Prison | Part 1

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because 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; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (3) To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” – Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV

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“Father I’m so small. so weak. so unworthy. But I desperately want to love and serve these women. Let me be your hands and feet, a tool in your hand for the transforming of their hearts and the changing of their lives… that you may be glorified.”

This was my prayer as I prepared to spend 9 days in Florida, working along-side a team of 100+ volunteers {including several young married couples}, to share Christ with the men and women inmates. We’ve been a part of this ministry since before I was born, and the Lord has used it in incredible ways to transform our family and keep our eyes fixed on Christ. Yet only in the past few years have the doors opened for them to begin working with prison inmates {just one of many branches where they reach out and serve around the world} and this year they were going into 7 prisons {4 women’s prisons and 3 men’s prisons} – more than they’ve ever ventured into at one time.

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{With some sweet girls – Bethany and Amy {2 sisters that became great friends!}, and Nawon {a sweet friend from a girls’ retreat we attended together several years back}. }

What can I say? My heart is full. I am overwhelmed at the very thought of what took place – at what Father did those 9 days. Even at what He is still doing right now.

He orchestrated every event leading up to this full week – a camp graciously offering to work with us to provide lodging {which happens to be the same camp that was founded by a mentor of Billy Graham!} … a sweet family providing my transportation to FL and back … so many volunteers sacrificially giving of themselves, all the while realizing how small and inadequate they were {and are} for this God-sized work … hearts prepared for seeds to be sown and cultivated, that a harvest might be brought forth … safety and protection despite difficult and challenging circumstances … a love and joy for serving and investing in the men and women inmates … and the list goes on.

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{The dock was an amazing place to sit with some friends on a couple of late evenings – watching the stars, enjoying the cool water, and sharing from the day}.

We went into those prisons to share the gospel, Jesus Christ our life. We worked with those women through a book of materials, counseling them on how to deal with their deeper issues, praying through forgiveness, fears, doubts, lies from the enemy. We spoke truth into their lives. It was like a spiritual heart surgery – a Journey into the Heart. Many, many precious women gave their lives to Jesus. Still many others who had known about Him, began to live their lives fully and completely for Him. Fruit was born. Seeds that had been planted were nurtured, and began to sprout and grow. To God alone be all the glory.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:12-13

It wasn’t just a journey to the heart. It was a battle. A raging spiritual war. We saw the effects of this everyday as things took place around us, outside the chapel where we were meeting, and sometimes inside. But God was our helper, our protector, and our peace-giver.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3

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{Filming a testimony – last day at camp}

Grateful Because…

– One of the women on my team received salvation the first evening. I had been burdened to pray for her many times!

– Many of the women on my team received salvation throughout the week – even several who had thought they were saved but had simply “prayed the prayer” and were not living out a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ.

– Father protected one of the women officers {who was pregnant} following an incident that happened, requiring immediate medical attention.

– Several from our group were able to work with the youthful offenders {who joined us for many main sessions along with the other women inmates}. We had opportunity to talk with them around these sessions. Many came to know Christ!

– I was privileged to talk with many women outside of my team {even at the meal hall where we mixed ourselves up to talk with others we had not yet met} – discussing salvation, forgiveness, and many of the things we had learned from various messages, speakers, and our workbook materials. I was able to pray with several of these women.

– God provided healing for several among our volunteers, who suffered from sickness throughout the week for a day or 2, but were able to return shortly after.

– We were greatly encouraged at dinner time when most of our volunteers {from 5 of the prisons in the same general location} would regroup to eat and share testimonies from the day {before heading back for another 2 hours in the evening}. This provided a time to hear from the men’s prisons as well!

– 71 out of 100+ volunteers were able to gather at one of the men’s prisons for the final graduation {each prison has their own “graduation” following the completion of the program} – my first time in a men’s prison. We were able to share special music, testimonies, a chalk talk testimony, etc.

– The women who voluntarily attended our program were so spiritually hungry! So desperate to know more about Jesus, and to be like Him! They came desiring to learn more, attentive to the things we shared, and many becoming vulnerable and transparent to pour out the details of their lives and struggles – in hopes of hearing truth and receiving God’s healing.

– The sweet girls who shared a room with me at the camp were such a blessing and encouragement! I was especially privileged to meet 3 sisters that I heard about through some dear friends – I ended up being assigned to their vehicle all week long… and I guess you could say we did just about everything together. 😉

– I was able to share several testimonies with the group, and to participate in some special music that various ones from our group shared with the women. Oh the things we take for granted! A piano and cello to play, sisters to sing with, music to listen to whenever we like…

– What a BLESSING the officers, warden, chaplain, and others were. They blessed us, some prayed with us, they made so much possible for us! They went to great lengths to accommodate our groups in each of the prisons. Father bless them richly in return!

– Several of the volunteers were under-age for helping out in the prisons. They came along to make us delicious breakfasts, dinners, and snacks. Their faithful sacrifice and service kept us going – we truly appreciated them at the end of each and every day!

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Part of the camp {lodging}

Read Part 2

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3 thoughts on “Prison | Part 1

  1. Waaaaait!!!! You don’t know Amelia B from Australia do you, Sarah??!!! Sounds it was an amazing time!! 🙂 Looking forward to hearing more!!

    P.s. I LOVE your blog!! I have a small soap business and I’m seriously considering studying Naturopathy next year!! I love seeing how you incorporate your passion for people and health in your business!! Its so exciting to see you doing something you love!! 🙂 Thanks for being so inspiring!! Bless you!

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    • Yes!! Amelia and I met and had a nice conversation one evening, though we were not working together in the same prison. My dad actually did an entrepreneurial workshop at the training center in Australia where Amelia is on staff, so that is how she knew of our family and thought to introduce herself to me. 😃 It’s a small world! 😉 P.S. Your soap business sounds amazing! Do you have a website?

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      • That’s amazing!! It is a small world!! Amelia is amazing!! I met your Dad when he was here!! I didn’t attend the workshop as I was helping with the children, but my parents were really encouraged and inspired!! (I’m also pretty sure we went out for dinner with him and a few other families.)
        Aww thank you!! I’m still working on getting my website up and running, but I have started selling a little bit on Ebay. Still just figuring out shopping carts and the best way to sell online! Have any tips?
        Blessings, Alexandra Lim

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