Yes, that's the truth of the matter. I went to jail last night. The first officer I met was a kind gentleman though. I'm so glad for that. He went over all the rules with me and gave me a tour of the facility. The smell was like a county nursing home, but yet it was clean. They took extra caution with me, and 4 others, walking through the facility. We walked past the suicide watch room where they had one person in custody being watched for his own safety.
As we entered into the women's housing unit I saw about 20 women. A few other women were in single cell units. These are the ones that concern me as this means they are a high danger, but the guards assured me it was due to drug use. They said most of the women there are incarcerated due to drug related charges.
Every one of the women looked haggardly. They stared at me through the bars, but did not approach me. Then one asked, "Are you here from the church??"
They are eager to have women come teach them God's Word. I completed me tour and have already past my FBI fingerprinting and application process. I can begin going to see the women on Thursday nights. I'm not sure how often I will go,(not from lack of desire though) but I think I will plan to go next Thursday.
I have led a woman to the Lord in the jail through the glass visitation window before. I am looking forward to visiting with them..My only concern is for the day I see someone I know in there. I know a few women who are in trouble and have not come to the program or church for help. I might end up seeing them there soon if they don't get help before then.
When I think about what it takes to get a person in custody at the jail, I think about my relationship to the Lord. The women did something to displease an officer or the judge and they are now behind bars. I wonder what I have done lately that may have bought displeasure to the Lord and has placed me in a position out of his protection.
I pray that I will draw especially close to Jesus and allow Him to work through me as I try to reach these women for Him.
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
I realize that not everyone is drawn to minister to those in jail, I really do undstand that. I personally feel uncomfortable in nursing homes. That doesn't excuse my absence in visiting them though. I may not make it a personal ministry to be at the nursing home every week, but I do have plans to take my daughters there and sing as a family to them. I try to teach my children by example to reach out to others in need.
I know that it's my responsibility to God to raise my children and train them to be prepared for serving Him. I want to be able to lead them and show them different areas of ministry so they will see the need of the people. I believe that in doing so, it will open their eyes and perhaps that is how God will lead them to have a deeper burden for what he has in store for their future.
My daughters know my heart in reaching the women in jail. That is one place my children cannot and will not go. They are under age and cannot be in the jail ministry, but they see their mother who is striving to do that which God has placed on her heart. I take Proverbs 31: 20 quite seriously. If you've read my blog for any length of time you'll know that my husband and I are involved in reaching the homeless and addicted people of our community.
When the recent storm hit, I asked my husband where the homeless families went during the storm. The local shelter only allows over night residence. They are required to leave at 7am. This weekend there was a story in the paper about how they DID have a few places to go to and I was relieved to hear that. The storm has passed and people get back to their lives, yet the homeless remain homeless and the imprisoned remain imprisoned. Temporary shelter during a storm is just that, temporary. What can we do to help change the lives of needy people and get them back on track to living a productive life? Lead them to Jesus.
Maybe your area isn't in visiting in the jail, but maybe you can go to the homeless shelter or local soup kitchen. Maybe you can visit the elderly in a nursing home or attempt a friendly conversation with another mom in the park. Whatever area God is leading you towards, do it with all thy might.
Has there been a time when you know God used you to reach someone for Him?