The R Star Ministries:
Over 25 years ago, way back in the early 80’s, Rosalind Russell began her one-on-one writing relationships with inmates who first wrote her to write to them. To begin with, those who wrote her were friends of friends/acquaintances and people she knew.
The only way she takes on new inmates is by having them ‘invite her’ to be in their lives with the purpose of making their time in prison/jail actually meaningful; leading them to better lives once released; getting honest in their spirits. Technically speaking, to make a difference right in prison is always her goal with each inmate.
No person she has worked with has returned to prison or jail. The recidivism in California alone is 80%, so what she does is helpful to the return of an inmate to a productive life; for society to have another producer returned and for families to become whole after an ordeal with incarceration. Prison affects more than the inmate and victim(s).
The invitation from the inmate to Rosalind is explained by her as purposeful in a few ways. She uses the concept of the picture most of the Western world knows: Jesus the Christ standing at a door knocking; there is no door knob for Him to enter, thus he must be ‘invited’ to enter.
Her premise is when they ask her to write them, they are opening to possibilities for their lives to improve. They are enlisted in the idea it is their idea to write, not a have to stated by anyone/court, etc., which gives them a touch of control in their out of control life. Trust and honesty do develop as time goes on between the inmate and Rosalind or the inmate will be dismissed.
Her promise is to generate a reply to their letters within 48-24 hours, all things being possible since she travels and has other ministries to manage. They only get letters from her when they write to her. They agree to share their booking records with her so there are no misgivings about the case, the circumstances. This adds to honest, as well as the inmate feeling ‘accepted’ since no judgment is given by her.
Many inmates have enjoyed the letters she writes sharing aspects of her own life while encouraging them to their finest and best. She also sends post cards generously from her travels which includes her other ministerial work of the ministries.
The post cards are not generated by their letters to her, just from her heart to share real life with them from wherever she is. Rosalind always attempts to remind them of what freedom is; where they can go after release because of the trust they will gain for their ability to achieve; foods they can eat by choice; real life issues she keeps in their faces even on a note on the post card.
From her they are offered uplifting thinking, guidance when asked and comfort someone cares; they are not forgotten and subjugated as worthless trash they learn from her, she reminds and blesses them to their best. Honest encouragement in the religion of their heart is encouraged. It is hoped they return to a daily practices of prayer and or meditation. She includes them in her own prayer group and list, daily; which automatically includes all victims and families too.
The inmates are not required or asked to stay in touch with Rev. Russell following their release, but all have chosen to do so to date. After all the years of writing to each other, a relationship is developed; they can go forward because of the shared history they kept up with for years in letters, but it is always their choice as Rosalind will not extend what might not serve them, however she will gladly remain in touch if that is what they desire, all other matters being in balance too..
The blessings for Rosalind for the prison work comes in knowing the many successes of the inmates both from within the prison and outside with their work, drugless/alcohol free life; family communication returned; higher education or training taken gladly; returning to a church or practice to lift them forever. She does not charge for her gift to inmates.
Only three times has money come in to assist the work Rosalind provides; once $100.00 to make visits to an inmate held in RJD, prison in San Diego; a air trip with a rental car to visit an inmate up north and a roll of stamps of 100 to use to write to inmates. That is it.
Those inclined to assist in funding are invited to do so at their level of generosity. Just contact us via the email: [email protected] or send gifts to: PO Box 4183, Laguna Beach, CA 92652-4183 with a notation it is for the prison ministry.
For more information in general, just contact us and we will be glad to answer your questions.