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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Locked In (Jail)

Many of you already know that I go to the jail each Monday night to hold "Christian Services." I initially started out with small groups of men and that was very interesting. However, for some time now each Monday night I am given a group of young lady inmates. I can have anywhere from 10 - 20 young female inmates at a time.So what do we talk about.? Well, you probably guessed it, everything. We usually start off with prayer and then a short meditation listening to a spiritual song. I love to proclaim the Gospel to them followed by a short teaching.Then the best part, we begin the discussion. This is the part where you can really see the Holy Spirit at work. A young lady will have a question that was inspired by either the readings, or from the teaching. Each question response triggers another question and the whole evening becomes so full of God's love, energy, forgiveness, understanding, enlightenment, it at times over takes us. It is common for the ladies to begin to cry, to see clearly their wrongs, their poor choices, but to also see the love and forgiveness that awaits them. They find it so difficult to forgive themselves, they have rationalized their behavior and choices for so long that they often find themselves paralyzed in the midst of truth.We often talk about removing the obstacles to God in our lives, identifying anything that is separating us from God, our behavior, our friends, our habits, and then making a plan to remove them from our lives. We talk about temptations and virtues. We identify who and what God is either placing in our lives, or allowing in our lives, to help us gain further virtues. We often talk about possible reasons why God allowed us to make mistakes and what it is that He is trying to teach us. We talk about the ultimate reward, being in heaven with our Lord.There is so much hurt in these women. However, they are so hungry for true love, God's love. Many don't really understand what true love is. They have been mistreated in such bad ways and then have done the same to others.I guess I am blessed since the majority of the women that attend the services with me are so very young. You can truly see the hope in their eyes. Many are young mothers who have children and are now separated from them. Most feel truly remorseful for what they have done. We rarely talk about what they have done specifically, but it is usually rooted in pride, despair, anger, self-centeredness, lust, ect. Sin is Sin, but seeing the key to the opposite of sin, Virtue, is always the answer to spiritual growth.Many of the young women have never really had any routine of self examination in their lives. Without self examination, how can you really begin to understand who you are, how God is working within you, and how the evil one is attempting to tempt you.The ladies are now doing a simple self examination each night prior to going to bed. They are slowly beginning to see God within their lives, as well as beginning to build a relationship with Him.Please pray for these special and beautiful, but troubled souls. God's peace,Pat

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