It was a gloriously sunny, but cold morning as we ventured out of the parking lot at Dutchway on Sunday. The trip to the Muncy State Correctional Institution to lead the "Faith Encounter" was uneventful, arriving there about 12:30. We prayed on the way, specifically the verse in 2 Corinthians 3:16-17, that the women's hearts would be open and the veil would be lifted and the ladies would SEE Jesus.
Security was handled a bit different on this return visit. We didn't have to sign it, the guard just looked at our licenses, then handed them back. I set off the alarm, was asked to take off one boot, walked through again, it beeped again, he let me through!
It was good to see the projector all set up and ready to go, the words large on the overhead screen. The ladies filed in, signed in, and we greeted each one. Many of the women had been there the last time we ministered and were glad to see us again. One of the ladies shared that she had seen the poster announcing our ministry and wondered if it was a ''Jesus Rally," so she decided to check it out, even though she hadn't been to a ''Faith Encounter'' for years!
Paula had a DVD put together with four songs and the worship intensified as we went on, with many of the ladies standing in adoration to Jesus, the King!
Paula, Diana and I each shared a bit of our stories of meeting Jesus, the Redeemer. His healing from incest; physical, emotional, verbal abuse in the home; forgiveness of abortion; shame of divorce; alcohol and drug abuse...
Their hearts were open, their tears flowed, the veil was removed. Pain is universal. Jesus is the Healer. Even the guard, who sat a few rows back, completely engaged with us, listening intently.
There was opportunity for them to share as a couple of questions were asked. Their stories are heart wrenching. Their stories are real. Their stories are our stories. One step. Just one step in the wrong direction. Except for the grace of God...
Justina was the last to stand and share...molested at the age of 4, raped at 9, came to view herself as a piece of meat, so why not earn money from it? She became a sex slave, was repeatedly drugged and beaten and became involved in crime. During a robbery, she held a gun to a man's head, when she heard a voice say, "He's My child," so she let him live, but has deep remorse for the fear she put in him. She ended with this: "Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will never enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourselves from the chains on your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For this is what the Lord says: "You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed." Isaiah 52:1-3
Time ran out and we were rushed out of the chapel, for the next group to come in. We were so overwhelmed with emotion and so wanted to hear the rest of their stories. I prayed a blessing over them and hugged each one on the way out. We are hopeful they will keep sharing their stories with each other.
Later, Diana said that I was bold to hug the women. I had forgotten that we were told that we could only shake their hands, not hug them. Justina asked If she could be involved with our ministry when she gets out of prison in two years.
One Step Ministries' vision is: "Changed into the likeness of Jesus as they experience God's Presence, people will be healed and walk in freedom forever."
On Sunday afternoon at Muncy State Correctional Institution, we experienced God's Presence and where He is, there is FREEDOM.