Surprises…

Our county jail is consistently overcrowded. Seven men have escaped in the last few months.

A new county jail is almost finished. It seems like it won’t be finished soon enough!

Yesterday was cause for concern. The officers moved our ladies from Ward 16 into Ward 15 which is smaller and previously was a men’s ward. Bill and I were concerned that there would be total chaos so we stopped in last night to check on the ladies.

On my drive to the jail, I called a good friend and asked him to pray for us. Knowing that someone is actively thinking of us while we are in jail and holding us up in prayers does wonders for our ministry.

He asked, “So what are your expectations when you get in there?”

“I don’t have any, ” I replied. “Prison ministry is like living a life full of ‘God surprises’. I will just go and see what kind of surprises are waiting for me tonight.”

Bill and I walked into Ward 15. We were definitely surprised. The ladies were busily scrubbing the walls of the showers and scrubbing the shower curtains. The floor looked like Moses had been there parting the Red Sea… and they were laughing at each other as they cleaned.

… it was so wonderful to hear laughter.

The move was a good thing. It gave them new purpose in a dreary place where purpose is stripped from them. It gave them a sense of moral and teamwork where selfishness runs wild. It gave them a sense of adventure….

I love surprises.

Love always,

Rachel

Lessons from a cat…

Sam has a kitty.

When he brought the kitty home… the kitty was terrified of everything and everyone in Sam’s house. The kitty soon found a safe place under Sam’s bed and only came out to take care of the basic necessities of life.

Sam never forced the kitty to come out… he just waited patiently. I think it was three months before the kitty felt completely safe in Sam’s arms.

There is a woman at my county jail who is much like Sam’s kitty.

Rochelle didn’t want anything to do with me when I met her in March. She stayed back and watched me conduct Bible studies from the corner of her eye. I would always greet her… and soon I found her accepting a copy of the Bible study each time I visited. She never wanted to participate in the study session. I didn’t let that detour me from befriending to her.

One night, another group pulled the women out of the ward for a church service. I was there conducting a Bible study. The ladies wanted to go join the church service badly so gave them my blessing and quickly ended the Bible study.

Rochelle didn’t want to go to church. She stayed behind to watch TV in peace. I stayed behind to spend one on one time with her. We watched TV together, we talked about normal life… and for the first time – Rochelle willingly allowed me to pray for her. It was a special night for me. It was a special night for Rochelle.

Fast forward to last night.

It has been about two weeks since I’ve seen Rochelle. Her eyes were beaming as I entered her ward. “Rachel! Where have you been?” she asked. She acted like a little kid doing her best to contain the best secret ever. “I have something to tell you!” she exclaimed, her cheeks were flushed and rosy.

My heart burst with joy… if I never see Rochelle again… I know I will see her in heaven.

God is so good….

…. amazing what you can learn from a cat.

Thank you, Sam.

Love always,

Rachel