i am on a small quest to let the Lord enlarge my territory by reaching out to those in need. he has given me too many hints in the last months or so, to ignore his voice. i am realizing that too much of my time is spent to better myself and my own family & not enough to bring encouragement, comfort & blessing to those whom we are all supposed to reach out…specifically the widows (or elderly), orphans (or at-risk youth), prisoners (or people in bondage), hungry & poor.
this week i’m focusing on prisoners. in matt. 25 Jesus said, ‘i was in prison & you didn’t visit me…when you refused to help the least of these…you were refusing to help me’. and hebrew 13:2 “Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you” (msg).
memories of the women ‘on the inside’ at coffee creek correctional facility in oregon keep coming back to me – their bright faces & eager spirits, as our little team visited them each month. how they looked forward to our coming. how they longed to share w/us what the Lord had done for them that month, what their plans were upon release, prayer requests for their children & their children’s caregivers. many didn’t quite get the idea that you don’t have to keep raising your hand to receive salvation over & over, each month. perhaps they thought their sins had brought them to a place where a once-&-for-all pardon was inconceivable. living out your punishment behind bars walls and wires, i can imagine, would make it tough to understand how God’s mercies really are new every morning…and how the blood of Jesus was all we have ever needed & will ever need for a clean record in His sight. yet in their circumstances, many would raise their hands with the faith of a little girl. some would sing super loud, some off-key; others would clap with no rhythm or speed up a worship song in anticipation of the next. none of that mattered. it was the heart.
they were just like me & you, but made a few more wrong choices & were caught. hearts pure & hopeful, & no less deserving of love and forgiveness than ours. i may not be able to visit them in person here in austin, tx, but i can sure write letters to one. if you’d like to join me in this endeavor, it would be so wonderful & God would surely bless it. i asked the director, beth if there were hundreds waiting for someone who cares, to write them, and Beth told me, no…thousands. in this nation’s prison system, thousands await (most for over 1 year) to connect with another in the free world. i urge to email beth & jesse michael, exec. directors of Christian Pen Pals at: firstname.lastname@example.org
take 6 min. to sign up via email, & you can make a ginormous difference in an inmate’s life (not to mention be blessed by them). ricky & i just started last night & can’t wait til we meet each of our new friends. lets make an impact & let God’s light shine in the darker places, together.