MY First Day
All week, I was excited about going to the St Cloud Prison Facility. On Friday night, July 4, 2008, I could hardly sleep as I kept waking up every hour on the hour. Finally, I opened my eyes and it was 6:00 a.m., Sabbath, July 5, 2008. I quickly got up, had devotion and got ready for my 72-mile journey. I met the rest of the crew at Perkins in Monticello, where we journeyed in one vehicle to the St. Cloud Correctional Facility. I had to admit although I was anxious, I also felt a little nervous, this being my first visit to a prison facility in the USA.
On arrival, we had to sign in and present our driver’s licenses. This seemed acceptable until I noticed that I had to go through a metal detector that brought back memories of the security checks at the airports. The detector went off several times before I was final cleared to enter the facility. I was now relaxed because I knew that I was about to embark on a mission for the Lord, also I was not alone. As I went through the first set of gates and they slammed shut behind me, for the first time I felt what is was like to be temporarily behind bars and I was thankful that I would be released in ninety minutes.
One guard led us to the room where services would be held. We quickly organized the room and got ready to greet the offenders as they entered. I did not know what to expect, but I was sure that I need not worry because Jesus had everything under control. There we about 42 men who came out to the service and I noted that they seemed happy to be there in our company and God’s presence. I did note the songs that they chose to sing, “Wade in the water,” I want to be a Christian,” to name a few. I must confess that I felt at home and I enjoyed the service – I was indeed blessed in being there.
When the service ended and we left the facility, I realized as I chatted with the other members of the group that I felt that this was something that I wanted to do. I was ecstatic and happy that I had made the trip and I could not wait for my next visit in one month’s time. I will say that it was a rewarding and fulfilling experience that I think others who are thus inclined, should come and participate. My visit to the facility reminded me of Jesus’ remark in St Matthew 25 which encourages us to visit those who are incarcerated. I hope that others will be inspired to give Prison Ministry a try.
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