Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Trip to the Pen

Last weekend I did a mission trip to Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, LA.
The first reaction I got for every one about my trip is "Are you scared?"
My answer was always NO!
I felt like it was something that I had been called for and was excited. 
I really did not know what to expect when I got there. 
All I knew the program was for the inmates and their children. 
(So I guess there was a little anxiety in not knowing.)
I have been on mission trips before and was expecting blessings.
I was not expecting to be moved in the ways I was. 
I felt love, compassion, sorrow, and pain. 

I spent the day with 1 family that included:
1 father and 5 children--3 girls and 2 boys. 
They ranged from 17 to 7 and I was their mommy for a day.
(I love that they named me that.)
And that is exactly what I did. 
I chance kids, held hands, wiped tears, hugged, fed mouths, 
made sure everyone got to do what they wanted, and all get loved on by dad. 
(Kudos to all you moms out there.)
I felt like I had known them forever. 
We had a blast. 

Not only was it fun but it was a blessing. 
I was reminded that each inmate is a child of God. 
When God sees each man that is what he sees...not the crime. 
For that day I saw the men too. 
The program was a Christian program, 
but I didn't have much time to talk about God. 
(Kind of hard to take away the attention of their daddy on this one day a year.)
Even though I left that family physically,
they have been with me each since. 
I can't stop thinking about the family....the dad. 
I know that what he did was wrong and devastating. 
But he is human. Just like me. 
He was born into the same sinful world I was. 
He makes bad decisions just like I do. 
He has consequences like I do too. 
God loves us both in spite of what we have done. 
And in God's eyes his sin is no worse than mine. 
God wants us with Him equally. 

I know that not every one will share my thoughts on prisoners. 
I am not here to argue with anyone. 
I am just sharing my experience. 
I felt the presence of God that day on the prison grounds. 
I also felt God's pain. 
He doesn't want His children to sin, 
but He also doesn't want us to hate or judge each other. 
I am blessed that for that day my heart broke like God's. 

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