The One Among Many
In the more than ten years of work with inmates, I recently was awakened to the depths of discouragement these men can face on a daily basis. First I must remind you that the ones I am privileged to work with are the ‘cream’ that rises to the top. They are the small minority willing to engage in the programs offered through the chapel — the ones who dare to hope for a change for the better.
On a Thursday morning, my second Common Solution Recovery class of the day filed into the little classroom. We were in the 4th week of a six-week course, so I had come to know the group a bit. This day, however, I came to know them on a deeper level. While they were taking their seats, it became evident to me that these eight men were thoroughly crushed.
There was no point in me presenting the information needed for them to recover from their addictions. They were so closed up, jaded and hopeless that ‘teaching’ was out of the question. Instead, we had conversation. There was much venting and even some wallowing in self pity. I saw plenty of good reason for the wallowing as I listened to the litany of discouragements they were experiencing. Spontaneous and pointless beatings by angry guards. Stabbings and fights every day. The oppressive heat. Profane verbal abuse from a female guard while being quickly herded through chow without even a chance to sit down and eat. Having their things ransacked in surprise shake downs — and more.
It had become near impossible for these men to hope for anything good just to be disappointed again. They were crushed. All except one. Several times throughout our two hour conversation I had eye contact with one young inmate who was sparkling like a diamond placed in a muddy pigsty. He saw what was happening and had joy in seeing. We were all connecting on a level of compassion. Love was happening.
I think they were on the way to overcoming. I hope so. But even if not, there was the one among the many who was bubbling over with the Living Water of indwelling Jesus. Somehow, he was being encouraged and refreshed that day by the presence of the Comforter.
Please pray for those brothers in the faith to be encouraged and protected… and used by God to infect others with Hope.
God provides these testimonies. Please feel free to forward these to your friends.
The generous friends of Mark 4 provide the means for my being a part of His changing men’s hearts and transforming prisons.
Think of it as spiritual prison reform through ministering to both believing and unbelieving inmates.
Your financial support is needed, greatly appreciated and truly makes a difference.
Please be generous in your giving today.
Send checks to:
Mark 4 Ministries
P. O. Box 995
Port St. Joe, FL 32457