we will continue to have the Victory and take back what the enemy stole!

Jail and prison doors have started opening back up, and our leaders and teams gathered to prepare. It’s not been an easy task because once time goes by, our teams have to re-submit and be approved through applications and lots of paperwork, background checks, and re-gaining our slots in each facility.

I’d like to give a shout-out to our teams and ask you to be praying with us: “Heavenly Father, we need more leaders and volunteers to go into jails and prisons under Your Aglow Prison Ministry. Send the workers, Lord! Thank You! Amen!”

Because of the type of ministry, we don’t always get to see ‘fruit’ because often we get the inmates for an hour and then they are gone. But sometimes we get a glimpse.

Here is a testimony from a few years ago:

One Sunday, my usual day to go into Sacramento Downtown Jail, my partner Vi wasn’t able to go. We always go in twos as the Bible says. I decided to go alone that day. There was a new officer there in training and she didn’t know that only 20 women were allowed to attend, so she let ALL the women out into the Central Area (about 50 women).

Well, I was by myself and there were many tough gang women there and I did not have any music, but I did have song sheets and began to sing an old Sunday school song “The Lord is My Shepherd.” Now, I don’t have a good singing voice and tried to get the women to sing with me, but they didn’t. By this time I broke out into a sweat... I continued with my teaching on Psalm 23 and drove the 2 hours home... all the way wondering if I reached anyone with the Good News!

A few years later we were in a different facility, RCCC, for an Easter service and a woman excitedly ran up to me asking if I remembered her. I graciously asked her how she was doing (as I didn’t remember her). She said “I gave my life to the Lord Jesus when you were at the Downtown Jail and sang that song. I thought you were so brave and it really touched my heart.” Who would have ever guessed!?

So, when you wonder if you are making a difference, just remember, we preach the Gospel and the Lord brings the fruit!

Please consider joining CA Aglow Prison Ministry. It honors God to visit the prisoner! This is the time of year we submit our Annual Report and Testimonies. We hope you enjoy reading them and praying over each Area, and of course, for those in Prison as it says… to visit the prisoners. They are precious to the Lord and to us. Matthew 25:36b “I was in prison, and you came to Me.” Thank you for all you do for Aglow Prison Ministry. You are a big part of reaching those lost and suffering.

Gratefully, Jill Meskimen President, CA Aglow Prison Ministry