Oct 16, 2008

The Real World - Part One

satan doesn't like it when we get busy working for God's kingdom. (He also doesn't deserve to have his name capitalized.) This past weekend was no exception. Our normally adequate-sized prison ministry team was plucked apart, one by one. While many of our dedicates were there (including "Grandma," the 81-year-old who couldn't go last time because she was recovering from a broken pelvis -not a broken hip as previously reported), many were kept away.

No problem.

God showed up.

When Grandma and I walked into one of the "long term" cell blocks, the TV was on, tuned in for the local news. That surprised me. I've been in this prison 50 times and never, ever has there been a TV on where the kids could see it. Sure, they have movie night once in while if they're well behaved, but the local news? Never.

As the guard guard turned off the TV, he instructed the 11 boys to be seated around the hard-steel-bolted-to-the-floor tables with hard-steel-bolted-to-the-table seats attached. They complied. Always looking for the ice breaker, I asked them if they'd been watching news about our upcoming election. They had. I asked if they understood what is at stake. Some did. I asked if they realized history is about to made, one way or the other. They did.

Feeling led by the Spirit, I asked the guys to think about what they'd studied in history regarding the founding of this great country, why the early settlers left England and what they hoped to build here in the New World. They were quiet.


I asked them to name things that have contributed to the declining state we find ourselves in today.

"The war!"

"George Bush!"

"Bill Clinton!"





"Families falling apart!"



The shouts came from all over the room. They continued to list those things they feel have contributed to where we find ourselves today. I nodded occasionally in agreement.

And then it was quiet.

One young man sitting at the back said, "Miss, what do YOU think got us here?"

I smiled. I glanced over at Grandma.

She winked at me and said, "I know. Can I answer?"

I nodded.

She said, "We are a nation who has gotten away from God. We've turned our backs on Him. We've done whatever we've wanted, whenever we've wanted, and we don't care who we've hurt... including Him."

I nodded again as I looked at the sea of sad and downtrodden faces and watched as the wheels turned in their young minds. An almost eerie quiet fell over the room as they thought about what Grandma had said. Finally one young man had a question.

"Well, if we're so bad - we're the worst of the worst in here - WHY are you HERE?"

"I'm glad you asked," I said. "We're here because we need to make sure that you know how much God loves you. We need to make sure you know how much WE love you."

Most of these kids have rarely - if ever - heard from any adult that they are loved. Their eyes searched for more... more details, an explanation, a punchline to what must surely be a joke. Grandma and I spent the next while sharing God's Word with these boys and telling many of them for the first time that God has a plan for their lives. And it's a GOOD plan full of hope and a bright future and not the calamity they have known previously. We talked about finishing high school or taking the GED and going to college or finding a trade. We talked about surrounding ourselves with God's people who love Him above all else and encourage us to do the same. We talked about disassociating ourselves from those who seek their own way and those who don't acknowledge God's principles for living.

We talked about being careful when choosing our friends and how their influence can lead us down wrong paths. We talked about not doing things that "everybody else is doing." We even talked about MySpace and Facebook and how those "social networking sites" telegraph all kinds of information to the world about who we REALLY are. I shared with them about two potential candidates who recently submitted resumes to me for an open position in my office and how the information on their MySpace and/or Facebook pages prevents them from ever having an interview with me.

That was just an aside, but it sparked some lively discussion! Most of them had never considered the possibility that future employers would see those "funny" pictures of them passed out drunk or the foul language they use or the violent music they choose for their page. Most of them were shocked that an old lady like me even knows what MySpace and Facebook even are.

One young man said, "Ma'am, I'm a convicted felon. Would you hire me?"

And I said...

(Stay tuned for Part Two)


Anonymous said...

ohh that wasn't nice - your ending of course! I can't wait to read the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would say). I feel something good coming next.
Ruby's Fairy Godmother

GoSuze! said...

Arrggh! A two-parter! Part one was riveting, and I look forward to the rest. (So did you hire that guy? When does he start??)

scottm said...

Now that ain't right, that what you done. OK, I know you have a life besides blogging so I'll cut you some slack. But not for long cause I don't have much else to do lately!

Anonymous said...

GOD is using you! Wow! Hang in there!
Yo Daddy luvs ya!

DidiLyn said...

I was so loving this post and then you blasted me with that NON-ending.
Not funny, young lady.
I loved reading this, Jenn. Now, seriously...when is the next part??

Suzanne said...

Hoping the next part is very soon! Love what you are doing for these kids, so much...God bless you!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Jenn, you are ssooooooooooo bad and you know it. hehe

You had me clinging to every word.

I sure hope this commercial break is not very looooonnnnnggggg.
Your ministry is such a blessing.

Sheryl said...

Love a cliff hanger (NOT), but I think it will be worth the wait. What a blessing you are in your ministry. To share hope with those who would think there is none. I'll be watching for "the rest of the story".


Chel - An Abiding Branch said...

I am so glad that God made you!!! I have only read your blog a couple of times but I am glad that I get Part 1 and 2 on the same day!! LOL. I really liked that you addressed the Myspace, Facebook presentations. People DO think things and always will have pre-conceived notions especially if we give them ammo. Thank you for that. And my daughter wonders why I check out the myspace or FB of her potential crushes. DUH!

I came off the Hood of the Meyers (ha ha) to your blog, your comment there was so great!

Anyway, Hurry up, we're waiting.