After a two hour drive on a beautiful winter day, four volunteers and I (Brent) pulled into the jail at 2:30 pm; the trip over was a good time with lots of interesting conversation.
The officers must have been busy when we arrived, because it was a while before they came to open the door and process us through their security clearance. I must say, the officer was friendly and moved us through quickly.
After clearing, we signed in and then were escorted to the Chapel. We moved some chairs around and got things ready for the service, and within minutes some young men joined us. We have had as little as one and as high as 20 at the Chapel; you just never know how many will show up. When we looked into their faces, you could tell these boys were troubled, the look of sadness on their faces was plain to see, and my heart went out to them. I know the pain of abuse that can destroy a young boy’s life and I am sure that these boys all suffered from it.
We started the service with Rob & Kathy doing praise and worship. After a few songs, they decided to sing a song they felt we would all know. They picked Jesus Loves Me and Rob asked the boys if they had heard it in Sunday school. The answer was no, not one of them had ever been to Sunday school. This made sense, had they been to Sunday school, odds are they would not have been in the Boys’ jail.
When Rob and Kathy finished, Richard was invited up to share. A wonderful message was given by Richard about how in his teen years he did not know what to believe, and was very confused on whether God really existed at all. One day he prayed to God for direction and to see if He was real. God spoke to him, and from that day Richard knew God was real and lives with Him everyday.
Then, Dr. Stephen was asked to share, he shared a message of hope through Jesus, but just the fact that a doctor would take the time to come and share was all that was needed. The boys were all ears; some of them might have never talked with a doctor before. Richard and Stephen both encouraged the boys by confirming that they could be doctors and pastors too if they wanted to, by making the right choices in their lives.
Then I was asked to share. I shared how at one time I sat where they were sitting, full of anger, shame, and guilt, and how it held me in the past and was destroying my life, until I accepted Jesus’ love into my life and allowed Him to fill me with a new Spirit. As I read His word and started trying to be more like Him, He led me to the truth and set me free, then started blessing my life. I left all the pain behind and started moving into the future He had in store for me.
When I finished, I asked if any of the boys would like to change their lives and let Jesus do for them what He did for me. Eighty percent raised their hands, so we started to pray the prayer of salvation and when we prayed, all the boys prayed with me. After we finished the prayer, they were given Bibles and testimonial books. We all were truly blessed.
I hope these results encourage you to keep praying for this ministry and us. The more you pray, the more we reach for Jesus. Thank You
Be Blessed in Jesus where REAL hope begins, by Brent Bishop