The mission and calling of IPM is to share God’s love to prisoners by proclaiming His truth which alone is able to set them free (Isaiah 61:1). Through God’s forgiveness, prisoners can experience true freedom and new life in Him. Here at IPM, we want to be used of God in making disciples of Jesus Christ in the often forgotten mission field behind bars in jails and prisons (Matthew 28:19). We praise the Lord for enabling IPM to proclaim these great truths for decades, and are also thankful to God for those who have partnered with us which has enabled IPM to freely distribute Bibles and Christian literature to prisoners.
Chaplain Ray Hoekstra was the Founder and Director of the International Prison Ministry (IPM), which began in 1972. Chaplain Ray and Leola Hoekstra visited many prisons across America and led many prisoners to Christ throughout the years. The Chaplain went home to be with the Lord at the age of 84.
Chaplain Ray’s inspiration for prison ministry came to him at the age of nineteen. A personal friend of his, Ronald Bayles (who was a three-time loser by the age of eighteen) became a believer in Jesus Christ. Soon after his conversion, Ron hitchhiked more than three-hundred miles from Long Beach to Ione, California. There he spent a weekend with young Ray Hoekstra, who was working on the Frank Ringer Ranch. Ron shared the gospel, along with his testimony of a changed life. Ray Hoekstra became Bayles’ first convert! Both young men immediately began preparations for full-time Christian service.
The following years presented many opportunities of ministry for Ray Hoekstra. Increasingly, he was led to use radio as a primary means for sharing the gospel. He became a notable pioneer in Christian radio ministry, serving three terms as President of the Southwest Chapter of the National Religious Broadcasters.