Good morning from Barara,
Last night was an interesting night and someone’s car alarm kept going off about every 20 to 30 minutes, needless to say no when hotel got much sleep. The when I was asked by the hotel receptionist how my night was in I responded that had not gotten much sleep because of the car alarm. She said, “I think I need to change your room as tonight there will be a lot of noise there close to where your room is due to it being New Year’s and there will be fireworks.” I had a small room $80 room but she said, “At no extra charge I will give you another room with a bathtub but it is actually a suite.” Oh my goodness, how could I refuse? What an amazing suite, not only did have a bath it has a separate room that's a sitting room with furniture and coffee table and there is also a small refrigerator as well as air conditioning. Aaron said he saw that my new room had a cost of $200+, so happy it's at the same $80 cost of my old room to me.
WOW! I feel blessed and pampered.
Today we left at about 8:45 to get to the prison by 9:00. I am so glad we drove here yesterday so we would be close this morning. This is a men’s prison of about 1700 men and I was concerned as I had been here a few years ago but the few who were still here still came to hear me speak. Sometimes it is hard convincing the OC or the Deputy OC of the time we need and this Deputy OC was no different as he told us we only had until 11 o’clock. I am getting good, with the Holy Spirit's help, at clipping my messages here and there yet still being able to get in all the content that is so important.
We entered and walked here there around corners and around other passages before finally arriving at the large meeting area. There was a sea of yellow uniforms, 1,500 or so, with some seated and some standing. Again, we saw the Holy Spirit move across the hearts of the prisoners as they made good choices for themselves in the area of salvation and forgiveness. And when we got to the part about going to each other and sticking out their hand and apologizing to each other, it was amazing. Hundreds of prisons going to each other and extending their hand and saying, “I’m sorry.” Then laughter and smiles took over the whole area.
There were a couple of prisoners they gave a testimony:
- He said he was grateful and thankful for our coming and that he had lived in pain because he could not forgive his family, they had never been to see him since he had been in prison. But today he forgave them.
- He said that today he had received Christ and forgiven himself and those inmates that he had had a clash with. He knelt down and raised his hands in the air saying,” I forgive my family and those that live with me here in this prison.”
So many “Thank you” and handshakes as we packed up to go. We stopped by the Deputy OC’s office and he took us into meet the OC who we had not met when we arrived. He was gracious but very stiff and I was thankful that he agreed that I might take a photo for my report with one of his officers. He said the photo could not be with him as he was not in uniform.
Then it was off to a separate area to minister to the women prisoners of over a 100. Neither the OC or the Deputy OC were available but the third in command greeted us and told us that we only had 1 ½ hours until the women had to be counted and then go to lunch. I tried to tell her how Commissioner Elizabeth wanted us to make sure and complete our program so that the inmates would have the opportunity for the teaching on forgiveness. However, she would not budge on time so I knew that I would have to rely on the Holy Spirit to help me, once again, to clip my message.
The women were sitting under a small white tent and some were sitting along the side of the building initiate. I was positioned outside alongside the tent and trying to grab as much shade from it as I could but was also in the sun.
Salvation decisions, forgiveness decisions, and apologizing to each other was also something we saw these women prisoners do. Watching the apologize and then halfway through seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter can only be attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit in such a difficult place to live. My hope is that they will continue to use this tool and live here in peace.
There were 11 women with babies there so once again I was able to distributed the crocheted caps made by Canby Foursquare women and we left a few of the very small ones for the pregnant women would be having babies. I was disappointed that although I have a few more donated scars to distribute I did not have enough for all these women.
In there were two that wanted to give a testimony of how the Holy Spirit were in their hearts today:
- She said she accepted Jesus as your Savior today and then she forgave herself because she had been living with guilt for killing her husband. She said today her title changed from murderer to a child of the King, a princess.
- She said she had received God’s free gift of salvation and that because she had attempted to murder her husband due to abuse and she had been serving 10 years in prison. She said from the first day to this he had never come to see her and today she forgave him for that. But God had gotten revenge for her by giving her husband heart problems. She said she believed that when she was released that God would heal her and her husband’s relationship and they would come together again and serve God.
The officer that welcomed us allowed me to have my photo taken with her when I explained that I needed it for a report for Commissioner Elizabeth and Deputy Commissioner Apollo. However, I must say I am so disappointed that Apollo never got the letter to us so that we could take photos inside the prisons this year like we did last year.
I am enjoying my nice room as I write this yet I can already hear loud events happening outside for tonight’s celebration. I guess it will be earplug time again.
Tomorrow will be one crusade at a prison in the area then we will be traveling again. While traveling the other day a rock hit the van windshield that is now cracked. Pastor Aaron said that although we have “insurance” through the owner of the vehicle that we will have to pay for it.
Please pray that it is not a huge amount.
Continue to pray for us in all areas, you know the list. We appreciate your prayer covering for us.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU
That none would be lost,