Easter Sunday at Woodman State Jail

Woodman is a receiving center that houses 900 women, and reality hits hard to the women who come. How we long to minister to them when they are hurting and hungry for hope, yet women are often turned away from church due to lack of seating.

We try to solve that by holding two services outside so we can have an open call to church on Easter Sunday. The only glitch is inclement weather. As my car was being searched at the gate, I thought, No outside service today. It’s freezing here. Yet as I walked across the yard, I saw I was wrong.

These women know God is for them, and we see the fruit of their faith.

The team was out in the yard setting up for the service. Then the women filed in, willing to sit on the damp, cold ground for several hours. Tears streamed down faces as we worshiped together. Grateful women were unashamedly praising God and holding to the truths of Christ’s finished work and resurrection.

Tim Keller wrote, “Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.” These women know God is for them, and we see the fruit of their faith.

The women sitting on the cold ground had their hearts warmed by Lisa, who has been out of Woodman for three years and was rescued from her addiction partly through the weekly Celebrate Recovery meetings that Terry and Jean hold at Woodman. Lisa testified to how her life has been dramatically turned around from meth addict to a Jesus lover, student, and wife. She told them:

I remember when I first saw the sign for Woodman State Jail. I was shackled to two other women, and I was filled with fear. I was placed in the K Dorm (a receiving area where eight women are placed with no privacy).

It was there I received a Bible and a Karla Faye Tucker book. This book deeply impacted me. I thought, if God loved Karla and could change her, he loved me too.

I grew up in Gatesville and was taken to Sunday School by the Wise’s. When I saw their names in Karla’s story I had the sense that God was with me – that He had not forgotten me. Then I went to Celebrate Recovery, and Terry and Jean were leading CR. My life was turned around in this very place.

Upon my release I went to Celebrate Recovery at Temple Bible Church. Now I volunteer in prison three times a week. I am walking out my faith with a new family. My hopes and dreams are becoming reality.

Then I gave the Easter message – the story of our victorious Savior.  “I was in prison and you visited me. I am visiting you, Lord. I am seeing you at work.” Tears stream down faces as I declared the truth of the finished work of the cross. I left with a grateful heart that I had seen Jesus my Lord at work.

Your prayers and gifts make it possible for us to do this ministry, and we are so grateful. We are nearly four times larger than we were five years ago. We are also starting to do more in the area of after care. Please pray for our finances to match our growth. It is with joy and thanksgiving that we celebrate the His kindness.

We are partners together with him.

Linda, Terry, and the DU staff and volunteers