Bible Believers Fellowship, Inc. was founded in 1988 by Eric and Anne Kaestner.
Our prison ministry received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS in September, 1990.
We are members of two federations "Christian Charities USA" and "America's Best Charities."
This organization began in 1988 with the publication and distribution of 100 copies of "The Good News Letter." It was at a time when there had been many scandals within the Christian church. And a lot of believers had become discouraged and felt abandoned by their leaders. We wanted to show them that the Lord still loves them. And that He would make a new path for them to follow (Isaiah 42:16).
However, the newsletter became more popular than we had anticipated. We received so much encouragement and support from our community that the following month we printed 300 copies. By the third month we found that it was more economical to print 1,000 copies through a commercial printer than half that amount through the retail printer. However, that posed a new problem. What would we do with the extras?
We contacted nursing homes, prisons, military bases, etc. However, the greatest source of enthusiasm came from letters we received from Christian inmates. We were overwhelmed by their love and support. We received letters from prison chaplains too, of many denominations, including Catholics. One chaplain told us that each time our newsletter came in, there would be a long line of inmates outside his office, waiting to receive one. Another chaplain wrote to us requesting 2,000 copies for his facility. The need for Christian material continued to grow but our resources did not. We had received a few donations. But we had no dependable source of funding.
So in 1989 we became a non-profit organization. In 1990, we were made tax-exempt by the IRS. We were therefore, accepted into the Long Island Combined Federal Campaign for 1991.
By 1992, Bible Believers Fellowship, Inc. had expanded into so many states across the country that we were accepted into the National "Combined Federal Campaign."
In April 1993, we opened our first office in Baldwin, New York, and began hiring a small staff. The demand for Christian material and prayer for inmates in prison and facilities for youth offenders continued to grow. Before long, we were assisting
chaplains and inmates in facilities such as Sing Sing in New York, San Quentin and Pelican Bay in California, Florida State Prison, Joliet Correctional Center in Illinois, and Estelle High Security Unit in Texas. The number of
facilities grew to over 470 in 48 states.
In February 1994, the first issue of our newsletter was published in Spanish. The publication was named "La Carta De Buenas Nuevas" which is "The Good News Letter" in Spanish.
By 1996, the Lord led us to make our presence known on the World Wide Web. We obtained this globally by joining the Baldwin Chamber of Commerce which allowed members to be listed and have their own websites.
In late 1997, we decided that it would be advantageous for our prison ministry to get its own domain name for the type of ministry it is. In January 1998, Bible Believers Fellowship, Inc. received its domain name of www.prisonministry.org.
We also decided to obtain a domain name for our organization. Therefore, from 2000 to the present we can also be found on the Internet by using biblebelieversfellowship.org.
In 2001, Bible Believers Fellowship, Inc. joined the federations "Christian Charities USA" and "Independent Charities of America" (renamed to "America's Best Charities"). This has enabled us to also participate in State run campaigns throughout the country.
In 2002, we were accepted into state campaigns in Maryland, Michigan, Connecticut, California, and Pennsylvania.
In 2003, Washington became our sixth state in which we were listed.
In 2004, we joined campaigns in the states of New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Assistance to more than 400 correctional facilities throughout the United States continued until 2009 when funding began to drop. Therefore, we decided to stop printing "The Good News Letter" with the Autumn 2009 issue being the last one. Previously, the printed version in Spanish was stopped with the publication of the July/August issue in 1998.
We also decided to cut the number of states and facilities. And we decreased the amount of material to each of the remaining ones too. The number of states that we assisted decreased to 25 and the correctional facilities down to about 120. We thank God for the kindness of Christians who have donated Bibles and similar material that we provide to the prisons and youth facilities.
But with increasingly low funding, the number of states that we now assist has been decreased to 20 and the correctional facilities down to 61.
In November, 2015, we decided that our World Wide Web site should be upgraded from http to a secure https site. Our site was upgraded a month later, so by December, 2015, prisonministry.org was now secured. It is still secured
as of today.
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Our Christian prison ministry is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.