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  • Writer's pictureJeff Willecke

In jail on my anniversary.


The morning of my fifth wedding anniversary was spent in jail. The whole thing started out as a remote opportunity, a friend of a friend of our host pastor here. That lead our leader to go in and speak to about 80 inmates in the jail and recieve an invitation to come back. The next time our team visited, 70 men gave their lives to Jesus. The difficulty has been that with two children it is more difficult to leave everything and join the team in jail... but, when we felt that I was supposed to speak to the group, the rest of our team chose to pitch in and make sure Cheri had help while I was away.

The topic for the morning was God as a father, his character and how our experiences with our earthly father shape not only how we father our own kids but also how we view God as a father. When I asked how many of the men there were fathers themselves, almost all of them raised their hands. Later in small groups, we further discovered that many of the men in the room had parents that had died or abandoned them when they were young, and they were raised by an aunt or uncle instead.

We have one more day with these men before we get to go home. For all of these men, there is no clue as to when they will be released. Some of them have no idea why they are there. They are offered no explanation and no hope. The only hope that they do have now is Jesus, and the challenge to learn more themselves and to then share what they know with the men around them. In more complicated terms, their call is to learn to become disciplemakers of the men around them in prison, and to take that mentality with them wherever they may end up in the future.

Let me reframe that last paragraph, We have no clue when we are going to be going home to our Father in heaven. Many of us are even left wondering in life how ended up in the situations we are in. Sin and a fallen world offer us no explanation and no hope. The only hope we do have is Jesus and the challenge to learn more ourselves and to share what we learn with others. We are called in all situations to be disciplemakers of the people around us and to take that mentality to wherever God takes us in the future.


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