Dear Jail Ministry Family & Friends,
After leading a March orientation and four April training sessions, the Blackshear Place Baptist Church Women's Jail Ministry, in Flowery Branch, Georgia, began the Tuesday night services at the Hall County Jail last night, June 8, 2010!!! We have a total of 14 women volunteers placed on five jail teams.
With the warm welcome of Chuck Hewett, the Jail Administrative Lieutenant, we discovered the rest of the jail staff to be most gracious and helpful as well. This fairly new large detention center is responsible for a 1,000 plus inmates and appears to be remarkably well managed. I am glad to report it was a positive experience and an encouraging beginning for this new women's church jail ministry.
The first team, Samantha, Shelley, Libby and I, proceeded to Pod 125 just prior to our 7:30 - 8:30 PM service last night. Amazingly, twelve women inmates came quietly and respectfully with their ears open, ready to receive God's Word! Shelley warmly welcomed each lady. Samantha touched their hearts both in prayer and a personal expression of her sincere love for them all. Libby shared her life-changing Christian testimony. I led in some praise songs and then shared the Gospel message. Thanks be to God, all twelve women inmates prayed to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord! It was a glorious time in the Lord!
I had prepared a lesson from the Book of John 3:1 - 21, "What Does It Mean To Be Born Again?" However, due to the length of the Gospel message, we didn't have time to go through it. (This often happens in jail ministry, by the way. I've learned after 17 years, we must allow the Holy Spirit to lead as He often changes our well laid out man-made plans!) As a result, the lesson became their homework this week which worked out even better! This will give the women daily study time in the God's Word plus clearer understanding and assurance of their new salvation in Jesus.
Next Tuesday, June 15th, the next team (Brenda, Rena and Janice) will lead the service. However, I will again bring the lesson and songs so during the month of June, each team will have an opportunity to observe the process. During the months of July - August, I will be preparing and going on a mission trip to Zambia with those whom I worked with in the Florida jail and church ministry. (www.womenintruth.org). I know I can count on the Blackshear teams to carry on beautifully and be both blessed and a blessing at the Hall County Jail on Tuesday evenings! Kay Herrin has graciously volunteered to be the coordinator during this time. What a joy it has been to work with this wonderful lady!
I thank God for all our lovely church women jail volunteers who truly love people equally,unconditionally and without judgment. As we all know, one of the most excruciating experiences in life is to be left out, to be unwanted. More than likely, the thief on the cross knew the pain of rejection. Our Lord in His compassion brought a thief out of sin and into salvation. May we never forget this is what Jesus has called us to do: compassionately leading others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so they will turn from their sins and receive the greatest gift of all, eternal life in heaven forever!
As a result, when the women inmates are released, may they turn away from the "old people, places and things," finally experiencing the abundant life Jesus came to give every Believer. May their hurt, rejection, pain and guilt be removed as they begin their new life, warmly welcomed and received into our church and other church fellowships with spiritual nurturing and the love of Jesus.
We are off to a great start! Can't wait to see what God is going to do next.
With love In, For, and Through Jesus Christ,