Friday, September 27, 2013
Fall 2013 Re-Entry Prison and Jail Ministry Newsletter
When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' Matthew 25:39-40 (NKJV)
Not everyone gets to go to jail or prison without committing a crime. However you get to go all the time through Re-Entry Prison and Jail Ministry. Your support allows us to reach those with the gospel that you may never get to see. But more than that - You get to minister to Christ inside and outside correctional institutions.
One time, while I was ministering at the old Central Detention Facility in San Diego, I was asked to visit a man whose father had just died. When I met the inmate I could tell he was noticeably saddened.
He asked if there was any way he could get a temporary release to visit his younger brother because he was very concerned how his brother would take the news. I told him that I believed his request would most assuredly be denied. Occasionally, under certain circumstances, with security paid by the family, a jail may grant a person to go to a funeral of an immediate family member but it is very rare.
Out of curiosity, I asked him where his brother was living thinking I might want to contact his brother to let him know of his older brother's concern. The inmate told me his younger brother was currently incarcerated in Donovan State Prison. Wow! They both were incarcerated in San Diego. That certainly would make it impossible for them to see each other.
I told the inmate that even though he could not physically visit his brother, we could pray that God would visit his brother and bring him comfort. I also asked him if he would like to pray to give his life to Jesus. He asked if I would pray with him concerning both things, which of course I was happy to do. After our prayer, I told him I would check back with him in a week to see how he was doing. Then I left to take care of another inmate request.
The next week, I went to see the inmate. I was totally surprised by the happy countenance about this man. He told me, "Chaplain! You're never going to believe what happened the day after we prayed!
But, before I go on, I have to try to paint a picture for you.
In the old central jail, the cell blocks had a sally port that opened right into hallway that lead into the courthouse. An inmate would wait inside this sally port until a deputy would show up to escort the inmate to a courtroom. Sometimes an inmate could be waiting in the sally port for hours.
On the courthouse side of the sally port, other inmates from other correctional institutions would also be waiting to go court. So here's what the inmate told me.
While he was waiting in the sally port, he heard a familiar voice outside the sally port. When he turned to look to see who the person was, he saw his brother who was also waiting to go to court. He told me that they were able to talk for about a half an hour before his brother was escorted away. It was a glorious time for me to praise God with him on how our Father had so awesomely answered prayer.
Thank you. Together we are ministering to people whose lives are affected by incarceration.
Blessings! Chaplain Art Lyons