We Are Family
SOCPM collects prayer requests weekly. As I transcribe and pray over them my heart truly aches for the dire requests. A recent one was from Pablo, a SOCPM student since May 2015, who has been incarcerated since February 2013. He mentioned it was his mother’s birthday and he was hoping she was well. He also mentioned he hasn’t seen or heard from her in three years.
Family estrangement is common with many of the incarcerated. As I minister to these men weekly, God has shown me hearts of repentance that yearn for reconciliation with family and loved ones. Some know they are unworthy of forgiveness but as they were forgiven through Christ they seek forgiveness from family and loved ones.
I can relate to families choosing to remain disconnected. I’ve personally had to do that with my own son. Quite often what seems like an unforgiving heart is actually a grieving heart that needs to disconnect until the person seeking forgiveness has shown through action and not words a changed heart.
However, for many of those incarcerated who are seeking forgiveness words may be the only way they can exhibit a changed heart. Visits by family, if any, are often once a month and for a relatively short time. This makes it difficult to demonstrate a changed heart.
In my classes this topic is often discussed. As I minister to the hearts of these men many will say they love coming to SOCPM classes, not only for the discipleship, but for the fellowship. The fellowship that comes about in the classes is truly God at work. During a Sheridan class one student was sharing how he was struggling with dealing with a cellie who constantly calls him the ‘B’ word and how he knows the best thing to do would be to ignore it but that if he does ignore it he opens himself to being seen as weak and prey for others. Not having personally experienced incarceration, I know there are some things that I’m not in position to minister. If I were to give wrong counsel it could bring great harm to someone. At times like this, I will back away and ask the class for godly wisdom. Quite often I don’t need to ask. Fellow disciples are there to offer wisdom in a road already traveled.
The hardest thing while in prison is the death of a loved one. Last year Derrick, another SOCPM student, shared that his brother was recently murdered. It was troubling to hear, but even more troubling was Derrick. He has had other family members murdered so the shock of a loved one getting murdered was nothing out of the norm. For Derrick, it was just a way of life.
A past student’s mother died. He hadn’t seen her for sometime and he was deeply grieved. When an inmate is informed the Chaplain wants to see him it is almost certain a loved one has died. Upon arriving at the Chaplain’s office he is allowed fifteen minutes of phone time to talk with a family member. As for a time to mourn that’s it, time to continue his life in prison. I try to imagine what it would be like emotionally if I received news a loved one has died and I only had fifteen minutes to be with a loved one and then only by phone.
For guys like Willie, a current SOCPM student, losing a loved one is something he has experienced. In a recent class he shared, ‘Losing a loved one is the hardest thing to encounter in prison. It is why God has put in my heart when I hear of a brother’s loved one dying I go to prayer and seek to comfort the brother’.
I truly love prison ministry and I’m humbled that God has called me to it. I am humbled even more when the men give hearty welcomes and good-byes before and after class. In their prayer request, quite often, they will say how they so much look forward to Fridays knowing it is SOCPM day. But as joyful and humbling it is to serve God in prison ministry, I know there are times it is not only me the men come to receive. It is the wisdom and fellowship of their Christian peers as well. It was maybe best said by Lougin, a current SOCPM discipleship student, ‘We all here (gesturing to the class) cause for some, we is all we got.’
In person yes, but in Christ we all got so much more. To Him be the glory
Viking: An inmate who has long since given up on bathing or showering.
Thanks Brian!!! Thanks Lulu!!!
Thanks Brian Malcolm, an Elder from my church, who used his spiritual gifts to create and develop Soldier’s of Christ Prison Ministries’ new web site. Check it out! A few enhancements, mostly in content, are still underway but I’m forever thankful that Brian was willing to share his spiritual gift and time to bless SOCPM.
Thanks Lulu, as in Luanne Wild, a very dear friend and sister in Christ who used her spiritual gifts to create and develop a PowerPoint presentation. What she did with my original presentation amazed me. The PowerPoint shows the need for prison ministry and how God has used Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries in the past and seeks to continue using SOCPM for His glory.
If you, your church, or business want to learn more please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Number is...
119 - The current number of student enrolled in a SOCPM class
SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED
I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.
If you are a current monthly financial partner or have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't currently a monthly partner or have given a one time gift before, would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?
1125 Oak St -
St. Charles, IL 60174
Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct the gift to
Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112