There's nothing so hard as trying to write a blog post without having a picture to share -- especially when I am so accustomed to having Bethany's great shots to work with.
But for this post there are no pictures. Not because we didn't want to. No. There are so many visual details dancing in my head that I'd like to share with you, but because of prison regulations, we are unable to capture them on film.
The forboding razor wire and fencing. The official guards standing on duty. The x-ray machines with all our equipment running through. The metal detectors.
We walked through the quiet courtyard with blooming flowers that somehow look out of place -- the cheery with the desolate. The beautiful chapel with its high ceilings and marble floors. The chaplain tells us this prison used to be an old Catholic seminary, thus the majestic surroundings.
But most of all, I wish you could see the faces. The eyes. They all walked in single file and were assigned their seats. Four to a row down both sides. All dressed alike wearing olive green. But all different at the same time -- with various backgrounds, hurts, needs, joys and fears. Each one a soul loved by the heart of God.
Sometimes I've wondered what it would be like to see Jesus standing, as it says, "moved with compassion" (Mt 9:26). He wouldn't see a mass of men dressed alike -- but instead, different individuals with the same need.
What a blessing it was to share with them yesterday evening! Though at first several looked sceptical, by half-way into the service they were glued. Everyone watching and on the edge of their seats. All sixty-five of them.
After an hour of music, Dad got out his Bible and started sharing Scriptures. And as the Gospel message was presented there was a hush on the room and 13 men responded. We have been in many services -- even prison services, but rarely have we sensed the power of prayer as we did in those moments. We knew many of you were praying, and it brought such rejoicing!!!
We have been told that this prison has a very strong discipleship program in place with many volenteers coming in to spend one-on-one time with the inmates in Bible study and prayer. And as the chaplian said he'd keep in touch, we look forward to hearing how ministry continues among the inmates.
Again, thank you, THANK YOU, for your prayers. Truely He is able to "do exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or think"! (Eph. 3:20)