A report from our prison ministry opportunities earlier this year!
In Alabama, two of the prisons we went to were ones we’d never been to before. For one of those, we were paired up with the same evangelist we went with into our very first prison ever (which was a women’s prison). For the other, we went in with the evangelist who had gone with us into our very first men’s prison. It brought back sweet memories from the past. This year we also got to go back to a women’s prison and a women’s home we’ve been to in the past.
It’s always encouraging to see how God is working every night during the services, whether that is shown by tears, smiles, people joyfully singing along, or responding to an invitation. No two nights are the same.
Something that is always neat to experience is when inmates gather together with us and the other volunteers to pray before the service. What a testimony of the power of Jesus Christ…He changes people’s lives! Wish we could show you pictures, but cameras are not allowed.
One day in SC we girls were able to go into a women’s prison earlier in the day with the other volunteers to play volleyball with the inmates. It was the first time we had done anything like this and it was neat to be able to meet and interact with some of the women before the service that evening. We were going to have to go back to the gate when the rest of our family arrived, and by that time it had begun to rain…hard. It was pouring and blowing so intensely while we were unloading the van that one gust of wind blew enough rain into our clothes to be able to wring them out. Normally, protocol at prison is to calmly unload, but under these circumstances we were scrambling, getting everything inside as quickly as possible to save it from the torrents. (It’s one of those things we found amusing later.) The prison staff were so helpful and gracious, and although they didn’t know if we would be able to hold the service that night due to the severe weather, they gave us a room to wait in. And we prayed. After a while, the rain let up enough for us to make the move to the gym, and the service was able to happen. Many women responded to the message from God’s Word that night. We are so thankful the rain was only a delay!
After we were finished in South Carolina, we were heading to Mississippi and went out for dinner on our way back through Alabama. We got to talking with the waitress and told her what we had been doing the past couple of weeks, and she couldn’t believe it…she had once been in prison herself, but she had come to know Jesus and is working on starting a ministry for women. Needless to say, we were all encouraged by “running into” each other!
Praise God for all that He is accomplishing inside and outside prison fences.
So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
1 Corinthians 3:7 NKJV