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Listen while you read: "Jesus I Come"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 25:37-40 – Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?" And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." (NKJV)
One of the life-changing opportunities that I have had on mission trips to Nicaragua is to visit some of the prisons there. Going there each time has had a profound effect on me spiritually and emotionally. We go with a local pastor who visits and cares for these men and women, and many of them have found Christ and are now Christians. This pastor is a man of God with such a heart for Jesus, and he just shines. He is not a rich man, and in fact, sometimes, he can hardly afford the gas to drive there. He is supported by a small church in rural Ontario, Canada.
The inmates' families have to supply their loved ones with toilet paper and some of the food each day, so on our visits, we brought bottles of soda pop, bananas, and toilet paper for everyone. At the first prison that we went to, I stayed out and organized into little bags the pop and supplies that we had brought, while others ministered and prayed with some of the men and women. Then as a whole group, we went down the ramp into the darker area of the jail. There is a hierarchy of order in the cells, so we were told to give the supplies to each cell boss, and he or she would reach out, take the bags, and give them to their cell mates.
The prison was very overcrowded with 25 to 30 men in one cell but only four to six beds. The beds had springs but no mattresses. There were five cells in that jail, and one of the cells was for the women. They sleep on the dirty floors, and if they are lucky, a piece of cardboard. If the prison allows it, we can and do bring the milk bag mats for them to sleep on. In that jail, there was no exercise yard. Some of the men are tattooed, and there is a smell of human sweat and other odours in the air. We received catcalls and were obviously a form of entertainment in their dreary existence. We smiled at them and went around to each cell handing out the supplies.
When we were done handing out the gifts that we had brought, before we departed, we got together as a group of women and started to sing God's praises to the men and women in that place. Almost instantly, the noise stopped, and we could all feel the presence of God as we sang in harmony and in a round the words, Father, Jesus, Spirit, I adore You, Lay my life before You, How I love You.
Simple words, but oh! so powerful. The Holy Spirit was with us, protecting us and guiding us. As we sang praises to our King, a holy hush fell on that dirty jail. Into that dark jail, we brought more of God's light. It was already there, but it shone brighter that day because we had visited.
Is God calling you to step out of your comfort zone and go into the darkness?
Prayer: Father, our hearts are full of tears for the brokenness in us all and for our need of Jesus, our Lord and our Saviour. We give thanks for those who witness to prisoners and bring them the good news of our hope in Jesus Christ. May more of us answer Your call to mission, which leads us into places where You are needing us to go. Amen.
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Thank you for sharing this moving devotional. Blessings.
A touching and challenging devotion, Liz. Thanks for sharing.
What an inspiring devotional! Thank you so much for sharing and may God continue to bless this mission.
One would have to be really committed to do that prison visit.
Hard to believe why anyone would commit a crime in Nicaragua.
Good morning Liz,
I like your testimony “The Holy Hush”.
Thanks so much Liz, your words took me right back to that day when we visited and the song we sang still gives me goosebumps!
Many continued blessings throughout the coming year.
Your service is touching and a great blessing to many. However pop is junk food and a waste of money. Better to give a package of milk powder and a disinfectant for water, if the water there is not pure.
Praise the Lord my dear friend! Wow what an amazing ministry you go on. May our Lord continue to bless you and that ministry. Amen!
Wondering how I may support or even go on the next mission trip to Nicaragua? Thanks.
DEAR LIZ SAMIS,
Thank you for your report,
I am impressed with the need and how you are working to aleviate it in the name of Jesus Christ.
I pray for the minister and those in jail.
Thank you for your timely message today. I don’t always get to read each daily devotion, but God seems to lead me to those that have special meaning for me.
I am part of a small church in rural Ontario, and I never cease to be amazed at what God can do in and through us, no matter our size. The church that supports the pastor in Nicaragua will no doubt be able to read Matt. 25: 37-40 with new understanding, and I pray they will continue to ‘be’ church in many ways outside their walls.
May 2017 be a year of blessing you and yours, including your church family, and may you continue to share your faith with the world.
Great work! God’s work!
Many years ago, I visited Nicaragua to build a school with fellow church members. A very moving experience. I can imagine how awful the prisons must have been!
My husband and I are involved in prison ministry. I have seen a bit but my husband has seen much better the effect of Christians reaching out and ministering to those incarcerated.
It is such a blessing, especially when you have seen men grow in Christ.
I can’t imagine how much of a blessing it is to go to a prison in Nicaragua. The needs are great but the blessings are greater, I’m sure.
May you be greatly blessed.
May God bless you for reminding me this verse that reminds us to take care of the needy amongst us.