One visit with an incarcerated friend in 2013 opened the eyes of Victorious Living founder, Kristi Overton Johnson, to the hopelessness of life behind bars. It also birthed in her a desire to deliver hope to the souls of incarcerated men and women through prison outreach. 

Soon after, God opened doors for Victorious Living magazine to be distributed in the prison system. He then led Kristi and the VL team onto prison yards to share His message of hope in person and, more recently, digitally through prison tablets. Before that prison encounter, Kristi had spent 35 years water-skiing competitively worldwide, never considering those who had lost their freedom. But God had a plan for this world champion water-skier to go behind bars to encourage hearts with God’s love and His message of redemption and to equip people to get up and experience victorious living for themselves. 

Since 2013, Victorious Living magazine and prison ministry have impacted the lives of over one million incarcerated souls… and the story is still being written.


Be Part of the Victorious Living Story

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The Eternal Impact of ‘Yes’

Learn more about the start of Victorious Living!

Years before Victorious Living was even an idea, our founder Kristi received a letter from a friend she hadn’t seen in years. The letter began, “Kristi, I’m sorry for any harm I caused your ministry.” It was from Bill, and he was writing from prison. Bill had been a professional boat driver on the water ski and wakeboard tour that Kristi was part of during her time as a competitive water skier. Bill and Kristi had met at a lakeside church service where Bill shared how God had saved his life. At that time, Kristi was running In His Wakes, a water sports outreach ministry. She had even included Bill’s faith testimony in her ministry’s materials. When Bill was arrested and sent to prison, Kristi, like many in the sport, dissociated from him. She stopped using those materials that contained his testimony in an effort to protect the ministry. 

Ironically, in her quest for damage control, Kristi never considered God’s heart concerning Bill or that she could have encouraged her brother in Christ instead of abandoning him. When Kristi received his letter, Bill was halfway through his sentence. He told her about prison life and how God was helping him survive, and he invited her to visit. After talking about it with her husband Tim and praying about the invitation, Kristi walked into the Miami Federal Prison reception room on August 17, 2013. 

At that moment, God filled her heart with His love for the incarcerated and showed her a place where He wanted her to minister. The God of another chance gave Kristi another opportunity to remember the prisoner – and this time, she didn’t miss the opportunity. Saying yes to God changed Kristi’s life, and it brought the Victorious Living family together! 

That simple visit led to Victorious Living’s prison ministry, which includes a bilingual magazine, digital resources, and support for prisoners and their families. Since 2013, over a million inmates have heard the Gospel of Jesus through the magazine, tens of thousands of inmates have been discipled through correspondence and digital broadcasts, and our team has provided inmates and their family members pastoral care and reentry support. To God be the glory!

Will you say yes?

Have you considered the power of saying yes? As one yes leads to another, the chain effect continues. (This also means that one no stops the chain effect.) Because Bill said yes to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to write to Kristi, she was given a unique opportunity to say yes herself, and then others were allowed to say yes. Some became ministry partners while others shared their stories publicly in the pages of VL magazine. And many have accepted Jesus as their Savior. 

Is God inviting you to say yes today? Whether to a deeper relationship or a new ministry, please don’t refuse His invitation. That can feel scary, risky, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable. Maybe you feel unqualified, unable, unequipped, or unprepared. It’s okay. All God needs is your willingness – your yes! He’ll take care of the rest. There are a million copies of Victorious Living circulating in prisons nationwide to prove it. May God put His blessing on your yes today!