In the summer of 2011, I first felt God's call to begin work in the prison ministry. Not knowing why or much about the process of serving in this area, I submitted my first application to the State for approval to be a volunteer. After almost two years and three applications later, God was ready to send me out to minister as part of wonderful and holy group of missionaries. It's hard to describe in words how serving our Lord God in this ministry blessed me. To be able to bring the good news of hope and the truth of His love and forgiveness to these men just bless me beyond anything that I had expected. When I was ministering there my first time in prison, I found myself completely dependent on God's mercy and faithfulness in so many ways. I've come to know and love my God even more as a result of this experience.
I realize now that during these last two years, God was doing much work in me, preparing me in way's I didn't realize. God had worked in my heart as I had asked him to do so many times. So many prayers asking God to break my heart for what breaks his and to give me eyes to see what he sees. He is so faithful and I am so thankful.
Prison Ministry - The following is a brief synopsis of a recent Prison Fellowship event held at
Orleans Correctional in Albion NY. The event is to be a three day event that
has been in the planning stages for several months. We will be doing the second
half of a video presentation. The material is from John Eldrige entitled Fathered by God. It deals with six stages of the masculine journey from beloved son to sage. The primary focus is on allowing God to father men in ways our earthly fathers never did or never could. For many of these men this information will be life changing.
Can something like this just happen unopposed? Can something like this just happen without dedicated volunteers who are committed to the cause and refuse to be dismayed? Absolutely
not. After all we have been doing this a long time. Should be easy by now,
First attack. A long time volunteer’s name is mysteriously omitted from the gate clearance list. The officer will not allow her in. Her name was submitted for this event weeks
earlier but now can not be found.
Second attack. Permission to take in DVD’s was granted for this seminar. The officer can’t find them on his list. Remember this is a video based curriculum. The DVD’s are the heart of this
seminar. After a discussion with the officer of the watch permission is granted.
The DVD.s can go in.
Third attack. After winning the battle to get the DVD’s in we now find out that the DVD player to be supplied by the facility is locked up in the Chaplain’s office. She is not in the facility
and will not be with us until tomorrow morning. There will no video presentation
We have learned to expect this opposition in Prison Ministry. The Holy Spirit meets us in a gymnasium that is now a sanctuary for the next three days. Over forty men have turned out for a time of encounter with the Living God. The hearts of many are touched.
Discouragement and darkness flees. Joy and strength in God are restored. This is
why we have come. God’s plan will not be undone.
Fourth attack. After a great evening we finally arrive at the gate to leave. These are electric doors that can only be opened by an officer from inside. The first door will not open if
the second was not properly closed. Usually we hear one loud click and then the
door can be opened. This evening we just hear a strange series of repeated
clicks. The door will not open. We can not leave. This goes on for several
minutes. Finally an officer comes out and closes the first door. With great
relief we now hear the loud click and our freedom is granted. Behind us though
are many men who will not know freedom this night. After a time of prayer
outside the facility we go our separate ways for the evening. Tomorrow will be
another day to serve. God will meet us again. He does not disappoint. Forty one men
will hear the Word of God. Lives have been changed.
I write this not to discourage those who might consider being involved with Prison Fellowship. I write it as an encouragement. The rewards far outweigh the cost. We need to
remain determined. We need to remain committed to the Gospel. This ministry will
go on. God will be glorified if we do not give up.