Back Seat

“Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ’s life on earth,
 to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills
 and valleys on which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum,
 or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the
 sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great
 cities, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation.
“We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the suffering and afflicted.
 We are to minister to the despairing, and to inspire hope in the hopeless.
“The love of Christ, manifested in unselfish ministry, will be more effective in reforming
 the evildoer than will the sword or the court of justice. These are necessary to strike terror to the
lawbreaker, but the loving missionary can do more than this. Often the heart that hardens under reproof
 will melt under the love of Christ.”

—Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing , pp. 105, 106

Back Seat

 
I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning in the backseat being driven by the elder of my local church and two of my church sisters. We are just coming back from a youth offender’s   prison in Kent. It’s situated in the next county across the river Thames from where we all live. I took part by singing in the praise team and by doing the scripture reading. I am so overwhelmed, all that I can say is I’m blessed to be a blessing.

We often as a group try to choose songs that are ministry related as opposed to direct praise to God, Songs that will minister to a broken heart and will encourage the soul.
It just near broke my heart to see such fine young men in confinement. As I scanned the faces in the prison chapel, I noticed that 45% of the boys present were black, 40% were white and 15% a mixture of Chinese Asian and dual heritage. Now I don’t know the overall racial statistics in that particular prison but it’s indicative of the society we live in the United Kingdom. It just makes me wonder.

After the service a black boy came up to us and thanked us for coming. He immediately proceeded to tell us how he was glad to be in prison as prison saved his life. As I listened to his story, I couldn’t help but pray

“ O God please come soon and put an end to the violence ,death and suffering on the streets”

He was pretty shook up, two of his best mates that he hung around with on the streets of Hackney in inner city East London, had just been killed the previous week. He insisted that had he been on the outside he would definitely had died alongside them as they were inseparable .
All we could do at the end was pray with him and offer a two handed shake . All I wanted to do was hug this boy no older than my own little brother. However it would be a violation of policy to have that kind of physical contact with prisoners. The text immediately sprung to mind.

 

Jeremiah 9:21
“For death is come up into our windows and is entered into our palaces to cut the

children from without and the young men from the streets

It makes me solemn to realise that we are in fact in a bloody war zone. The devil will try anything to sweep millions whether children or young men with futures ahead of them into the pit using every deceitful tactic and weapon at his disposal.
As we weaved in and out of traffic and made our way across the Dartford tunnel the Holy Spirit comforted me with the text.

James 5:8
”Be ye also patient stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh”

Whatever you may be going through right now friends just know God wants you to hold on, stand firm on His word, have faith in His word and know He will come as He has promised to. I can assure you it’ll be worth it.

For more information on perhaps getting your church involved in prison ministry that has been established since the 1980’s  log on to

http://www.prison.go-network.org/aboutus.htm

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