It was terribly disappointing.
I had missed being able to enter the Folsom Prison Women’s Facility which I had been entering on a weekly basis for well over a year. I walked up and was buzzed in the exterior door. I walked over to the officer who served as a receptionist. He recognized me from the previous encounters and immediately said: “Sorry, your card has expired!” I immediately responded, “Could you check again? There must be some mistake!” He told me that he couldn’t check it because the expired cards are removed and are not available to him. He told me that it had expired two days previous!
I was truly sad! I had looked forward to the very eager women who attended these Bible studies from week to week. They are among the most attentive and interested students that I have encountered. They take careful notes — asking questions on things that they don’t understand. There is a genuine desire to get as much as they can out of Scripture when they have access to someone who can explain things to them.
It is difficult to have them ask me to pray for their kids — usually having huge tears on their cheeks as they ask that I pray for some specific need. They miss them so much! Many of them haven't seen their kids for a long time — years. Some of them haven’t even talked to their kids. Their hearts are broken at the impact that their sins have had on their families and they have so many regrets.
Last Sunday, as Tim Wagoner shared that there were almost 30 people from Grace Bible Church that are participating in the ministry to prisoners in one form or another, I was encouraged. Yet, I believe this could be a good start. I’ve encouraged people to contact Tim for guidance in gaining clearance so that they can go in and observe the way that God is working through this ministry. Perhaps after observing what is being done, they can picture how they might be of assistance.
Be assured that as I left the prison having been rebuffed, I contacted my doctor to see how I could arrange for the needed TB test as soon as possible. I went in as soon as possible and will have the results available to submit for my clearance by tomorrow. Meanwhile, I am praying that others will gain a vision of what God could use them to do among the prisoners (cp. Matthew 25:34-40).