A few weeks ago, I made a last visit to my dear friend of 35 years. I sat next to her, took her hand and said, “Lee, it’s Earlene! I came to say I love you, and to thank you for getting me into prison ministry. I’m still doing it…and I’m in my 80’s!” Blinking her eyes and squeezing my hand, she said, “WOW!” How precious that was to me… it’s what she ALWAYS said I when I returned from a prison trip!
Lee Krueger was on the Orange County Aglow Board in 1980’s when she received a ‘call from the Lord’ to bring God’s love into prisons & jails. She began prayer meetings in her home. I treasure my invitation-letter to the 1st ‘official’ Prayer Meeting for Aglow Prison Ministry January 1984.
Our first monthly Prison service began in CRC, Norco; our second in CIW–the first Women’s Prison in California. We needed Guidelines to ‘train’ the teams, so in 1989, we compiled a Prison Ministry Training Manual to present to Aglow International. We hoped they would pay for it. They loved it, but said: “Print it yourselves and use the money to attend Aglow Conferences!” (Good idea…can’t take offerings in prison!)
In the 1990’s, two large Women’s Prisons were built, each housing 4,000 women. Because I was single and teaching piano for income, I adjusted my schedule to travel to new areas monthly. It was fun to return home to share stories with Lee and hear her exclaim “WOW!” God continued to expand the ministry. Our teams are in ALL women’s state Prisons & many Jails. We have an Annual Retreat where ‘Grads’ (ex-inmates) and teams meet together. Jill Meskimen, our first Grad in 1985, is now the 3rd President after Lee of the Aglow California State Prison Board.
Most people do not know how even before I met Lee, she and my own sister were both in Aglow. In 1982, when I was given a few months to live, my sister asked Lee to pray for me. Who would have dreamed that God had plans for us to be ‘pioneers in prisons’ together? Now I look forward to a great Reunion in Heaven!
Mary Montano & Earlene Leming celebrating Lee’s life.