Last year I began going into Angola State Penitentiary with my church’s prison ministry group. Looking back on that first visit, I remember the fear of not knowing what to expect. Now nine months later, I cannot imagine not being a part of this. We are allowed to go once a month for a 2 1/2 hour service. We see many of the same faces each time and they are no longer “the inmates”. They are my brothers. What a joy it is to walk into that chapel and greet them! And as I stand on the platform to share whatever word the Lord has put on my heart, I am filled with joy to see their faces shining with love for Jesus. Most of these men were violent criminals. Some of them will only leave Angola in their casket. But Angola is where they met Jesus and for them Angola was the mercy of God.
Each month I pray that I might impart some blessing to them only to find that I am the one that has been blessed. How I thank God that He has allowed me to be a part of this!
Hi Eirene, I also have a jail ministry. At first, that is nothing I wanted to do. But now, when I show up each week and see these women who are clinging to the truth that I bring them – it is more than worth it.
One day it was particularly cold and dismal outside. I was trying to think of an excuse not to go out but the love of Christ compelled me to go to the jail. I can’t tell you how humbled I was when the women all came with smiling faces when they saw me and one said, ” You don’t know how we were waiting for you all day!”. I have never complained again.
Marianne, thanks for sharing this. I find prison ministry more rewarding that I ever would have dreamed. The first time I went I was scared to death. Angola is our state’s maximum security prison and it was a bit intimidating. But now I find it to be the highlight of my month. I would love to know more about what you’re doing. If you have written about it on your blog, would you put a link to it.
Blessings to you Marianne, in all that you are doing for our Jesus
Eirene – This is wonderful, sweet friend. 🙂 How exciting! I cannot think of a better place to see the love of God shine than off the bars of a prison cell. Oh how it makes me think of Paul! I wonder, are you still able to go to Angola each month? What a blessing it is (or was) for you. Doesn’t He work in mysterious ways?!
Hugs ‘n’ renewed prayers – Melody
The Lord has allowed me for the last year and a half to go monthly into Angola. I look forward to it all month long. It is amazing how the Lord has used these times to minister to me and how this experience has helped me through some great difficulties that I have faced recently. In the front of my Bible I have taped a picture of one of the prison chapels. It is surrounded by razor wire. Above it I have written “5,108”. This is the number of men who are incarcerated at Angola. They are the outcasts of society. Admittedly, they do deserve to be where they are. But they also deserve a chance to hear the gospel. Please pray for our ministry to Angola. We are currently only able to reach a very small part of the prison population, but God has put 5,108 on my heart.
I’m so excited that you have begun updating your blog again. I will be keeping up with you. Mine has gone dormant for a while, but I do hope to come back to it soon.
Love you in Christ, my sister.