division of overseas ministries/global ministries · 2020-01-24 · division of overseas...

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Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries Before Christmas I was visiting the jail in BasseTerre, Guadeloupe, for my weekly Bible study. Even though I wasn’t feeling my best, I was still riding the high from class the week before. Going through Advent themes, we had talked about peace and even practiced a moment of meditation and made origami cranes. It had been a wonderful week and I was looking forward to another great week with the group. When I arrived, I gave the guards my list of names and set up in one of the classrooms they have in the jail. I moved the desks to the side and arranged the chairs into a circle. I sat down and looked over my plans and read from my Bible as I waited for the prisoners to arrive. Ten minutes or so passed before the first prisoner, D, entered. We chatted lightly while we waited for the others to arrive. We discussed the weather, if he had heard from his family lately, and if the prison would do anything special for Christmas. Then the conversation shifted as he asked, “When you first started coming here, were you afraid?” This sparked a much deeper conversation. A conversation about fear, regret, family, and friendship. He shared some of his story and about what he was most looking forward to when he thought about going back home. Eventually he shared that besides this weekly group, his life is the same dayin and dayout. It gets monotonous and lonely, especially with his family living in SaintMartin (as is the situation with most of the prisoners I work with). He shared how thankful he is for the weekly opportunity to spend some time in God’s presence and do something a bit different. After a while, we realized about 45 minutes had passed and so no one else was likely to come. (I later found out that there had been a basketball tournament scheduled at the same time that the majority of my other regulars were attending.) As D and I chatted a bit longer, I briefly shared the gist of what I was planning on discussing in class that day and then we prayed together before getting up to part ways.

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Page 1: Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries · 2020-01-24 · Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries Before!Christmas!IwasvisitingthejailinBasse 5Terre,!Guadeloupe,!formy!

 

Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries Before  Christmas  I  was  visiting  the  jail  in  Basse-­‐Terre,  Guadeloupe,  for  my  weekly  Bible  study.  Even  though  I  wasn’t  feeling  my  best,  I  was  still  riding  the  high  from  class  the  week  before.    Going  through  Advent  themes,  we  had  talked  about  peace  and  even  practiced  a  moment  of  meditation  and  made  origami  cranes.  It  had  been  a  wonderful  week  and  I  was  looking  forward  to  another  great  week  with  the  group.  

When  I  arrived,  I  gave  the  guards  my  list  of  names  and  set  up  in  one  of  the  classrooms  they  have  in  the  jail.  I  moved  the  desks  to  the  side  and  arranged  the  chairs  into  a  circle.  I  sat  down  and  looked  over  my  plans  and  read  from  my  Bible  as  I  waited  for  the  prisoners  to  arrive.  Ten  minutes  or  so  passed  before  the  first  prisoner,  D,  entered.  

We  chatted  lightly  while  we  waited  for  the  others  to  arrive.  We  discussed  the  weather,  if  he  had  heard  from  his  family  lately,  and  if  the  prison  would  do  anything  special  for  Christmas.  Then  the  conversation  shifted  as  he  asked,  “When  you  first  started  coming  here,  were  you  afraid?”  

This  sparked  a  much  deeper  conversation.  A  conversation  about  fear,  regret,  family,  and  friendship.  He  shared  some  of  his  story  and  about  what  he  was  most  looking  forward  to  when  he  thought  about  going  back  home.    Eventually  he  shared  that  besides  this  weekly  group,  his  life  is  the  same  day-­‐in  and  day-­‐out.  It  gets  monotonous  and  lonely,  especially  with  his  family  living  in  Saint-­‐Martin  (as  is  the  situation  with  most  of  the  prisoners  I  work  with).  He  shared  how  thankful  he  is  for  the  weekly  opportunity  to  spend  some  time  in  God’s  presence  and  do  something  a  bit  different.  

After  a  while,  we  realized  about  45  minutes  had  passed  and  so  no  one  else  was  likely  to  come.  (I  later  found  out  that  there  had  been  a  basketball  tournament  scheduled  at  the  same  time  that  the  majority  of  my  other  regulars  were  attending.)  As  D  and  I  chatted  a  bit  longer,  I  briefly  shared  the  gist  of  what  I  was  planning  on  discussing  in  class  that  day  and  then  we  prayed  together  before  getting  up  to  part  ways.  

   

Page 2: Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries · 2020-01-24 · Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries Before!Christmas!IwasvisitingthejailinBasse 5Terre,!Guadeloupe,!formy!

It  wasn’t  the  class  I  was  planning  to  have  and  in  some  ways  it  seemed  silly  that  I  drove  2.5  hours  round  trip  just  to  end  up  meeting  with  one  man  for  an  hour.  However,  I  absolutely  thought  it  was  worthwhile.  My  work  generally  couldn’t  be  described  as  “fast-­‐paced”  or  “exciting,”  but  every  day  I  am  aware  that  it  is  worthwhile.  As  always,  I  remain  thankful  to  serve  God’s  children  whether  it  be  100  or  1  at  a  time.