I was a sixteen year old girl when I heard Matthew 25:36. “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you cared for me, I was in prison and you visited me.” The verse about visiting those in prison had always stuck with me. Many years later, a group called the Gideons spoke to my church about their prison ministry. I asked one of the members after church if I could get involved in their ministry. He said that I had to be a Gideon, and I reluctantly left it at that. But three months later, the member reached out to me, saying that a new jail was being built in my town that would house men and women. They were told if they didn’t have a woman to visit the women’s section, they could no longer go to minister to the men’s section. I jumped at the chance. Each and every Saturday morning for the past 19 years, I have spent two hours at the women’s jail. I meet with the women, listen, pray, and bring them hope and encouragement. I want them to know that God loves them, God created them, and there is nothing they have done that God will not forgive. I use a set of seven bible studies, each comprised of 12 – 24 lessons. I teach four lessons each time we meet. They read the lesson, have discussions, answer questions and take a test. When they finish, they are awarded a certificate of completion that is so important to many of these women who have never finished something or accomplished any goal in their lives. When the entire study is completed, the ladies receive a beautiful imitation leather bound bible. Many of them who started coming just to get out of their cell for a few hours have a personality change that is a joy to see. It’s the Holy Spirit working in their lives! They go back to witness to those who won’t come to the study. This is a way for them to share God’s love and make their lives count. They tell me I am a blessing to them, but they have blessed me in ways they will never know.
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