What great reason we have to celebrate this Christmas season! Thank You Jesus that You came! Hallelujah! Because of Him we are set free. Because He came we can have deliverance. Because of His sacrifice for us we can have peace, hope and joy. Without a Savior we’d be pitiful! There’s healing in the Name of Jesus! There’s power in the Name of Jesus! And freely He has given all of this to us. We are a blessed people indeed. “Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, seeing it is one God, who shall justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith.” Romans 3:29 MEV (Modern English Version) I am so grateful for this verse. After being saved a few years and reading 144,000 from the tribes of Israel were going to rule with Jesus, I began to wonder where would we fit in. I didn’t want to question anyone and break the sad news to them that maybe heaven was only for the Jewish people. But it was genuinely a concern of mine. I was looking at the difference between the lives of Christians and non-Christians and even without the benefit of heaven, it was still a pretty good deal. People who believed they were going to heaven seemed happier, at peace, even joyful on occasion. And just for us believing that Jesus is the Son of God, God still was doing miracles for us. I witnessed answered prayer in areas of healing, finances, addiction, broken homes, all kinds of things. I came to the conclusion that heaven or not, He’s so good to us here, He’s totally worth following. Then I stumbled on that verse and boy the joy that flooded my soul, whew! We’re absolutely going to heaven! Because Jesus paid the price, anyone who believes on Him can be saved. We have a ticket available to the marriage supper of the Lamb! “Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him both small and great!” “Then I heard something like the sound like a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thundering, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” Rev 19:5-6 MEV. Can you imagine what that will sound like? Praise so loud and thunderous that it sounds like many waters! Thank You Jesus that You came for us!!! My heart is doing flips right now. How can we not be grateful to the One who refused to leave us without a way of escape. Don’t get yourself all worked up over making the perfect television Christmas for others. Just show them Jesus.
I was at the prison this morning and when it got about lunchtime the girls asked if I wanted to go eat. I told them I was heading home to get this newsletter written. One of them said, “Write something about me in there.” To which I replied, “You want me to talk about someone who’s hardheaded and stubborn?” She said, “No Miss Pam, but write something.” I said, “I’m sorry, I’m trying to think of something else but all I keep getting is ‘Hardheaded’.” We had a good laugh. Just like all of us, she wants to be a good Christian, but still holding onto her own agenda. I’ve been crocheting cross bookmarks. It takes less than 15 minutes to make each one. A couple of the ladies have had me show them how to do it. One of them started selling them to other inmates a couple weeks ago and was happy to have an extra income. Two days ago she came to me and said she didn’t feel right about selling them. So now she’s contacted a lady who does ministry in a nursing home and is going to be sending the crosses out for the residents there. That left me speechless. This is a woman who used to live in Hawaii, has done underwater photography, has really had quite an interesting life. Now she’s in prison absolutely in love with Jesus. These past few days when she’s talked about Him, her eyes have filled with tears. Something is changing in her that is so wonderful to witness. Every type of emotion is on display there; anxiety, despair, defeat, anger, envy, rebellion. And there she sat with this beautiful peace. Remember the woman I told you about last month who was praying her daughter would get arrested before she overdosed? Well, the girl did overdose, but was revived. She is now in custody and will be heading to the prison. We’re so grateful to God for this girls life. She’s 26 years old. Going to prison may not seem like answered prayer, but in this case, it’s definitely what answered prayer looks like. One of the women is writing a Christmas play and instead of the three wise men, she has the three wise guys. In her script a couple gets lost looking for the hospital to have their baby in and end up in a trailer park. The man runs up to a door, only for it to be a trailer where drugs are being sold. The man says they have to come in because the baby is coming now and in they go. The three wise guys are thinking if they kidnap the baby, they can get rich quick. As the play goes on the three wise guys end up in these conversations about how they got to where they are in life and finally bow to Jesus and ask Him to be their Savior. It’s funny and beautiful. (Don’t you feel like you just watched a Christmas movie?) God has given this woman an amazing writing ability. I told her we need to get the Wayans brothers in there to read her material.
With dad gone, we’ve been praying about the direction of this ministry. Dad always went to the Rescue Mission on Sunday mornings when we weren’t in a prison, as well as ministered to the men from Chain of Lakes Correctional on Fridays. Somehow between the two of us, we seemed to cover a lot of ground because we both had individual areas of ministry as well as what we did together. We’ve also only had 2 board members, both of whom are old as dirt, but they’re faithful and no one gets rid of faithful dirt J. So we’ve asked Steve Delarosa to come onto the Board and he has accepted. Steve is a worship leader. He’s been involved with the Friemann Square ministry for about ten years, which is where dad preached in the park on Sunday mornings for the homeless, and Steve has been leading worship there for the past 3 years. Steve has also done some jail and prison ministry with us in the past. His sister, Theresa Delarosa, has been to several prisons with us and has a true heart for spreading the gospel to anyone who’ll listen.
Since I was going home for Thanksgiving we decided that’d be a good opportunity to go into the Blackford County Jail in Hartford City. The chaplain there has always been very accommodating to us. He said it’d work out great for them since they wouldn’t be having their usual Thursday evening service. Theresa coordinated getting some volunteers together and planning a ministry outline. I picked up Steve in Fort Wayne and we met the rest of the crew in Hartford City. Friday night went great. Out of 54 men in the jail, 24 came out for the service, which is really good. We’ve went when only 6 have come out. Saturday morning we picked up donuts to go with the coffee we were taking, Theresa had the whole day planned as well as could be done, but when we got there the whole schedule changed. We were supposed to have the men for 2 hours, while 2 of our women were going to go minister in the women’s block. They ended up bringing the women into the gymnasium for 1 hour (12 of them), and then the men the next hour. This has never happened in the 8 years I’ve been going to this jail. So Theresa flipped the morning schedule and said that would be done when we had the men for 2 hours in the afternoon, and for the morning she winged the arrangement. We had music, testimonies, speaker, prayer, not quite as neatly as that looks, but definitely Spirit led. In the afternoon when we go back, the officer asked when we’d like the women! So once again the whole arrangement went flying out the window. God is so amazingly faithful. This was the first time Theresa coordinated one of the events. In fact, other than Steve and Theresa, this was the first time for these volunteers to come in with us, which is probably good since they had no idea how it was usually done. I had the wonderful view point of watching this whole team flow with the Spirit, laying down our own ideas, and having to be totally open to what God wanted to do in that place. This morning, I’m in Alabama getting ready to go into the prison, and I get a phone call. This woman tells me she goes into the Blackford County Jail on Tuesdays to minister to the women and she got my number just to let me know how much that time of ministry meant to those women. That blessed my socks off! Our time with those women was so unplanned, so spur of the moment, and so Jesus. We do need to make plans, because God is a God of order, but don’t ever be so wrapped up in your plans, that you don’t step aside for His.
Thank you for your faithful support of this ministry. As I’ve told you this is a volunteer chaplain position. I’m so blessed to be able to be here and not have to worry about how the rent is going to be paid. I can’t tell you how much you’ve taught me about what family really looks like. I am overwhelmed by God’s provision during this unique time of ministry. Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made and for standing with us. I pray God’s peace over you during this season and that His joy will well up from within your spirit. May you fall in love with His Son all over again as we go through this season of celebrating Him.
Be blessed in the Name of our glorious Savior, Jesus!