Have you ever been to prison?
I’ve been in and out of prison so many times that I’ve lost count.
Starting about a year after I retired from the Army, I was invited to assist in prison ministry. The ministry I support is called Yeshua Moshit Yadav (Yeshua’s Hand Extended). It is a small, all volunteer organization, led by John and Martha Rogers. (You may send your tax deductible donations to Yeshua Moshit Yadav, PO Box 256, Noble, OK 73068). John and Martha’s son Shane is also a big part of the ministry. If you’d like to get involved in prison ministry, please do let me know or contact John directly. No experience required. I’m serious.
Here’s an example. There have been some recent changes in the way offenders are allowed to meet together for services, and it has really become quite restrictive. Because of a recent incident, offender-led religious services are no longer authorized. There must be either a volunteer present (such as yourself) or a member of the facility staff present in order for the service. Many groups, such as the one in which I lead services in the Oklahoma State Reformatory (OSR), have some very knowledgeable and capable offender leadership. They once were able to hold a Friday evening (erev Shabbat) service, but as it is held after the facility chaplain has departed for the day, they are no longer able to do so. At this point, they are really only looking for someone to be there on Friday evenings a couple times a month. This is not just the case at OSR, but the rules change is state wide.
I have about an 80 mile drive each way to OSR. On the “To” route, I always call my parents (using a hands free device) and we usually talk until I pull into the prison parking lot. On a typical drive, we’re disconnected about 4 times beginning at a very predictable point on the route. There is more than one route, but they all seem to take about the same amount of time in my experience. Of course, the many times when I drove my old Jeep Grand Wagoneer there I had to take the extra time to fill the gas tank once on the drive. Today, many of the road signs were sharply tilted toward the east as a result of the tornadoes and strong winds that drove through the area yesterday afternoon and evening.
On the “From” route, I usually try to listen to the Stand To Reason radio show hosted by Greg Koukl, but as only an hour of the show is carried on Yom Rishon/Sunday afternoons I often fill the gap with an Audible book (using my cell phone with a hands free device). Audible is a service that is essentially the modern version of “books on tape.” Sometimes, like today, I listen to the Audible book for the entire way home. What’s the new book? I am in Chapter 4 of “Clinton Cash” by Peter Schweizer (read by Walter Dixon).
Mmmm, I’m quite liking this……
More to follow……..