Thanks to the generosity of our sending church in Smithville, Ohio, we were recently able to bless about 350 local prisoners with a gift of clothing and personal care items, as well as donating a simple meal of rice and beans. We had to pay to get in, but then we were able to share the gospel! It was worth every penny.
Jesus said we should visit those in prison. Why? Some are ready and waiting for the gospel because God finally has their full attention! Haven’t we all sinned and come short of the glory of God? Those in prison are just the ones who have gotten caught…we haven’t!
Prisoners in Haiti have nothing unless they have family to bring them food or clothes. There are over 800 prisoners in the Les Cayes jail. They are jammed in large cells full of inmates, living worse than animals. Some of the Haitians that went with us cried when they saw the living conditions. Could hell be worse than this? Imagine living in prison for your lifetime and then going to hell afterward? They need to know they were not created for hell, but for heaven! Jesus came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved! (John 3:17)
When we entered into the room, the male prisoners were calling out and wanting attention. We were overwhelmed by the scene, the living conditions, and the crowded prison cells. We stood in the middle of a courtroom, surrounded on both sides. The prisoners wrote little notes with requests for food and money that were passed to us. The notes were very sad to read. If they were true, many didn’t have any visitors or anyone helping them. Some were not from the area. If we would have had more time, we would have liked to shared the gospel personally with each cell.
We also had an opportunity to go to the ladies prison, which was a room close by. Many of those ladies were allowed to come out and sit. They formed a circle while we stood in the middle, sharing the plan of salvation with them. They were good listeners and we prayed for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction on their souls to bring them to a true repentance and a faith in Jesus Christ. We were all touched and knew only Christ could be their “all in all,” even in prison. Our desire would be to go back and continue to disciple the ones that received the gift of Jesus. We pray that the Lord will guide our step in reaching out to those desperate souls in prison.
When we returned home, we sat around the table and debriefed about the outreach. It was overwhelming for all of us to process! We sat and read the notes we received, and prayed for those souls that we had an opportunity to share Jesus with. Our God is mighty to save!
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:37-40