Most of these men are more than just in prison in the physical, they are imprisoned in their hearts. A sense of grief fills my heart when I witness the hopelessness and the lost that these men feel. The stories are varied but carry a similar theme, innocence lost, rejection, abandonment, identity crisis and abuse. They are a fatherless generation, searching for something that they feel that they have lost, they search in the wrong places, they want acceptance and a sense of belonging. They lacked the male role models who could've guided them to safety in their younger years, several of the men are repeat offenders and by conversations with them I gathered they feel like they have a family in prison. "If only they knew that they have a family in the kingdom of God" I often think, while listening to their stories. As I learn more about them and start building a relationship, I see God working in them miraculously. Jesus is truly the answer and the way to Jesus is by us living a life that He exemplified, this is what I have learned by being with these men. They will not believe unless they see, they do not care for lip service.
In the Cooks being a Christian nation, these men are bombarded every day with messages of God and Jesus, most of them grew up in the church. They have experienced those who say they are followers of Jesus Christ, who sadly abused them, judged them or condemned them. The lives of these followers did not witness Jesus Christ to them. So they become jaded and bitter at those around them. This is the reality we have to contend with. Yet there is Victory, time after time we have witnessed men giving or recommitting their lives to Jesus Christ. I am encouraged every time another brother comes to know His Lord and Saviour, what a privilege it is to witness God at work. Jesus has not condemned them and He has not forsaken them. Their bodies might be behind bars but for the first time in their lives they are free, free indeed. We continue to work with them helping them break out of the prison within their hearts, it is a daily walk.
These men have taught me great things, every time I see them I am challenged in my own walk with God. At times I am convicted, most times I am uplifted seeing the progress that the men make in their daily walk and in the questions that they ask. We carefully guide them back to the source, our Father in Heaven. A recent event where a young man in prison gave his heart to Jesus Christ, when a familiar verse was quoted, it made me take a second look at the verse, a closer look, it says "For God So Loved"....'so loved' what did that mean?...it meant a great deal for that young man knowing that he was 'so loved', as I read the verse out, something inside me made me repeat that portion to the man before attempting to read the rest of the verse, but before I had a chance, this young man, eyes filled with tears, spoke out the rest of that verse perfectly with a conviction so strong that it moved me to tears. Right there and then he gave his life to Christ.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16
"Lord Jesus, please forgive me for the past-I'm sorry. I want to live to honour you from now on. You are my Lord. I place you first in my heart and ask that you help me to love you and love others as you command"
Staff - Prison & Men's Ministry
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