The Spirit had put on my heart a few years ago to become involved with prison ministries. I wasn’t so sure this was something I’d want to do. Prisoners? Sounded a little scary to me and I put it off, thinking this really wasn’t for me. Surely God had other plans and I would happily follow whatever that might be. But that feeling remained and I was continually prompted to reach out.
I finally gave in and contacted a few different agencies over the past couple of years but never received any responses. Again and again I felt the Spirit weighing on me to keep trying and in December I contacted one more agency, the Cup of Water Ministries I had found online. They were looking for pen pals for prisoners, and this was right about the time I had begun in earnest my snail mail quest last year. So, maybe some of those letters and cards could go to a prisoner…I sent one more inquiry to Cup of Water. And heard nothing…
Until last week. I received an email from the ministry’s president finally acknowledging my earlier request to tell me how to begin writing as one of their pen pals for prisoners. Last week. In the aftermath of all this seizure trauma and the resulting follow up tests and worries, the heartache of Bill leaving, and stress of starting to show the house. Life couldn’t possibly be more hectic–this is when I’m supposed to begin writing. God’s timing really astounds me at times…leaves me sitting here shaking my head. Really? Now?
So why get involved with a prison ministry? Because we are called to do so in the Bible. “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” ~Hebrews 13:3. “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’…”-Matthew 25:35-39
Don’t we all deserve hope? Don’t we all need encouragement? I am scared out of my wits right now, as so many prisoners are as well, I am sure. But at least I’m in the comfort of my home, surrounded with people I love and the freedom to come and go anywhere I want, whenever I want. All of us make mistakes. It’s not up to us to judge but rather to offer hope, love, and to share Christ’s peace. We are all forgiven in Jesus.
So I sent my first letter this morning. It’s an email system so I can’t really count it toward my snail mail goals. But personal address information is protected, mine and theirs. Email addresses are kept private as well. I’m interested to see where this will lead and look forward to sharing lives and hope with another friend in Christ.