We leave this institution behind and prepare for the next phase, 2 hours have passed and we are now going to a fellow labourer in Christ’s home. This individual has a gift to evangelize and preach, she also has a gift of hospitality. A beautiful home situated in a rural setting overlooking water, it is a home of a lifetime with a miraculous story behind it. A yard with the sound and sights of a small farm. You can see and hear goats bleating and hear the contented chickens talking in their pen, plus a lovely garden yielding it’s fruit in season. A home she prayed for and was given so she could minister and show hospitality. We have benefited greatly from this family who are so giving. A beautiful meal of hamburgers and BBQ meat we have a feast and a much needed rest.
Ministry is demanding, not only physically but also spiritually, some of us start with a 5:00 am wakeup call and don’t conclude until midnight! The next day after a visit I feel drained for that day. This oasis of rest for us is appreciated and needed. We get our second wind to then take on the next institution. Different people different needs. After supper we head out to the final leg of our journey.
Once again we unload books, cookies and soda for this evening. We have Miles and that beautiful guitar of his and then we meet our Chaplain who escorts us through the various security doors and long empty halls. The keys even seem larger in these places all reminding us of our location. Once we get to the chapel the call goes out, we never know who will be present. There are times we go and only 1 person comes out, Jesus is interested in the one. He bled on the cross for the one. He died for the one. We must be like minded. One is enough if that is all that makes it out.
Tonight we have 2, usually we have more but for tonight we have 2, with a twist. They are unilingual French, we have a challenge set before us. Just how do we do this? Scripture tells us Luke 18:27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” So we rest in this truth. Music is a cross lingual bridge able to remove all “Blessing Blockers”, a term I recently learned listening to a CD, while on the road to an institution.
Miles plays and as usual we see immediate response to the music. There doesn’t seem to be too much Miles cannot play or sing. God has chosen wisely to include this servant of song. So Miles sings and our Chaplain who is bilingual begins to interpret, God’s Spirit begins to cross barriers, the blockers are coming down. There are smiles and laughter. A meeting that first seemed a bit awkward has now opened up into fellowship time.
Matthew now begins to minister via our gracious Chaplain and we see the men responding. We pray for specific needs that only God could have helped us to know. Comfort is sown into the hearts of the inmates. Their searching and deep piercing eyes are showing comfort with a much less strained facial expression. God has ministered deeply this evening and the men remark via our mutual interpreter that they felt the love of God flow from us to them. Mission accomplished!
This was a different meeting to say the least, God has blessings for each of us, we need only to be obedient, for the blockers to those blessing to be removed. This writer has been personally challenged to seek bilingual status just so I can remove a “Blessing Blocker”. My life has never been the same since I started ministering to the Church behind the bars, many “Blessing Blockers” in my life have been removed, and this is exciting to me.
We have a great fellowship time together with homemade cookies provided by volunteers. These cookies have a special place in our ministry, and if you can bake, please contact our office. We need volunteers who would bake each month for us. God uses these cookies to bless the inmates. They are very encouraged to think someone would take time to remember them in this manner. Then time is up and we once again methodically file back to the exit to proceed home.
On our way out we observe the most beautiful flower garden, with breath taking colors and artistry that an inmate has looked after. That is how we ended our evening, on a gardening note, we are indeed the planting of the Lord in the Master’s garden of life.
Prison Christian Ministries is a not for profit ministry we are always looking for applications from interested people. Pray and see if He may be calling you to volunteer in this rewarding ministry to ‘The Church Behind Bars.’ Blessings…Bill