What keeps you guys from been discouraged? That’s a common question that people often ask our staff. Just the other day while I was at the jail, visiting inmates, passing out bibles and Daily Bread pamphlets, a sergeant stopped me. She commented on my appearance and shared how much she liked my suit and how good it was for the young men to see another man wearing a shirt and tie. She went on talk about how much she enjoyed my bible classes and shared a few request on study subjects for me to teach in the future.
While we where talking, another volunteer had been leading the bible class. One of the men in the bible class looked at me and began pointing his finger, gesturing that he wanted to speak to me. I hate interrupting another person’s study, so I ignored the gentleman, but he persisted until I finally asked the sergeant if I could talk with this man. As he walked over, I remembered that I need glasses. I will be 34 years old this year and I guess my eyes aren’t what they used to be. When the gentlemen got close enough and I recognized him, I realized he was CB! When I was incarcerated back 1998-2001, he was in with me. He had been in out since then and now he was back. In the past, Dan and CB have had a close relationship. Dan met CB back in his early days at the jail. Remember, Dan has been going to the jail for over 20 years, and CB has been coming back and forth for almost 20 years.
The fact is, CB always attends bible study and worship service while incarcerated, because it’s the only time he can remain sober. His addiction always seems to get the best of him. If you met him in jail, you would be impressed with his knowledge, with his humility and his willingness to help others. It could be easy to see CB and be discouraged, or you can see CB and be encouraged.
We have resigned ourselves to understand that it is God who saves, it is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies, and we are only God’s vessels. Understanding that we are just God’s messengers keeps us from discouragement, and meeting and ministering to people like CB reminds us why God has called us to minister to those who are incarcerated. We are there as God’s instruments his vessels, to show love and grace to those who have sinned and followed short. To disciple the believer, and to bring glory to the name God through Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Christ, Corey