First, let me again say thank you to each of you for your prayer coverage, i feel it daily . . .
Involvement with ministry at the State Prison (SP) really started before I even heard of or knew about the SP!
It started back in the mid 2000s when I met a friend P at the seminary.
P and I became friends and she was constantly and is still passing my ministry information on to others.
Her husband does cell to cell ministry at SP and would take some of my ministry items in to SP and give them to the Chaplain. He brought in my DVD Homosexuality From A Christian Perspective and my article in Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal Leaving My Lesbian Past.
Unbeknownst to me inmates were reading my article and watching my dvd. When I first walked into the SP chapel, many inmates greeted me as though they were my friend. Turns out they had watched my dvd and read my article. Many told me it was like having an old friend come to visit. Yes, indeed, God was and is in SP.
I started teaching Old Testament there a few years ago. Then the chaplain asked me to preach on a Saturday evening and share my testimony.Teaching had been a joy yet that Saturday night something happened, a bonding occurred between the inmates and I.
Interesting enough, that Saturday evening I was looking for a particular inmate named M. I never did see him that night. I was looking for him because several times he tried to talk with me before I started teaching but there were always interruptions. I so hoped he was going to be there. I knew there was a connection between him and I, and he sensed it as well.
I found out a few weeks later that that particular inmate M, had been placed in solitary confinement for his own protection. He was in there for several weeks. M tells me he had to come to grips with many things during that time.
After the summer semester ended at SP I found out, much to my dismay, that the seminary did not need me to teach during the fall semester. I was quite disappointed. Little did I know but was soon to find out that God indeed had other plans. I knew I needed to stay focused on Bridging The Gaps Ministries mission statement yet I still was upset I was not going to be teaching Old Testament. I did not realize that not teaching for the seminary was helping me to focus on my called ministry.
M approached me after that last summer class and proposed we work together to start a new ministry for the men at SP. We talked for a good hour and would have talked longer however the inmates were all being called to return to their cells.
That new ministry is New Identity Ministries. We have spent the last 5 weeks talking about it, getting to know each other better, and focusing on how to present it and who it will help. It has a lot to do with same gender attractions however it has more to do with what happens to men who were sexually abused as children and emasculated of their identity as men. There is a lot to unpack with that statement so allow me to come back at another time with more exact information about this.
From their being sexually abused confusions such as homosexuality are a bi-product and so much more . . .
Now I have never been abused, at least not to my knowledge, though God is always opening me to things that happened to me as child so this is why I say ‘at least not to my knowledge.’
Two brothers in Christ are starting to come alongside M and I on this venture. These 2 brothers will both be corresponding with M as both of them were abused as children and were heavily involved in homosexuality and praise God all three have come out of this with God’s healing power.
M is a powerful man of God yet he is such a tender soul. He is part of the chapel music worship team, his voice is a beautiful tenor. We have sung a few songs together. He closes his eyes when he sings and you can almost see his intimacy with God when he does this. He knows God’s word and I see him as a leader God is using to help other men come out of their pain and into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
M and I are meeting weekly. We hope to open it all up to others at the beginning of the new year 2015.