February 2023 Magic Valley Chaplains Newsletter

February 2023 MVC Newsletter 

Fellowship: MVC BBQ and Chaplains Appreciation Banquet – There was a great n turnout for the summer BBQ hosted by Barry & Tracy Knoblich. The Chaplains Appreciation Banquet was also very well attended this year. It was quite a night for delicious food (prepared by Tracy and Barry), fun, and fellowship. Dutch Zuiderveld was honored for his service, and we were entertained by Leah Wyatt. A general meeting was held during the banquet and the MVC officers for 2023 were elected. 

Newspaper article- The article below was featured in the MV Times-News.

Inmate Christmas Cards- Annually, area churches and schools helped the Magic Valley Chaplains organization provide a Christmas card for all the inmates in our area. Over 700 cards are colored with a note of encouragement sharing Christ’s message of love and hope. Christmas is a difficult time for the incarcerated during the Holidays and the cards show they are remembered. We want to thank the children and teachers from the Twin Falls Reformed Church, Amazing Grace Fellowship, Saint Edwards School, Lighthouse Fellowship, Believers Church, and the Twin Falls Christian Academy for the work they do on these beautiful cards. 

Website changes – Check out the updates on the website: https://mvchaplains.com.  We changed the Leadership page and added information regarding the Inmate Book Drive project.  

Book Drive – As chaplains we want to meet the needs of the inmates. Having a well-stocked library of good reading materials is always a need. With the help of churches, individuals and thrift stores we stock all seven locations we serve with good clean donated paperback books. The Twin Falls CRC Reentry Center also excepts hardcover books. Over 800 donated used paperback reading books were delivered to all the jail facilities we serve last year, and we have already donated over 150 this year. If you have books to donate, please contact us at [email protected].

Fund Raising – Our 501C3 Magic Valley Chaplains ministry was blessed with major donations from the Twin Falls Reformed Church and the Believers Church. Both churches provided the opportunity to speak about our ministry at their fellowships. We were also part of Mission Sunday at Amazing Grace Fellowship.

Goals and Growth for 2023 – Leadership approved exploring ministry needs for- Mountain Home, Blaine County, Camas County, and Lincoln County jail facilities. We are seeking God’s will regarding these potential opportunities. We are setting up a MVC endowment fund to ensure this ministry can support inmate materials and projects in the future.  While it is not currently funded, we are seeking God’s wisdom. 

New MVC Chaplains
We welcome Bruce Venable, Preston Helstrom, Kathy Blamires, Jeanette Dring, Bonnie Kumba, and Jordon Greager.  Thank you all for your hearts to serve the incarcerated. 

Facility Updates

Twin Falls County Jail: Kathy Steinmetz – We have really seen God at work at the Twin Falls County Jail! Chaplains are providing three services per week (Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday) with few exceptions. We are excited to see many inmates come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and to witness inmates growing spiritually. We continue to make 1:1 chaplain visits several times per week to bring God’s hope and encouragement to the struggling. God has also blessed us with new volunteer chaplains, who have been vetted, approved, and plugged into our services. As inmates hunger and thirst for God’s Word, requests for Bibles and Bible-based materials remain very popular. What a blessing and joy it is to be able to supply these materials to all who asked. Magic Valley Chaplain materials for this jail are stored at the TFRC. Remember you must sign out the materials you take from the inventory. We want to keep it easy for you but need the inventory numbers to match the supply and demand. Contact Barry Knoblich or Kathy if you have questions on materials for the Twin Falls jail.

Twin Falls Juvenile Detention: Zach Ivey – Church services are held every Sunday at the Snake River Juvenile Detention center. The facility has seen variations in how many juveniles are detained on a given Sunday. However, it seems to be consistent that all detainees in the facility are participates in the church services. The adolescents are eager to hear and participate, often asking questions. We are excited to see what God does in this season and are committed to the work being done in the lives of these students.

Mini-Cassia: Jed Thomas – Cassia jail is seeing on average 5-6 inmates weekly in one-on-one visits. We have seen more women requesting chaplain visitation compared to last year. We currently have 7 chaplains serving the Mini-Cassia facility. There have been leadership changes at the facility, and we are praying that regular church services will be able to resume in the future and will be discussing this with the Mini-Cassia Sherriff. 

Mini-Cassia Juvenile Detention: Barry Knoblich – Barry met with the director, Trent Bodily, in December with books for library, Christmas cards for juveniles, and Youth Bibles. Tammy Zimmerman is heading the weekly church services for the juveniles.

Gooding County Jail: Rick Martingt – Live church services are offered each Tuesday evening with ladies and men. Spanish-language services are provided.  Remote options for services are provided as needed. Dutch Zuiderveld had to step down from the leadership position until his health improves (please keep Dutch in your prayers). There are four chaplains active at Gooding, and there is an opening for another.

Jerome County Jail: Barry Knoblich – Jerome had a PREA and “Con Games” classes in December. We have been given permission to offer communion to the inmates. The Jerome facility has weekly services for men, ladies, and Spanish-language inmates. We have been given another time for the men inmates on Sunday evenings. The new service schedule is:  Men Thursdays 7-9:30 PM & Sundays 7PM-9:30PM, Ladies Sundays 2-4:30 PM, Spanish Saturdays 3-5:30 PM. We have been blessed with several new Jerome chaplain to fill the new men’s Sunday schedule. The demand for church in this facility is heavy and we are allowed to go into the locked blocks at times to cover the requests for Chaplain visits. We are offering the Gospel Echo’s Bible study course in Jerome under the direction of Chaplain Phil Gerrish.   

IDOC Reentry Center: Barry Knoblich – We were given permission to offer communion to the residents. In December we offered a Christian concert at the facility. The Reentry Center Chaplain services are scheduled for every Wed. evening at 7-8PM. The service numbers average ten men. We supplied many reading books for their library and Christmas cards for the residents. They have had staff changes at the facility.  Remote equipment supplied by MVC is in place and the process to complete the procedures to operate remotely should be fully functioning in September. 

Teen Challenge: Laura Staub- We currently have 15 students and 2 infants. We have 7 beds available.  Our counseling program is going great; we have received a grant from the state and will begin outpatient services within the next few months. We graduated 7 students in 2022.