Woman overcomes abuse to minister to prisoners | StarNewsOnline.comPosted: January 15, 2012
By Amanda Greene, Religion News Wilmington
Published: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 11:41 a.m.
Editor’s Note: This story is the result of a year following the Rev. Jennifer Kostyal’s prison ministry.
Danielle Norris awoke in her bunk at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh at 3 a.m. one morning in 2011 to a nightmare.
Beside Norris’ bunk, she found a book she’d laid there, a bible study by Wilmington minister the Rev. Jennifer Kostyal. She hadn’t really read it until that night.
“I dreamed I had been in a car crash, and I was standing over my own body, and it scared me so bad ‘cause I saw my two little girls there really wanting their mama back, and I couldn’t hold them ‘cause I was dead,” she wrote in a letter to Kostyal days later. “I got up and was crying so hard and begging God to help me when I found your book laying on a little table. I think that when I prayed so hard for God to help me that he did by sending me your book.”
A six-inch high stack of letters from female prisoners regularly tops Jennifer Kostyal’s desk each week at her Transformed by the Word Ministries office in the tiny town of Scotts Hill, in southeastern North Carolina. She hand-writes a letter back to each female prisoner, some who write from South Carolina or Tennessee institutions.
“The women say this bible study really blessed us because you’ve lived our story,” Kostyal said. “All of the abuse as a little girl for me was worth the healings of these beautiful women.”