by Sandy Russell

At our home office for Visions of Hope, I get the extraordinary privilege of seeing and reading the interaction between the adults in custody and the Otino Waa students.

This past weekend we went to Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for visits both to the Medium/Maximum and Minimum woman’s prisons.  We have such a strong connection with these women and always enjoy our time together.  This time was no exception.

Coffee Creek Correctional

“There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire,

which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity;

but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.”         Washington Irving

Theses ladies contribute crocheted items for Visions of Hope to sell and we then send the funds to help Otino Waa. They also often make gifts for their sponsored child.  They communicate through letters and have developed a strong bond.  They encourage each other with scripture and prayer.  These relationships grow continually and to see love in action you have to know a few more details.

crochet hats2inmate letter

Not only do they contribute crocheted items for Visions of Hope to market, sell and send the funds to help Otino Waa, they also often make gifts for their sponsored child.  They communicate through letters and have developed a strong bond.  They encourage each other with scripture and prayer.  To watch what happens on both sides of the world is more than amazing. These relationships continue to grow as we see World Changers in unusual places.

“I was almost moved to tears….”

We picked up several items on Saturday and as I was labeling and packing them for transport to Otino Waa with the next team, I was almost moved to tears by how creative and personal these gifts were.

“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news.

The good news is you don’t know how great you can be!

How much you can love! What you can accomplish!

And what your potential is.”   – Anne Frank


Carolyn sponsors Gabriel.  They have been writing each other for the past two years.  She found out the things that interest Gabriel were, basketball, soccer, football and all things about the Space Program.  She made a card that would be personal and meaningful to him and included a gift (sports related bracelet) that would match the interests she discovered through his letters to her.

How do you think Gabriel will respond to these generous gifts when he receives them?  I know he will feel valued and special.  He realizes that Carolyn is in prison and has very few resources.  Despite that she managed to give Gabriel this very personal gift.


Shray sponsors Steven.  Shray wanted to send a token of her caring for his birthday. She knows that Steven loves the Lord, so she made three necklaces with crosses.  He will be able to share with his housemates if he wants too.

He also loves basketball and plays it every chance he gets.  Shray does not have the finances to buy him real basketball shoes but found a way to give him a pair.  Look at the creative way she crocheted these “basketball shoes”.  Wow!

crochet shoes

The time invested in figuring out how to make these look like real shoes is truly amazing.  Each stitch Shray made was with thoughts of Steven.  That’s real love.  Her eyes lit up with excitement as she showed me what she had done.  I wish she could see Steven’s eyes light up with the same excitement when he receives them at the weekly kid’s meeting. Oh, to be a fly on the wall that day!!

Roberta sponsors Patricia.  Included with her gift was a newsy letter full of questions to deepen her knowledge of Patricia.  She crocheted two hats and made two beautiful beaded necklaces.  She had previously asked for Patricia’s favorite colors and here you go!

crochet hats

These handmade items will be a treasure that will be held dear for years to come.  I know that as they are worn, thoughts of Roberta will be in Patricia’s mind.  She knows she has someone who loves her, prays for her and knows that God has a special purpose for her as she matures and grows.

How does a prisoner get to the point of such thoughtful actions? 

On both sides of the world, very special discoveries are being made.

Here’s how this becomes personal to YOU.

Visions of Hope currently facilitates 115 adults in custody who sponsor 125 of the Otino Waa students for $5 a month.  Their funds are matched $ for $ by generous individuals and businesses. That would be YOU.

But wait…there’s more.  100% of ALL sponsorship funds go directly to Otino Waa!  Promise!

Just like these adults in custody invest into the lives of these children, you also have the opportunity to partner with them.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.   Ecclesiastes 4:9

Please consider encouraging both the adult and the child by signing up to match their funds.   We were never meant to do this life alone.  We are better together!  Thank you!



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