One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Carolina Zimbron, Student Public Relations Writer

Taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, a Cedarville University student discovered her calling while sharing God’s love with those who need it the most — individuals incarcerated in an area jail. Marissa Lykins, a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio, found her passion through prison ministry. 

Her experience from the jail ministry has not only positively impacted the lives of some inmates, but it’s changed Lykins’ passion for life. Lykins was in her freshman year when she joined the university jail ministry a campus organization that engages in ministry to the incarcerated. During her time with the ministry, she has experienced many opportunities to share the gospel with the inmates.  

Jail Ministry“Being a part of prison ministry has impacted my life in so many different ways,” Lykins said. “Having the chance to go with a group of students to three different prisons and having conversations with inmates about the Bible has deeply changed my heart. I now have a greater passion to share the gospel anywhere I go.”  

Having the desire to care for inmates was natural for the former social work major at Cedarville University. However, Lykins believed that she needed more biblical training, so she changed course and became a biblical studies major. “I’ve always had a heart for those who are looked down upon in our society and need someone to love them well,” Lykins said. “I feel like inmates are often dismissed, and so when given the opportunity, I was eager to develop a friendship with them.”  

Cedarville students involved in prison ministries visit three different local jails in Greene County several times a week. While it is a major time commitment, students are passionate about meeting with inmates to intentionally build relationships.  

“It is really interesting because I went with the hope of changing their lives, but in reality, they changed mine through the challenging hope they have in the Lord,” Lykins said. 

As the current semester was coming to a close, and understanding that she wanted to better serve inmates, Lykins accepted a summer internship at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  This internship will afford her more opportunities to visit inmates and care for their spiritual needs.  

“I will be going into the men’s prison to create discipleship opportunities, talk about the gospel and help with church services,” Lykins said. “I am super excited to work with men who are in prison right now, and also women who have recently gotten out of jail and are in need of rehabilitation and the gospel.” 

As she gets closer to graduation, Lykins looks forward to working with inmates through prison chaplaincy — with a focus on discipleship.  

“The goal is to help inmates develop a relationship with the Lord that continues once they are released,” Lykins said. “While it has been challenging to present these realities to inmates, God has truly given me a heart for this ministry, and I am excited to see how He will use me in the future.”

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