GOD ALREADY AT WORK IN PRISONS

THE RADICAL TRUTH

About four years ago, Lori Hayter scoped out the empty front lobby of Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (WHV) in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She, a volunteer, and Denise Harris, a Prison Fellowship® field director, had arrived at the facility with Prison Fellowship Academy® curriculum in hand.

It was Lori’s first time doing something like this. She wondered who else might be joining them, since the curriculum indicated they would have some helpers. “So, who are the other volunteers?” she asked in earnest.

“It’s the women,” Denise replied, speaking of the prisoners. “The women are the volunteers.”

Looking back, Lori says, “I sort of had an idea what I was getting into. But I had so much to learn.”

Comprehensive online training sessions prepared Lori to serve behind bars. Soon she had the knowledge, skills, and confidence to start facilitating Prison Fellowship classes with Denise.

“I feel like I get to watch God at work when I go in there,” says Lori. “[People] have this perception that we’re going to go in there, and we’re going to make something happen—we’re going to bring the Lord to them. But God is already at work there, and we get to watch Him, and that’s amazing.”

Lori and Denise on the left

Lori adds, “I just feel like that’s really freedom: Because of the power of Christ, you can see that you’re not imprisoned even though you are physically. Spiritually, God has set you free.”
Lori is always amazed to see radical transformation on display. And it’s a group effort—an exchange of sorts. Not a group of volunteers swooping in to save the day, but a group of people walking alongside each other to seek Christ and grow together.

This, Lori realizes, is the radical truth of prison ministry. Whenever she walks through the gates of WHV, it’s clear that God is already there.

FORMER HOMOSEXUALS CHOOSE CHRIST AND HOLINESS OVER SIN

Governments legislating it is illegal to present God’s truth about the homosexual lifestyle should have attended the Washington Freedom March where Millennials and Gen-Xers stood together, unified with a voice that declared freedom is possible through Christ. The message is what so many need to hear but has been so quickly shunned. It lacks popularity but is packed with power. Christianity is not a group that we join because we agree philosophically. It is something we become a part of because the actual spirit that raised Jesus from the dead takes up residence in us, to become our counsellor, teacher, and comforter as we confront the impossibilities of life.

Participants in the 2019 D.C. Freedom March.

They stood together, each one with their own story of how Christ came into their heart and gave them a brand-new life. These young people were vibrant and energetic. Their enthusiasm was clearly visible as they shared their testimonies of coming out of darkness into the marvellous light of Christ. 1 Peter 2:9 says in the Message Bible, “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”

This march represented so much more than just a group of people gathering to share their thoughts. This was a march in the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. This was a true declaration that Jesus is not dormant or dead. He is very much alive and able to change lives.

While the LGBTQ community has no hesitation in parading its doctrines and agendas before anyone, this Freedom March gave the ex-homosexual a clear voice. They were able to declare openly, right in our nation’s capital, that the lifestyle they once embraced was not God’s will for their life or anyone else’s life. They were able to freely stand up and say that they chose Christ and holiness over all of their sins.

There were no hidden agendas. Everyone was accepted. There were so many people from all cultures and nationalities. Everyone was important, no matter what titles they held or didn’t have. The love and respect for each other was so apparent.

They spoke for the countless people who were not able to march and could not attend. They spoke for the person struggling with their sexuality. They spoke for the person who is gender disoriented and insecure. They spoke for the cross-dresser and the transgender. They spoke for everyone and anyone who is unsure of themselves and unable to find love and hope. They marched to show that there is hope and there is unconditional love available through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Freedom March declared to everyone that our God is not dead. He is very much alive in anyone who will allow Him to come in. No one is refused. No sin is too ugly or vile. Jesus stands with outstretched arms for everyone (Ps. 136:12). That is true freedom, and it is only found in our loving Savior, Jesus Christ.

THE IMPACT ONE GODLY FAMILY CAN HAVE FOR JESUS CHRIST

Will Graham preached this year in Manila, Philippines—following in the footsteps of his grandfather Billy and father Franklin—to record crowds. The historic gathering is “the first time that all three generations not only preached in the same city, the same country but actually the same venue.

The Greater Pangasinan-Metro Manila Celebration was originally intended to be a three-day campaign, says resident Celebration director Jeffrey Ferris, but sprawled into an eight-day campaign. According to a video released by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 149,656 attended the Celebration gatherings where Graham preached, and more than 19,400 accepted salvation in Jesus Christ as a result. This is part of the last days harvest we see sweeping the under developed nations in Asia, Africa, South America.