First of all thank you so much for your prayers for Annette. Her fever broke Monday morning and she returned to her perky self. I really sensed the prayers for her healing. Praise God!
We went on a very unconventional family outing today to the Tagbalaran City Jail, just a few miles down the road from Arms of Love. Jason visited last week with Pastor Buni and preached a message to the inmates on our Identity in Christ. When he suggested that the kids and I come along I was a bit hesitant, but the Lord gave me peace (and favor with the guards- usually kids can't visit) so off we went.
The men and women are only supposed to be held in this facility temporarily until their case is heard, however we met people who had spent the last 15 years in this small prison! Pastor Buni has been faithfully visiting the inmates for the past 12 years and has built some incredible relationships with them. Many of the prisoners and guards have come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
It was beautiful to see the joy and abandon in their worship.
Most of the prisoners have kids they never see so they loved seeing Josiah and Annette- who of course put on a show for them.
I heard it said once you should always be ready to "preach, pray and die". Today I certainly wasn't prepared to do any of the three (Jason did pray). I was out of my comfort zone so much that all I could manage were smiles, small talk, photo taking and sanitizing the kids' hands when nobody was looking. I think my biggest take away was the realization that prisoners are just people. They seemed the same to me as people outside the tall, barbed wire enforced walls. And they are lonely, forgotten, and rejected. They are people who need love and in many cases desperately want to hear about the hope Jesus brings.
Please pray for Jason this Saturday as he is visiting a larger prison in the city and preaching to 350 inmates along with bringing them small gifts. Please pray for revival to sweep the hearts of the men and women.
End- note: The prison in Cebu (just an hour from here) is famous for the inmates who dance to Michael Jackson in the courtyard (incredible). If you haven't seen it Youtube it. I was a little disappointed that these guys didn't dance for us, maybe we will start a new sort of prison- tourism industry (: