Here at MCJ there’s a group of folks that society has deemed the lowest of the low, but our Lord hasn’t forgotten about them either. Because of decisions these folks have made regarding the law of the land, they find themselves sporting a title that most never dreamed they would have…convict!
As a former convict, I remember the questions that would race through my mind when I found myself removed from society. “Where did I go wrong?” “Did I make a wrong turn somewhere?” “How did I get this bad?” and you remember saying to yourself on several occasions, “This would never happen to me.” And, yet, there you are, feeling about as hopeless as anyone could feel. You’re looking around at all these losers you’re living with, and that’s when the epiphany comes and reminds you, “Oh yeah, I’m one of them!” You begin to contemplate thoughts you didn’t know you were even capable of thinking and despair sets in. But praise God, He says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts.” His word says, “‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the Lord, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back from your captivity;’” (Jer 29:11-14a). In this scripture the word, “search” along with the phrase “with all your heart” suggests an earnestness that borders desperation. It’s in this desperation we begin to cry out. You truly are at the weakest place in your life where you cannot control anything, or make decisions about your family, your career, what you will eat that day…That’s over! Your decisions and even your opinions mean nothing anymore. You find yourself at the end of your rope. But there’s good news! I happen to personally know that this is where God keeps His office - at the end of our rope, where all human resources have been exhausted. This is where we begin to earnestly search for Him with all our heart. This is where God says “I will bring you back from your captivity,” this is where, right behind the walls, the bars, and the sally ports that God begins to pour out His spirit upon all flesh! And when the spirit of God shows up, that loving conviction takes place that brings godly sorrow which produces repentance leading to salvation! Hallelujah, glory be to God! Please pray that each inmate at MCJ recognizes their day of visitation.
Gateway To Glory Ministries has just been recognized, again, by her honorable “scary Mary”, one of the most feared circuit court judges. She just sentenced our recent resident, Pete A. (used with permission) to one year at Gateway to Glory aftercare. In the past, Honorable Mary Chrzanowski has allowed people to come to our aftercare program, but this is the first time she has ever sentenced anyone to our program. PTL we are getting the trust and recognition from circuit court judges.
We currently have a resident named Pete staying at Gateway, so in order not to get the two Petes mixed up, we coined the new Pete, Re-Pete.
The annual training meeting provided encouragement for the volunteers as they were not only able to hear about the efforts of their sacrifice, but they were able to witness true transformation of former inmates now staying at the GTG aftercare program. As they shared their testimonies and thanked the volunteers personally for visiting them while they were in jail, the volunteers were able to see, first hand, the fruit of their labor.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Cor 15:58)
All praise to our redeemer – King Jesus!
Chaplains Steve and Robin