Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Amazing Time in Jail

On Sunday, Dad and I went for our regular, once a month visit to a local jail to do church services for inmates.

We had the most incredible time there that I think we’ve ever had.

When we arrive each time, an officer comes and checks our driver licenses and writes them down in a log book. The officer this time had the last name "Tompkins" on his badge. (Names have been changed.) It just so happened that at the homeschool convention on Friday I had bumped in to a woman named Phyllis Tompkins. We had gone to the same church as the Tompkins family in the early 90s and had not seen them since then. So, just on a chance, I asked him, "Do you know a Phyllis Tomkins?" He said, "Yes, it's my mom!" What a 'coincidence'! We enjoyed getting caught up on new

Then, we had three really good meetings with three groups of inmates. The second group of 9 was especially incredible. The guy who has become the spiritual leader in that dorm was, last time I saw him a month or two ago, a mocker. The transformation in his life is remarkable—his face looks different. At the end Dad said something about “Is there anything you guys want to get free of?” Almost immediately this young man said, “Yes, pornography. I have been getting out on work release some days, and when I do, I have had the opportunity to look at porn.” Then almost immediately, a Native American guy said, “I need to be freed from what I have euphemistically called recreational drug use.” Another guy said “Alcohol”. There was an unusual level of brokenness and humility in this group. And it was evident that the brokenness of the leader was trickling down to his dorm mates. He quietly told us afterwards, “I didn’t want to confess my porn addiction, but God told me I needed to.” When you see sights like that, it just makes you praise God that you were even privileged to be in the room.

In the third group a man began having a panic attack. He started sweating profusely and was crying some too. Some of the other men laid hands on him and Dad prayed. He was able to calm down again.

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