~ From the desk of PR, from Spring 2017 (an old post that had such a good story, I just had to share it, even if it is posted late!) ~
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. -Isaiah 55:8
Last night at Riker's was already my fourth week in the facility. They made a mistake at the first gate and said I could only drive over the bridge, but would then have to take a bus to the actual jail. While that was not convenient, as I usually drive all the way, I knew immediately that Abba had people for me to meet and this was not the enemy but a God moment, and it was.
Sometimes we confuse inconvenience and an unscripted change in our plans with the enemy.
After blessing that officer*, who is always so sad, I actually got them to smile. Ha! I crossed the next two check-points for the bridge that leads onto the island. Then parked and went into the next check-point to receive another pass. They told me I was supposed to have been able to drive in and that the officer had made a mistake - I knew there were no mistakes.
Once in the van I met a woman and her small son. She was going to visit her 20 year old boy who was in for armed robbery, first offense, and was awaiting sentencing. The courts are very backed up. I was able to encourage her in the Lord. I also gave her all my contact information to pass on to him as he is in my unit. Please pray that miraculously he follows up! It always takes a miracle.
Then, as we started off to the jail, I was in the front seat of the van and was talking to the officer who was driving and they said, "I am severely anemic." I said, "please let me pray for you" and she said, "yes," with desperation in their voice. Everyone else in the van was stunned. It was a powerful moment. When she dropped me off, I invited the driver to the prayer meeting this Friday at 12:30, sponsored by Correction Officers For Christ. Officer. There's a leader who loves Jesus and makes these weekly visits possible. They run that meeting and have invited me to come lead this Friday. So as I was dropped off at the entrance, my invitation was accepted, to my surprise.
I entered GMDC, they all have letters, and passed through the next check-point and metal detector. Another officer I'm getting to know was there at the desk. Such a good guy. We talked about Jesus and about how difficult their job was, everyday.
Finally, I had arrived at the last check-point and gave that officer my license and a previous pass from a prior check-point, and they gave me yet another pass. You get the picture. Jails are built so you can't get in and you can't get out. Punitive not correctional.
Next, I go into the unit that houses, 1,000 young men ranging from ages 18-23, many of whom are in gangs. We go to our designated classroom and he leaves me their to go get the boys. As I was praying I sensed that I would see a man I knew there again. Sure enough he walks in with a new boy. All the other original 12 boys I started with a month ago were sentenced and moved to another building. So I just learned that this jail serves as a holding facility and once sentenced you are moved to a building with different letters, wow!
So the ten week program I am using on courageous manhood needs some tweaking. I need to develop a curriculum that each week is a stand alone lesson. For as long as I have these boys, at every session, they should be able to walk away having been introduced to a new spiritual life skill. Please pray that I will also connect with someone in their next jail on the island. Thanks!
After prayer, one of them started by opening up and sharing his entire life story which in turn opened up the new boy who came this time. I was able to speak into both their lives and share about the importance of forgiveness and all the supernatural blessings it releases. It was wonderful! I know these opportunities are taking place because you are praying fervently!!! At the end of our session they stood and raised their hands and we closed in prayer. They were so touched by Jesus! I also gave them all my contact information. It is miraculous how Abba connects all the dots! I was also able to teach them how to shake a man's hand while looking him in the eye. They had no clue as one never knew his father, who was always in prison, and the other's dad is not even worth mentioning. What a stinker!
Together we are going to see so many lives completely transformed. Each week is a new beginning and each moment we live is a fresh opportunity to encourage those around us with our Savior's love. Regardless of where we are we are called to occupy that space for our Jesus. Please allow The Holy Spirit to fill you afresh with His promises today so you can give others out of your overflow.
"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water." -John 7:38
*For security and privacy, some names have been redacted, and some nouns, verbs, and tenses changed.
Photo used with permission - Public Domain - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6601090