This time I was the coordinator, overseeing 27 volunteers, 14 of them “freshmen,” first-timers. This time the institution was Crossroads Correctional in Cameron, Mo; a maximum-security prison.
It is one of the prisons in which I minister a few times each month, and have for about eight years.
The yard was coated in sunshine, and the concrete reflected the sun and bounced the 92 degree weather around.
Due to security issues, and in light of recent activity, the warden decided to only let one (of five) “houses” out at a time; so what had been planned for two long sessions became five shortened sessions.
A thundering NASCAR (#18) drew gasps and appreciative applause. Then a motorcycle/bicycle trick riding team did their thing…and it was great. The gospel was shared, and the offenders given the opportunity to “huddle” with team members (Behind the Walls volunteers).
As I was coordinator I roamed the yard ensuring the volunteers were interacting properly. Under direction of the yard sergeant I had to herd the men out when the sarge told me it was time.
The thrill for me is that I got to see a guy I’d not seen in 7 years; he had gone to the “hole” for a few of those years. He seems to be doing well and said he’d be coming back to my Bible study. Pray for Harley. I first met him during a KAIROS event; he was 18, sentenced to life; came hardened, God broke him, I was able to pray with him as he committed his life to Christ…
I also saw another guy for the first time in two years. He checked himself in to PC (Protective Custody) because he thought one of the gangs was after him. He advised that the PC volunteer Bible study leader had quit, and asked if I’d consider taking his place….an opportunity I am praying about. I may be able to work it out to speak to the PC guys on the Mondays I do an earlier Bible study with several offenders.
The “Behind the Walls’ teams were in two other prisons, and the total population of the three institutions is 4,922. By the end of the day it was reported that 740 offenders sought counsel, and over 250 of them said they trusted Christ Saturday.
We were also privileged to visit the two Ad/Segs (Administrative Segregation…politically
correct way of saying “the hole”). These men are out of their individual cells three…as in 3, hours weekly. We must “converse” through the crack between the door and the doorframe…I’ve been there before, it was eye opening for the other volunteers.
After dining on fine cuisine (perhaps a stretch…I am blessed that I was incarcerated in Oregon State Prison…a “progressive” institution back then…virtually every thing we ate or drank was produced on the prison honor farm..I ate better there than I did four years in the Army…which isn’t saying much, but…) we did two more packed programs.
It was an exhausting, draining day, but laced with His presence, power and peace.
Again, if any of you are intesterested in learning more about being part of a team let me know and/or check out the websight: (CLICK HERE
Pray with me that what the Lord began today will be carried to completion. Pray also for the opportunity for me to continue to interact with these individuals during my “normal” ministry at Crossroads.