I was invited by one of my co-workers Hannah to volunteer with a Ministry called “Reaching Hearts Women’s Outreach.” The ministry travels to prisons and presents the Gospel to thousands of Women each year. When Hannah asked me if I wanted to volunteer with the team to help, I was a little uneasy at first…mainly because I had never been to a prison before. I told her I would think about it…well if any of you know Hannah…she wasn’t going to let me off easy. She kept following up with me to see if I had made my decision yet. She gave plenty of notice…and I kept trying to think of a reason not to go (you know you’ve done this before…haha) one day she asked again…and I couldn’t say no.
It was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had serving other people.
When we pulled up to the prison, my mind started racing…”What’s this going to feel like? What if something bad happens? I don’t know if I can do this.” I had to leave my cell phone off in the car and couldn’t bring any personal items inside. It was myself, 8 other volunteers and Jesus at this point. We had to go through security and multiple giant sized metal doors that were built like a strong infrastructure. Think about the beginning of a haunted house and you don’t know what’s coming next. We got inside and set everything up for the service. Sound check was done and we prayed as a group before the service that Jesus would be perfectly clear in our presentation and that Women would come to know him. It was time for the service to start…a bell rang and all the women started filing into the gym.
Allan Matthews (Hannah’s Dad) opened up with a warm welcome and at this point all of my worries went away. I can’t even put into words how it felt to see over 150 women’s faces in a prison gym. They are people just like you and I…yes they’re in prison for choices that they’ve made, but what makes you and I any better than them? We’re all sinners in need of a savior. The service was filled of dancing…yes I said dancing. If you’re a Baptist, I think you need to experience dancing for Jesus. David danced…so why not you? It was filled of laughter, smiling, and crying. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit was there.
This is what the church is for…outreach like this. Sharing the Gospel with people without fear. Brenda Matthews the founder of Reaching Hearts (Hannah’s Mom) went to be with the Lord last April in 2013. Hannah and Mr. Allan have continued to keep the ministry going and reaching out to women…I know it has been and continues to be a blessing to many people. I urge you to find a way to serve others.
You can find Reaching Hearts Women’s Outreach on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reaching-Hearts-Womens-Outreach/231339243574102