Friday, February 18, 2011

Prison Hopes

Last weekend was prison ministry weekend.  A young Japanese inmate is wondering about baptism.  He is a Buddhist but has come to know a different kind of love in our little monthly Christian community.  He has been in prison for years and is almost certainly considered a great shame to his family.  He was my oldest son's age when he landed in prison (23) and will be over 30 when he is released, in two years.  He gets no letters from home.  Why? I ask him.  Because there is nothing to say, he responds.

I marvel each time we go to the prison, how very much there IS to say.  Time and time again, when I have to leave my bed extra early on prison-visit days, I think, Why do I do this? Is this really worth it? And then we gather, the guys raise the roof with their songs, and then tear into God's word like, well, prisoners hungry for fresh Bread.

Yup, it's worth it.

During our prayer times, we pray big prayers.  One of the newest inmates, young, slender, earnest, asks for prayers for his girlfriend (a Hong Kong woman) who recently gave birth to their baby.  We all, American, British, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, South American, and African inmates, we pray together for this young family.  How in the world will they ever make it?  Only God knows.  But God knows!  And one of God's specialties is releasing prisoners of every kind.

 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;   I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness."   -- The prophet Isaiah 42:6-7

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