Prison Christian Ministries is blessed to travel through out this wonderful Province of New Brunswick and even into Nova Scotia. We go to all NB Provincial institutions, NB Federal Institutions, as well as one in Nova Scotia, not to mention halfway houses and rehabilitation centers, traveling approximately 5000 km per month. We are a Prison Ministry of volunteers based in Fredericton with International connections. We travel because God has called us. What keeps us going are the people, many of which we receive feed back from, telling us how much they appreciate the visits. To them we say thank you for attending. Attendance to our meeting is not mandatory, so you could say it is volunteers ministering to volunteers, either way, we are all there because we want to be. This relationship is so important for a visit and we do not take it for granted.
Today we travel for about 2 hours one way stopping at familiar rests spots for coffee. We are recognized as regular patrons, from behind the counter, and it is common to get a heartfelt “Hi” from someone. During these rests, it is nice to stop and meet friends we would never have made otherwise.
Bill, Jim L., Jim H., and Sherry are headed to an institution that we have visited many times before. As we arrive, we can tell today is a busy day, and we take note. The staff are always obliging, they have such an important job to do, and it can be stressful by times. We recognize and appreciate their dedication and professionalism in their jobs. We enter a unit and set up, and are excited to see we have a good number in attendance. We have brought Bibles, devotionals and encouraging reads for the inmates. Bill opens in prayer and introduces the team.
Next, Jim L. continues with song. He has such a nice way with people, his calling of compassion and his natural, gentle spirit helps set our atmosphere for the meeting. Soon he has us all singing hymns, taking time to share some of his wisdom. You can see how the people smile and listen to him. He makes people comfortable, not a bad gift to have when ministering. When Jim has finished, there is that familiar presence we have come to know as the Holy Spirit.
Time now for Jim H. to speak, as he will deliver the teaching today. This able teacher does a great job clearly making the points of the message, and also engaging the group. He even prompts us to remember scriptures for a later time. He uses his personal testimony to encourage the people. You see we are not perfect, just the opposite, we are forgiven. Question time, Jim H. asks, “What was the last scripture I asked you to remember, and do you know what it says?” Remarkably they know, They are listening, and Jim is skillfully imparting the teaching. Soon he finishes his lesson.
Sherry is next to address the group, she possesses a unique speaking talent to draw people into her world. She starts matter off factly and soon you can see the people relating to her on a personal level. She carries some lasting effects of a former life of abuse, that God enables her to speak very candidly about. Sherry is honest and to the point, there is no guise with her and she makes her point well. Just a quick look around the room while she speaks, shows the respect and captivation of the group. When Sherry sits down it is evident we have had a rich time in ministry today.
The last to speak is Bill, his job has been to introduce and hopefully be led of God in the order of the service. Bill shares briefly, as it is more a time to draw in the net. People have been ministered to, and they need time to reflect and ask questions. So after a few remarks Bill asks Jim L. to close in prayer.
Afterwards there is a great time of talking and praying as the requests are individually made. Have you asked God to forgive you? You don’t have to be perfect, why don’t you consider asking Him into your life, he will take the broken pieces and put them back together again. Just like He has done for us who have driven to this institution. There is alway hope folks, no matter where you may find yourself today. Not all prisoners are behind bars.
Soon our time is gone, and we pack up once again and return to the van. There is a glow and sense that God was in the house today, comforting and encouraging. God wants us to stand in His presence so He can minister through us. His requirement is to GO. Will you GO today? Many are waiting for people just like you to visit, you will be blessed because you did. We are. Blessings…Bill