2011 has been a year of outreaches for Discipleship Unlimited. Speakers, dancers and wonderful Bible teachers have traveled from many states for these events. 3,000 women in white, from Texas City to Woodman State Jail to Gatesville Prisons, were given an opportunity to hear the “good, glad, merry news!” Prayer paves the way, as volunteers go cell to cell. Divine appointments are the order of the day. Evenings are filled with worship and teaching. Volunteers travel from many states to join God in what He is doing here.
These men and women are all sizes, shapes, ages and backgrounds but they all want to bring God’s love. Those behind the fences are eager for a ray of hope. Jesus is our hope and prayer unlocks hearts. Edrena Smith did a fantastic job of coordinating this very diverse group of more than 150 people.
Recently, I received a letter from Clara, who has been in the Mountainview unit for eight years. She writes with such deep gratitude for our outreach event that she calls it a “Crusade of Love.” I want to share with you His work through Clara’s eyes:
I cannot express in words my admiration for this labor of love. For four days we have had awesome Bible teaching, poetry, music, dance, and time to interact in small groups. God hand picks each of the team members to cover our spiritual needs and there is something for everyone.
Roy Yamamoto, an ex-offender, is a full-time Pastor of New Hope Church. He shared his powerful story of redemption. He is a precious man of God. We are all ready to follow him to Hawaii to help with his Agape camp for children of the incarcerated.
Jill Briscoe returned to us with her lovely British accent and her stories of those in third world countries who suffer for serving Christ. Her messages give us a desire to go deeper and be stronger in our walk. She writes poetry and one of the team members, who is a lovely ballerina, danced as the poem was recited. It left a lasting impression of what it is like to be in Heaven or Hell—to be alone in a pit or in heaven with Jesus.
Many of the team members who serve with Discipleship Unlimited bring their children or grandchildren. Terry Strom has been a regular at our prison for years. He makes us feel comfortable because he is kind and makes us laugh. We love him. Jake Strom is 18 and tall and handsome. He plays the electric guitar with his father. Sue Mayer from Wisconsin brought her daughter to sing and share her story with us.
I can't believe people do this. Instead of going to a resort or for a four day week-end vacation they come to Gatesville and spend time with prisoners, [who feel like] the lowest of the low in the whole wide world.... They inspire us with hope and their messages are received with joy in our hearts. They encourage, comfort and urge us to live lives worthy of God. So many pleasant memories are left in our hearts. We long to see them again and again!
Thank you for soothing our afflicted hearts. Thank you for inspiring us to live a life worthy of love.
It is wonderful to receive such an affirming letter. However, for all of us who minister behind the walls, the joy is ours. We love the men and women who welcome us into their world and open their hearts to Him. For it is His call—to go to captives and watch Jesus set them free—to go and make disciples.
Through your prayers and gifts you make this ministry possible. Let’s continue to partner with Him in setting captives free!