In early 2017 a member of the church asked if I would be interested in going with her to visit one of the local prisons. To be honest I was little nervous about doing this, but a few weeks later became part of the ministry team.
From that time till 2021 (when the ministry as shut down because of Covid) Wednesday mornings were always spent ministering at the prison.
I have grown to love the men there (women are incarcerated at a different facility) and look forward to our service each week. But the burden of my heart has to do with what happens after they leave the prison.
Many of the men will tell us upon leaving “you will never see me here again!” Only to show up in the same facility a few months later.
They do bear blame for this of course, but I don’t really blame them……
I blame their friends.
A woman who used to be in the prison and is now part of a counselling ministry there told a story that stuck in my mind.
She said that the only people who ever waited for her outside of the prisons fence were the people who put her there in the first place. She always came out determined not to fall into drug addiction, but they always talked her in to it.
This and other experiences has reminded me just how important it is to have Godly friends who can lead us away from sinful actions, and back to the Lord’s Will.
May God help me not only a minister who visits these men in prison, but a friend who disciples them outside of prison.