Lighthouse Prison Ministries, Inc.
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
January 13, 2022
DEAR FAITHFUL FRIENDS AND PARTNERS:
The year 2021 was a challenging, yet fruitful year in the jails where I bring the Gospel. Even with the hurdle that the Covid lockdowns presented, the Lord opened many doors for me to bring the good news to those who are bruised and broken.
I NEED GOD IN MY LIFE
My first day back into the mission field in 2022 was unusually cold for Texas. As I approached the jail complex that houses approximately 10,000 inmates, I decided to go in through an entrance I don’t usually take just to avoid the cold. I walked through the tunnel that connects the jails and the courthouse and entered the basement of the jail. There I encountered an inmate sitting alone in a chair reading a Bible. I paused and asked him what passage he was reading. He said, “Psalm 139.” He said he knew nothing about the Bible, but had just picked it up and opened it up there randomly. I sat down in the empty chair next to him and said, “Let me see if I can tell you what it says,” and I began to quote it by memory as he read along. He was quite amazed that I had it memorized. I explained to him that over 40 years ago I sat in a court room facing my eighth felony related to my heroin addiction and trafficking of heroin and had been court ordered to a program where Bible memorization was required. I told him that Psalm 139 was one of the first chapters I ever memorized. He then told me he was he was in jail for possession of four kilos of heroin and that it was “very weird” that I had stopped to talk to him. At that point he said to me, “I am 54 years old, I am tired and empty, and I NEED GOD IN MY LIFE.”
I asked him what he thought the odds were that I would come through this tunnel, find him by himself reading a chapter that changed my life, and for both us to have been arrested for the same crime. I then used Psalm 139 to show him the Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Providence of God and how God had orchestrated our meeting. I explained to him that the message of the entire Bible is Salvation and that God was obviously drawing him to a new birth in Christ. We had a business meeting with the Lord right there in the tunnel, and Jose embraced by faith the finished work of Christ. I went and got him a really nice Bible and wrote in the flyleaf “Happy New Year” and “Happy Birthday” with several verses pertaining to security and sanctification. How true it is that salvation is of the Lord.
A HUG FOR ALL OF YOU
I was recently invited to attend a church service where some of the men I had ministered to in jail planned to meet. They had all been a part of my grace-based New Path Program that the Lord helped me implement in the jail. We truly became a band of brothers for Christ.
One of the guys, Stuart (“Stu”), was at the church with his dad, who he had been begging me to meet. Stu had been put in the Program without my permission or my requesting it; it was totally a God thing. Stu was immediately confronted by the inmates in the Program with the Love of God, the Word of God, and a demonstration of the Power of God. Stu, like me, had struggled for many years with heroin addiction. His parents had exhausted all means and money, and prayed many prayers trying to fix their son. It was in the cellblock where the Word of God was read, memorized, and taught (and the television was turned off) that Stu’s life was eternally transformed.
Immediately after the closing prayer at this church service, Iwas accosted by a man who proceeded to crack my back with a bear hug. It was Stu’s dad thanking me for being there for his son. That hug was actually A HUG FOR ALL OF YOU who have stood with us in prayer and support for so many years. Thank you for being a vital part of reaching the least and the lost. Stu has been out for a good while and has started his own business now. Pray for the men who have gotten out that they will remain accountable to God, His Word, and His church.
WHEN THE WORD OF GOD IS OPENED THE VOICE OF GOD IS HEARD
Please pray for protection and power for the ongoing ministry. We are now changing much of the way we conduct ministry due to the darkness, violence, and Biblical ignorance of these times. The violence inside the jail and on the streets of Houston is at an all-time high, and the need for a move of the Lord has never been greater. Pray for me as I try to enlist new soldiers of the Cross of Christ to come into jail to serve.
We are constantly reminded that the world as we know it is not the world that was originally created. Although sin remains, it no longer reigns in the lives of those who know Christ. We live in the realm of the three groans of Romans 8 and long for the full fruition of our salvation as promised in His Word. (I Peter1:5) These are days when it has never been more vital for all of us to abide in the Word of God. Never forget that WHEN THE WORD OF GOD IS OPENED THE VOICE OF GOD IS HEARD.
John & Anne Downs
March 15, 2020
DEAR FAITHFUL FRIENDS AND PARTNERS:
“He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but UNTO HIM who died for them, and rose again.” ( II Corinthians 5:15)
We pray this letter finds you resting in the wonderful redemption of our Lord who gave Himself for us that we might have know the way, the truth, and the life. Thank you for your faithfulness through the years of standing in the gap for us as we fulfill His call and His command to go. Truly God is good and yours prayers and support have been a demonstration of the goodness of our Lord. Our son John has been home with the Lord for two years, and God’s grace and your prayers continue to sustain us.
NEW PATH PROGRAM
I continue to share the gospel in the same jail where I was incarcerated as a young man. The Harris County Jail is the mission field where most of my days are spent, and it is where I get to share Christ with law enforcement officers as well as with many of the 9,000 inmates housed in downtown Houston. As most of you know, the Lord used a district judge to order me to a Bible-based program in 1978 after being arrested for my eighth felony related to heroin addiction. The Harris County Sheriff’s Department has now given me my own cellblock to duplicate the program that saved my life!!!! I am very excited to be able to handpick men who want to come out of darkness and walk in the Light of Jesus Christ. Please pray for the NEW PATH PROGRAM. The same week the cellblock opened up, a family called me about their young son, Conner, who had been arrested and was near death. I moved Conner into my new cellblock away from the chaos of the rest of the jail. As Conner got his heart right with the Lord, his eyes, which had once been darkened by sin, filled with light. He has since been released but every time I talk to him he tells me that he believes God made the New Path Program happen just for him! My answer is “yes” to his statement, because even if it saved his life alone, it has all been worth it. We teach the Sufficiency of Salvation (Romans 1:16), the Sufficiency of the Scripture (II Timothy 3:16-17), and the Sufficiency of Sanctification (Philippians 1:6).
I had the wonderful honor early this year to visit my friends at REGENERATION RESERVATION in Arizona. Scott and Kathy Murphy have been used of God to minister to the American Indians for well over 30 years and have established an incredible ministry in the tribal jail on the San Carlo Apache Reservation. It was such a joy to be able to share my testimony to the Apache men in that tribal jail. Many of the men on the reservation never reach the age of forty due to the epidemic of substance abuse. I thank God that Scott has extended an open invitation to come and be a part of what Jesus is doing there. Please pray that the Lord will continue open new doors to share the good news of salvation.
Let me close by once again saying, “thank you” for being a blessing to so many. As we move toward another crucial election in our nation we must remember that our ultimate hope and focus must be on the Kingdom of God and not the kingdom of man. Certainly we must pray and do our duty as American citizens, but we must never forget the admonition Paul wrote to the church from his prison cell in a totally depraved culture in 1st century Rome. He reminded us in Philippians 3:20 that our TRUE CITIZENSHIP and our primary allegiance are to King Jesus, and our main duty is to obey His command to go. Salvation of souls is the only answer for this world.
John & Anne Downs
March 11, 2019
Hear John Downs give a testimony of how God saved him from a life of heroin addiction. This link will take you to the Roloff Evangelistic Enterprise “Family Altar Program” website:
December 28, 2017
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2017
One of the highlights of 2017 was sharing my story with the Apache Indians in Arizona at a tribal jail. Meth addiction has devastated the reservation, and it was such a joy to go with missionary Scott Murphy and love on those guys. Pray for the ongoing work at Regeneration Reservation in Arizona.
Because of the nature of the field God has called me to, I take great joy when I see abiding fruit in a life. One of the greatest joys I have is going to prison with some guys I have seen come to Christ, get out, live for God, and then go back in to share the message. I recently was with one such man who came to Christ in my service over 20 years ago and now has homes that house prisoners who are getting out with no place to live. That one salvaged and serving life is why I go.