Art and evangelism are the main focuses of this DTS so we like to evangelize in all sorts of different ways. These past two weeks, we evangelized by going to two prisons. We split our team into two groups; one group went to a men and women’s prison and the other group went to the women’s ward of a different prison. Here are the stories Sarah and Amanda have from their experiences at the prisons.
Looking around [the prison], I could see people just like me, imperfect and imprisoned by sin. Maybe I was physically free but spiritually I wasn’t much different, still struggling to fight my flesh. I have been freed through Jesus Christ and, although I still have struggles, I know that I am worthy because of God’s mercy. Going into the prison, I was aware of the fact that the best that I could do for these people was to show them the freedom that is offered through Christ.
One thing that stood out to me was a couple who go to the prison every Sunday to share the gospel with people who are lacking hope and are without Christ. Seeing them interact with the people really touched me. They have relationships with the prisoners and invest in their lives; the passion and enthusiasm they had, sharing with these people, was inspiring.
>What really stuck with me about the ministry this couple had in the prison was this: Working in a depressing and hopeless place is a big challenge but they do it wholeheartedly every time. Being a missionary kid, I have seen many ministries and I know how hard it can be working in the mission field, but to see how God uses them was really a blessing. This is my Hope and Desire: to have the same enthusiasm when encountering God’s lost children because He loves them just as much as He loves me, and He aches for them to find the love He has to offer. In my ministry, I want to show the love of Christ by having the same enthusiasm God has for us when we come to Him because, through us, these people might have their first ever encounter with the real, pure, and true love of God.
My heart dropped as we entered the heavy silver doors, looking at my teammates faces, wondering what was running through their minds. This was my first time behind prison walls and, internally, I slowly felt myself being enveloped with the unknown. The women that we met were different from what I had imagined and my nerves quickly faded. I guess my nerves stemmed from me not knowing what to expect but these women were amazing, they brought their own life to the room. I’m not saying that they all knew God, but the atmosphere changed when they stepped into the room. I believe God was in the midst of us from the beginning and that helped us, as a team, bond with these women.
My portion in this gathering was to share the message and I chose to talk about Love and, more importantly, the Love of the Father. I shared my testimony about how God’s love looks and how it is all around us and very different from the love that we have encountered here on earth. My focus was what the Bible describes as love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-7, through this, I was able to share the differences I had experienced in my own life. The women received this message with open hearts and some even came up to talk to me about their personal struggle with love. I felt that God wanted me to remind these women that true love is not of this world and that His love is unconditional. God wanted these women to hear that he loves better than any person will ever love them and tell them to stop rejecting the Love He has to offer. One lady shared with me that I reminded her of her son and that she felt like her son was talking to her through me. As we were leaving, we got to pray over these wonderful women. This experience humbled me and I will never forget it. Thank you Lord!!
God surprises us on a daily basis, and though we may be afraid or apprehensive when going into new situations, He doesn’t let that get in the way of His greater plan. We have been called to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and that is what we are trying to do. Whether it be through streets shows, treasure hunts, prison ministry, or handing out five thousand bibles in the street, our goal is to reach every tribe, speaking every tongue, of every nation. We want to make God’s name known and we are starting with the people of Lyon.
Much Love from the 2017 YWAM Lyon DTS!