BEHIND PRISON WALLS
Below are the personal testimonies of the ROTPM Team members during their encounters in Prison Ministry.
Prison Ministry is both challenging and rewarding and is of course the heart of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In Mathew 25: 31-46 Jesus says:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Matthew 25:36
PRIOR TO THE BIRTH OF ROTPM
God directs our paths into His will for our lives. Prior to my involvement with Prison Ministry, I was asked to visit Inmate John after he received a 25 year sentence. As we talked, I found out that prior to his arrest, he had a good job and had attended a church that I knew and had attended many times. We have kept in touch down through the years. He sends me cards for all occasions throughout the year. Since the time I met him 18 years ago, he has lost his father whom he had a good relationship with. In Feb. 2001 he received more devastating news that his Mother died suddenly after a massive heart attack. He is a good-hearted, loving, kind person and a devout Christian. He has become one of my many sons-in-the-gospel. He is now married and looking forward to going home in the next couple of years.
DELIVERANCE AND AN EARLY RELEASE
The birth of ROTPM in 1995 evolved as I began to “reach out” to an Inmate named Martin. He was incarcerated because of robbery due to a drug addiction. He sat on the front pew every 3rd Sunday and after I ministered, he would beg me to help get him into a program because he was going through withdrawals and couldn’t get help from within. He was shaking and very ill. I told him there was nothing I could do to help him, but that Jesus could help him. I told him to call on the name of Jesus when he was experiencing the effects of withdrawal. After a few months, I noticed a profound change in him. He was actively participating in the service and delivered without going through a drug program. He was sentenced to 5 years but spent only 3 years upstate. After he was released he got married, joined a church and joined the choir.
REUNITING OF A SON AND MOTHER
Inmate Johnson sat on the front seat every third Sunday for over a year. During his last Sunday, he testified (while holding up all the handouts I had given them) that he had kept all the lesson I taught and that those lessons changed his life. He was transferred to an upstate facility. Years later I was attending a function upstate and saw him. I inquired about his Mother and he began to cry and said she cries every time he spoke to her because she wanted to see his face. They had not seen each other for over 13 years. Another person (Gloria) who was also visiting her husband at that function knew Johnson and I shared it with her. We made arrangements for his Mother to visit him while visiting her daughter in Florida before returning to Jamaica W.I. His mother was over 80 years old and had never been to New York before. I purchased a round-trip ticket for her and we picked her up from the airport and took her to stay with Gloria in Brooklyn where she stayed for one week. We picked her up and drove her upstate to see her son twice within the week. She had lost one of her eyes and could not read nor write, but her love compelled her to take chances on people whom she did not know, just to see her son’s face again. She died a few years later. Her son is still in touch with us 18 years later.
A FATHER’S TOUCHING STORY OF BAGS OF CHRISTMAS GOODIES
When Inmate Ivan began attending the services, he looked timid and cried all the time. I learned that he had six children. He said he was innocent of the crime for which he was arrested. After months of encouraging him, he began to get stronger and stronger in the Lord. One Sunday while ministering, I prayed for him and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. At Christmas, we gave gifts of socks, candies, fruits, cookies and prizes. This father of six was so concerned about his children, that he saved the bags of goodies and prizes he won and gave it to them. He was deeply touched and thanked the Ministry for providing “Christmas gifts” that he could give his children.
POWERFUL MESSAGE PREACHED AT OBCC TRANSCENDS TO FEDERAL PRISON
HR was asked to bring the Message in the federal facility where he is awaiting trial. Upon praying for a Message, God impressed upon his heart a Message that he heard Michael preach at OBCC quite some time ago (Michael mails a copy of his Messages to over 250 Men every time he preaches). As he began to "preach Michael's message" the Men began to cry so loud that he had never heard anything like it before. He said 12 Men have given their lives to the Lord. He is currently teaching our Bible Study Program at the Federal Prison and enrolling men in our Bible Study Program.
INMATE PRAISING GOD FOR BEING IN PRISON
We asked for two testimonies and one of the Men testified that He thought he was saved prior to coming to prison. He said he was trusting in his 'works." But since enrolling in our Bible Study Correspondence Course, He has really come to know God and develop an intimate relationship with Him. He was actually praising God for being there (in prison) and for the Ministry being there because He knows it has worked for his good. He has completed 10 of our 12 Lessons of Series I. He said he is eagerly awaiting Lesson #11 because they have helped him tremendously.