God's Mighty Work in Prison
A team of sixty volunteers took the Journey to the Heart program into four correctional facilities at the end of February. Two hundred inmates participated in the week-long program. The goal of each Prison Journey is to provide a time and place for inmates to hear the life—changing truth of God’s Word. Many inmates experience the reality of Who God is in new and personal ways.
One of the most significant parts of a Journey is the day given to delighting in the Lord. Inmates are encouraged to forego their noon meal in order to spend that time with the Lord. This lunch fast is completely optional, and oftentimes, only a small group stays behind to pray. At one of the men’s facilities, a large part of the group stayed behind to seek the Lord and delight in His Word. This is strong evidence of the hunger these men had for the Lord!
Many of the inmates on this Journey testified to the work of God in their lives as a result of the Journey. One of the prisons that hosted the Journey is for male inmates 55 and older, many of whom fought in the Vietnam War. One inmate shared about his past and stated that he strapped himself in bed each night to keep from being violent to himself and others. After forgiving his offenders and repenting of bitterness, this inmate rejoiced that he experienced a much more peaceful night!
One of the women’s prisons was spiritually dark and oppressive. One inmate would not look anyone in the eye and often had a scowl on her face. At the end of the week, this lady heard, understood, and received the Gospel. As she testified of the peace in her heart, the volunteers noticed a new look of purity on her face. The scowl was gone—Jesus had made all things new!
Each prison Journey to the Heart impacts the volunteers as well as the inmates. One volunteer shared, “Until [we volunteers] were willing to confess our faults and sins, the inmates were pretty silent and stoic. As soon as we had confessed some things, they started opening up and confessing things in their lives, and we saw the Lord make a tremendous breakthrough! Several young men got saved and several rededicated their lives to the Lord!” Another stated, “I felt like I was in a small group Bible study! God answered so many ‘little’ specific prayers.”
During the Journey, God also granted each volunteer team special favor in the eyes of the prison officials and chaplains. These high-ranking officials have a major impact on the atmosphere in their facilities. At three of the prisons, top-level officials attended the Journey to the Heart graduation ceremonies. Praise God for the work He is doing in these prisons!