Why do you want me to do this, Father,” I asked Him. “I am a good person. Why do you want me to pray and share Your Word with these bad people?” Over the next few days, I prayed nonstop.
Heading into the prison for the first time, I was terrified, and honestly I cannot remember the first Bible study I conducted. What I do remember is coming home and falling to my knees to have a serious talk with the Lord. The Lord directed me to Romans 3:23 NKJV, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” thus reminding me that I am not better than any of His children.
I became interested in prison ministries 22 years ago when Frank Barton, Florida Conference chaplain and director of prison ministries, and his wife, Maxine, who is the assistant director, came to Tallahassee to speak and hold a prison ministries training session. I was extremely interested and began to inquire about what the requirements were for me to take part in the ministry.
As I began the orientation, I felt afraid and nervous, but I decided to push through. I reached out to Frank to discuss my apprehension, and he assured me that as long as I allowed the Lord to lead me, I would enjoy doing His work. During my journey, Frank has always taken the time to call and encourage me to continue God’s work, and to follow the plan He has for my life.
God has blessed me over the last 22 years by allowing me to show His love to the inmates, workers, and the chaplain of the prison. It was, however, a surprise to find myself honored at a celebration for all the volunteers. I was sitting there enjoying the program and listening to them talk about one of the volunteers, and highlight all the many things she had accomplished. Suddenly, they called my name and announced that I had been chosen as the 2019 Volunteer of the Year, and presented me with a plaque. I cannot say anything but, “Praise be to God.”
In closing, I would like to say may God continue to bless my assistant, Errol Samuel, my son, and my church family for their constant support.
Florida | November 2019