Liberty for the Captives
Isaiah 61:1: "...the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound".
Several eager groups of inmates in Florida recently completed the Basic Seminar! Chaplain Bob Holyfield and the IBLP Prison Seminar ministry are actively involved in over 150 prisons throughout the U.S. God is using the truths of His Word highlighted in the Basic Seminar to transform the lives of countless inmates!
One group of recent Basic Seminar graduates in Florida were young ladies in their teens and early 20s designated as "Youthful Offenders". Their prison terms range from one year to life-sentences, and this age group is considered by some as the most difficult category of inmates to reach. Two of the IBLP Headquarters staff, Becky Keilen and Laura DeMasie, had the blessing of working under the experienced Chaplain Holyfield with these Youthful Offenders.
After returning from the prison seminar, Becky wrote: “When asked to sum up the week with the youthful offenders, my answer was, 'God has not forgotten them.' Behind the razor wire and prison walls, Jesus is at work transforming the lives of those have been plundered by the enemy. One of the most amazing aspects of working in the Youthful Offender’s prison is the obvious fact that they are youth! I think of the verse, 'He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins' (James 5:20). How much better for these ladies to take responsibility for their life choices and their relationship with God at age 20 versus age 30 or 40!"
Through the foundational Basic Seminar, these young ladies gained a vision for how to be released from the bondage of bitterness, how to trace present problems back to root issues, and how to be set free from the patterns of their own sin. God's Word has lasting answers, and we can see the evidence in the faces of the inmates: bleak turned hopeful, cynical turned tender, apathetic turned eager. God is revealing His love to their hearts!
Laura says, "Prison is a place of restriction, but I have seen that it is actually a field 'white unto harvest.' Lives are being changed, souls are being saved, and relationships are being restored! God is a Redeemer, and we were able to see that be true in real and profound ways!"
The inmates who graduated from the Basic Seminar are now eligible to participate in the Journey to the Heart program offered in the prisons next week! Please pray for these inmates as they discover the love of God in a way they may have never experienced before! We also ask for prayers for the volunteers from all over the U.S. who will help facilitate and lead the Journey program in three prison locations.
What a privilege we have of sharing the burden of God's heart for these prisoners of whom Jesus’ promise holds true, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).