Located one hour northwest of Baton Rouge, the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is the largest maximum-security prison in the U.S. Over 5,000 inmates reside there. Many are fathers to a collective 20,000 children. Most are serving life sentences with virtually no hope of ever leaving prison.
The good news is that over 1,000 inmates are Christians as well as the warden, Burl Cain. For over a decade, Cain has strived to improve the conditions at Angola. Wardens from across the country now come to him for advice on how to change patterns of inmate violence and apathy. Warden Cain believes that emphasizing faith in Christ has helped turn Angola around.
In October 2003, Warden Cain invited Awana Co-Founder Art Rorheim and President/CEO Jack Eggar to speak to the prison's fellowship of Christian men. What they found was inspiring. The inmates recognized their role as spiritual leaders of their families and wanted an evangelism and discipleship program established to reach their children. The Awana Lifeline program was born.
From the seed planted at that one prison, Awana Lifeline has grown to include more and more prisons. And from those prisons, our programs have now expanded to impact local churches and community-based groups. Why? Because lives are being changed through Jesus Christ.
Children desperately need fathers. And Awana lifeline is inspiring and equipping men, families, churches and communities to develop godly fathers, regardless of their circumstances.