"Thank you so much for coming." said one of the prisoners before returning to his cell. "You guys showed us a fresh presentation and demonstration of the gospel."
What incredible words to hear from an inmate. They've had other ministries come to the prison, but it usually just consists of someone preaching a gospel message. This is all good and wonderful, but we saw that these men had a need to have love demonstrated to them. As we began our worship set, singing about the love of the Father, many of the men started weeping. One man in particular began to wrap his arms around himself, as if he was giving himself the hug he had never received. Tears were streaming down his face. The men on our team started to go around and give the men a loving embrace along with words of encouragement. They were so receptive and grateful. This display of love helped them open up to us about their lives and allowed us pray for them and share more about the Lord with them.
We also went to a women's prison but, due to logistical issues, they were not allowed to come out of their cells and mingle with us as we ministered to them. Instead, we went in front of their cells, worshiped, and gave an individual gospel presentation to each group of ladies. It will be hard to forget the desperation and appreciation in their eyes. They are women who were desperate for change, and they were grateful to have a group of American's travel so far just to bless them with music and the hope of the gospel message.
The people we met in these prisons may be hardened criminals, but God knows how to touch the soft spot of their hearts. He is so committed to rebuilding broken lives!