From time to time, when I’m talking with someone about my ministry in Wisconsin’s prisons, they say something like, “It must be difficult to share Jesus with people in prison.” Perhaps they say that because they think that most people in prison are not even slightly interested in reading God’s Word, coming to a Bible study, meeting with a pastor, or changing their sinful lifestyle.
I saw a familiar face in Bible class today, someone that I hoped to see again – just not here! Marcus had attended my Bible class every week for over two years, right up to the time he was released (almost 18 months ago). When I left class last week, one of “my guys” told me that he was back “inside” (apparently for a parole violation), and I was hoping he would join my class again.
While jail and hospital ministry have many similarities, the two have seldom crossed over. Once in a while, I have seen an inmate in the hospital, but until last month, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of my former jail class attendees in the hospital. Those worlds collided in March, when I received a message from a hospital chaplain colleague.
I had some conversations recently with some law enforcement officers about drug and alcohol abuse and recovery. I’m used to talking about this with people on the other end of the law enforcement spectrum — people who are locked up in a corrections facility or who have been released and hope to stay out.