Prison Life Behind Bars – Day 1

prayer-groupThe sun is shinning, it is a bit on the warm side but great for our journey from Fredericton, Brent B., Jim L., Sherry M., Bill M. arrive at their destination 2.5 hrs later underneath threatening skies, definitely storm clouds overhead. After check-in, we proceed to the meeting room. I kind of like to think of it as a delivery room, in this room many souls receive deliverance from their prison within, today who knows what God will do.We assemble, read the lesson, then breakup into our groups and begin the Bible study.

There are needs expressed by the inmates, deep spiritual needs. You can see the sincerity and longing in their searching gaze as we meet, the impact of incarceration and the need for someone to listen is ever present. You have a lot of time to think by yourself when incarcerated. Sometimes prison life in the church behind bars is silent, other times it is a room full of chatter. Today we had a little of both. Their tone is pensive and the men have been thinking about the lesson and how to apply what they have learned. So many questions and “what if’s”, needing people who will listen and be supportive.

This is a privilege that the team does not take for granted, and a role that only God can truly direct, we have the privilege only to be there. As time goes by and we wrap up with prayer there is a change in the men’s demeanor, a sort of presence in the room. They leave asking will you be back tonight for the service and hesitate to leave until we say yes. The men leave calm and comforted, that makes us feel that God has met with us. Now we gather and are escorted by our chaplain once again, back to the entrance leaving with the accompanying clunk of doors behind us, reminding us where we have been. This afternoon “inner prison” doors have had their ‘clunks’ removed. Praise be to Jesus.

We gather up another co-worker, Diane, who is a faithful servant while on our way to lunch. Today we try the Pizza Delight. The threatening clouds have now carried through on their threats, man what a downpour, we barely make it inside without being drenched. We can look outside safely as we order and observe the waterfall from the sky. As we eat, we fellowship and share stories of what God is doing in our hearts and in the hearts of the inmates. We leave refreshed and preparing for the next phase of the journey today, the sun is now out and the day beautiful after a fresh rain. We need the rain.

Continued tomorrow… Blessings Bill McLaughlin

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