MN Adult & Teen Challenge
I had the opportunity to lead worship with a friend of mine for the women in this program who are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. God was doing awesome things among the women during our time there. Here is what the director sent me the next day:
"I so appreciate your ministry last night. In thinking about it, I believe that one of the reasons that the atmosphere was so ripe for them to receive was how you proclaimed the Lordship of JESUS! Your evangelistic worship aligned the hearts and the Spirit in the room!!! Thanks so much!"
-Linda, Director of Women's Ministry
Prison Fellowship Graduation
I had the honor of being invited to attend a graduation ceremony for four women who completed a one-year program through the ministry of Prison Fellowship inside the Shakopee Prison. This is the same ministry we partner with when I go in to lead worship. My friend Katie, who came with me to this ceremony, wrote about her experience while we were there. I continue to be in awe of how God is at work among these women every time I get to go and am thankful for Katie's faithfulness in prayer for this young woman.
"This story started almost 6 months ago. I was at the prison for a worship night with Consumed Ministries. I sang some harmonies, but I also talked some about my dad’s suicide, shame, and hopelessness.
Afterwards, a very young woman came up to me during prayer time with tears streaming down her face. She was brand new there. She told me why she was in there, how long she would be there, how much shame she was carrying, that she knew she wanted to give up or have something different for her life...and all I could do was pray for her and weep with her. You can’t even touch these women, which is really difficult (even for a non-hugger). There is literally nothing to do except ask God to help.
When I left that night, I couldn’t get her face out of my mind. God would remind me of her almost every day. And I’d pray every day—specifically that she would know her worth, forgive herself, and lean on Jesus.
A few months ago, I went back. I searched for her, hoping she had kept coming to the Prison Fellowship program after that first night. I was SO relieved to see her in the service. She was smiling and chatting with her friends, I didn’t connect with her because there’s no way she remembered me. But I told the program leader afterwards how God was keeping this gal relentlessly on my heart, and she said “I’m going to let her know.”
But today! At a special graduation. This gal walked in the room and sat in the front row...she was receiving a certificate for completing a large portion of the program. This is HUGE, brave, committed work. (Only 1/5 of the inmates that started this class saw it through to the end-it’s a strenuous program.) The best part? As we were shaking their hands at the end, she whispered in my ear “Thanks for the prayers.”
She remembered ME!
So God. He gave me an opportunity to share my hard story so that she would feel that she could open up and share her hard story. He probably would’ve done the work in her heart anyway. But He let me get wrapped into her story through prayer. He didn’t need me to see her get her certificate. But He let me.
He weaves and weaves threads of lives together. I know we won’t see the completed tapestry till the end, but I got to see a portion of it today, and I’m just so thankful."
Whenever I bring a group into the Shakopee Prison, we almost always have people come who have not yet had this experience. I love when it's someone's first time coming! This last time, I invited my friend Kim, who had not yet visited, to come and share her testimony and to pray with the women during the end of our time there. She writes about her experience below:
"What a gift it was to be invited to the Shakopee Women's Correctional Facility by Consumed Ministries! Not knowing exactly what to expect, I was eager for the evening as I sensed the Holy Spirit as I prepared a short testimony to share with the women. I anticipated that when I stepped out in faith, He would meet me and minister to the women through the words He gave me to share. God indeed was faithful! - as He always is! My heart was touched as I worshipped in song along with the women; I even stopped singing for a while to let the words the women were singing so powerfully wash over my heart. God never wastes our choices or pain, and though the women have made choices that have lead to their incarceration, I observed that God is using this time to draw them to Him. Our visit was a testimony to the work He is doing and I thank God for Jackie and the staff whose calling it is to bring the Word and God's truths to the women behind prison walls. I stand in agreement that through Christ, lives can be changed that show of His mercy and grace, that ultimately give God all the glory. May the Shakopee Women's Correctional Facility continue to be a place where Jesus is experienced, worshipped, and believed so as the women are released, they call upon Him in their future times of joy and trial."