Friday, June 20, 2008

Jail Ministry

Last Sunday Dad and I had the chance to share with some guys in jail. We get to do this the third Sunday of each month. I don’t know if I have ever given you a good description of what we do in there. After some sort of initial paperwork rigmarole, a deputy escorts us through a series of heavy, very solemn looking doors. We’ve gotten used to this routine after being through it so many times and it doesn’t feel scary any more. The deputies are really quite nice. They take us in to a small meeting room. We usually have a few minutes by ourselves to set up the chairs and pray. Then they bring us the men, in groups, by dorm. We wind up getting an average of 3 groups, with about 45 minutes per group, but we never know in advance how many guys, groups, or minutes there will be. Most of the time the guys are wearing bright orange clothes. They would be well suited for going out hunting! The better behaved inmates can get the privilege of wearing dark green clothes and doing work in the jail facility. A very small percentage of the ones who are almost no threat at all (this is really interesting) actually get to work outside the jail during the day in street clothes and then have to come back and change back into their jail clothes at night.

We usually sing a couple hymns with the men using hymn sheets we bring. We are not allowed to bring them ANYTHING that they actually keep, so we collect the hymn sheets afterwards. Then we share / teach / exhort / pray / talk / interact with them. It’s very unstructured, something like a junior high Sunday School class. Some of the men have really been transformed by the Lord and it’s a delight to hear their testimonies and see their beaming faces. Some men are really hungry for God to change them. We had one like this last Sunday. At Dad’s encouragement, he got down on his knees in front of his dorm mates and God and called on God for salvation from himself! Some men are still apathetic, just kind of “blah” and unfortunately will probably be back again. And some men are angry – at the justice system, at the people who got them in trouble, etc. Last Sunday we had one guy that got so angry with us that he asked to go back to his dorm. That had never happened to us before. He is a very handsome young guy who is extremely tall – tall enough to play basketball. But anger is ruining his life.

Anyways, that is a snapshot of what we do. I’m sorry I can’t give you some real photographs. We aren’t allowed to take cameras in.

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