As a minister at the Macomb County Jail, sometimes you can’t help but to have your heart burdened with a particular inmate’s situation. Though there are still rules to follow, and for good reason, the men and women at Macomb County Jail can invade your heart and I believe it’s God who puts them there. Not that they will obtain special favor that you wouldn’t do for the rest, but you have a tendency to want to bless and reward them for their obedience in Christ. So, I write this with the hope that Michael and his family, as well as anyone who reads this, will be blessed through hearing a bit of his testimony.
A man I’ve been working with (for the past 18 months), Michael, was just sentenced to 15 to 50 years in prison. Facing a mountain that I know none of us would ever want to face, Michael is giving thanks! Yes, I said, giving thanks! Michael says that since coming to jail, he has totally surrendered his life and will to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He knows the true meaning of what it is to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and to not just be a Christian in name only. When you think about it, how many of us would sacrifice 15 to 50 years of our lives, if it meant spending all of eternity in heaven with our Savior? That’s the way Michael views it. He’s giving thanks in all things because this is the will of Jesus Christ for him. He personally told me, “I
know God has me right where He wants me for His purposes.” Michael has been instrumental in assembling the other inmates for prayer, Bible Study, and leading them to Christ.
The chaplain’s office was instrumental in getting two women out of the jail into Life Challenge because Gateway does not have a sober living environment for women yet. Both of the women are doing really well, going into their 11 month of the program and one of them was allowed to go to a women’s retreat that was being hosted by Bethesda Christian Church. This was the first Christian women’s retreat this woman had ever attended. She met many women and shared, unflinchingly, her struggles in life throughout that weekend. When the weekend retreat was finished she said that she hadn’t experienced such love, care and compassion as she did that weekend. She was amazed that the women she shared with never judged her or looked down on her condescendingly. Instead, they encouraged and cheered her commitment and perseverance. She is truly thankful for her time at the retreat, as it has solidified her desire to enter into ministry with women and stay on as an intern in the Life Challenge program. It is her hope and ours that Gateway will, one day, have a women’s aftercare home where she can use her gifts and talents to minister to more women.
A gentleman named Ryan, currently residing in Gateway’s aftercare home and a Life Challenge graduate, recently had a chance to share his incredible testimony at the Detroit Rescue Mission (located in the Cass Corridor) in front of 80+ homeless men. On the way home, Ryan said something to me that really made me think about our God who is still in the miracle working business. Ryan said, “I saw a miracle tonight as I shared my strength and hope with those homeless guys.” I responded with, “Oh? How’s that?” He replied, “Just a few short years ago, I pretty much made the decision to take my own life and end it all. Here, just a couple of years later, I see the God of this universe use someone like me to witness to a group of guys. That’s truly a miracle!” This is a case of another man who is giving thanks.
Two more men of the Gateway aftercare program were confirmed in Christ and are thankful for the knowledge they received in the 6 month class! Congratulations to Ryan and Pete!
Ephesians 5:20: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”
Ever thankful for our Lord and Savior, Jesus!
Chaplains Steve and Robin