Today our team of volunteers consisting of Mike, Steve, Bill, Trudy, Sherry, Jim H, and Jim L , & Becka, heads out on a two hour drive from home, with Tony joining us as we near our destination. It is mid December, a time of year some folks would call, “the most wonderful time of the year.” But, for the incarcerated and their families it can be the worst. We feel the Christmas spirit in the air, and are hoping to take some of that into the institution, to bring “good cheer” to the folks
This is a two-visit day starting with an afternoon session, a bible study of sorts. We are on lesson two of the “Overcomers Course”. A Christ-centered 12-Step recovery program, it helps men and women escape the bondage of life controlling issues. Consisting of a daily workbook, plus a video teaching, we present the video and supporting lesson, giving the inmates the opportunity to review their bookwork with the video content. We have a very interested group who have insightful inquiries, and we are able to help and encourage them.
Once the video is completed, we begin discussion. As the instructor looks on, he can see the men are in rapt attention. The room is quiet for such a group, they have settled down, are focused on the course material and taking notes. This is a good thing. They have questions about why they do the things they do. These are important questions, not just for inmates in a penitentiary, nor an addict in a recovery centre, but also for anybody who has a life controlling issue. It is wonderful to see them realize they are finding help with their issues. It brings hope, encouragement, and confidence they can get better. Our time goes by quickly, and as our visit ends, the group is pumped, they’re laughing and shaking our hands. There are even remarks like, “I just love this program, thank you for introducing it to us, this makes us feel good”.
We head out for a much-needed rest, have a bite to eat, and plan for part two of our visit. This evening, we do the Christmas story, a team effort by Bill & Jim, punctuated with beautiful Christmas music by Becka. The music couldn’t be better, and when we finish the men are very contemplative. Next, Mike, our President, gives the Ministry address for Christmas, then turns things over to Tony. We consider him our evangelist, he has a heart for souls. Mike feels to do this, and we are glad he did. Tony’s call goes into action, and when he brings in the net, we see hands going up for salvation, not one soul, but many! A difference has been made tonight! Some will remember tonight for the rest of their lives as “The most wonderful time of the year”! I know we will! Before our service ends, Mike has the team come forward, and we sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” to the group. As we leave, we bask in the glow of His presence! Souls Saved! Mission accomplished!
Traveling home, we see houses and churches down in valleys sparkling in the dead of night, lit by the glow of Christmas lights, and the thought comes to mind, “Oh Little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie”. The star of Bethlehem shines brightly and leads our journey all the way, safely home. Blessings…Bill