In beautiful NB along the Saint John River Valley, we at PCM are reminded that strategically placed amidst it’s course way are Institutions and recovery units. They are never empty and we are never without a visitation schedule. Currently we put 6000 km a month on our vehicle and are conducting 28 events per month and growing.
Today Jim L., Miles B., and Bill M. leave at 10:30 am for a journey what will take 11 hours to complete visiting an institution and two other facilities. When we arrive at our first destination, we clear security checks accompanied by the familiar buzzer and clunk of the doors behind us. Today we are greeted with a very big smile from a helpful guard. These wonderful people have an important job to do. They can never afford to do it wrong and we at PCM are grateful for the indispensable assistance they provide to us and all other ministers who visit, without them we could do nothing.
Once set up, the men file in and Bill M. opens up the visit with a word of prayer. He then introduces Miles B. a veteran performer, whose former life had him in and out of Honky Tonks and prison from sun up till sun down. Miles is a troubadour of sorts. This man can play and sing just about anything you request. These days he plays Country Gospel, and today he has picked some familiar favorites. He sings and skillfully weaves his personal testimony. The men listen, relate and respond as he tells of the destruction substance abuse caused in his own personal life, and how Jesus brought him out of that insanity.
I am reminded as he speaks of 2 Corinthians 1: “3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
I am impressed how God takes our failures and frustrations, after we give Him our lives, and weaves a tapestry of His will out of them, to bring hope to others. Once Miles B. has finished, Bill M. shares a bit of his personal testimony, and once again God does His handiwork weaving a tapestry this day out of what was surely a life headed for disaster. The men are drawn in listening and responding. God is in the House to meet the needs of the needy. As Bill M. concludes, Jim L. brings forth our monthly teaching of “Who will go, send me”. Jim’s many years of Pastoral, and care giving experience, can be seen as he carefully and gently leads the men in the admonition to consider answering God’s call. Like so many times before but never the same, the men are lead to a prayer of asking for help and requesting forgiveness.
We have finished now, and time to move on to our next point of call, but first a break to our friend along the way, Yep, a pit stop at “Timmies”. These are great times to transition from one venue to another. We need these moments. Today we will go to Hart House after care, established by the father of one of our directors, Dr. Steven Hart. After meet and greet we go upstairs, where we once again rely upon God to direct. You see folks, we cannot possibly do this effectively without God’s sovereign guidance and will in our ministry. The needs are so great and varied, we have to constantly rely upon God’s guidance and He never disappoints.
This time we are blessed to be able to lead a young man to the Lord. Miles B. sings and shares, Jim L. conducts the meeting and Bill M. delivers the Word, same three people, but different order this time and different audience. What a privilege, God uses our sharing of wasted years, to redeem some other soul from desperation, isn’t that what this is all about? We spend the remainder of the time speaking with this young man and then we must leave.
Next stop a DRUG & ALCOHOL Treatment facility, in a Pastoral setting, amazing how relaxing some of these facilities can be by geographical setting. Once on the premises, Chapel call has already been called so we go to the meeting area. One guy comes out today, it isn’t long until we realize where God wants to go with this young man. We need to listen as he shares his heart and we let him do the talking. As he speaks we can see the recognizable patterns of regrets, and wasted life that substance abuse is so noted for. He pours out his story and his need. Miles B. plays and sings, and we as a team accompanied by the onsite Chaplin surround this fragile soul with prayer.
God is so gentle and caring, He listens to all of us when we cry out no matter where we may be. He will even send strangers into our lives to befriend us in our times of need. Just being there is sometimes the highest call you can fulfill in a life requiring understanding.
I leave us all with this excerpt from Matthew 25 “35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Will you go, Matthew 9:36-38 says”36When he(Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
The fields are ripe unto harvest, if you can’t go, pray that the Lord will raise up workers, for the work is great and the workers are few. We are all needed in the ministry of redeeming lives. You are needed, will you go?
Please contact Prison Christian Ministries for further information on how you may help in this very rewarding vineyard of prison ministry. Blessings…Bill