Return, Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. Assyria cannot say us; we will not mount warhorses. We will never again sour ‘Our gods’ to what your own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.” “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow. His splendor will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. People will dwell again in his shade; they will flourish like the grain, they will blossom like the vine—Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me.” Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them (New International Version 1984, Hosea 14).
“I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke. Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the LORD my God. I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’ “Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the LORD. “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him. Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here. How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the LORD will cause something new to happen— Israel will embrace her God. ” This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The LORD bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’ Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.” At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet. “The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will greatly increase the human population and the number of animals here in Israel and Judah. In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation. I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it. But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
Jeremiah 31:18-28 New Living Translation
I pray 2017 is a time of change, new open doors, new volunteers and new finances. A season of change that will not only help us to expand but to become what God wills for us. Our ministry involves saving lives of many that have no trust in God. Many inmates have never seen the work of God from any person they have been in relationship with. Many others have been pushed away by the church. It is our passion and the work God has done with us to show a people that would otherwise not know God’s love.
We would like to thank Rodney French and Swadley’s for the wonderful food and fellowship. They are a blessing to Oklahoma Jail & Prison Ministries
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (New American Standard Bible, Proverbs 16:9).
I was first introduced to OJPM while looking through a Combined Federal Campaign brochure and searching for a local ministry to support. After receiving the OJPM newsletters, I contacted the office to see if there were any weekend volunteer opportunities since I was working full time during the week.
There was nothing available at the time. In the meantime, I started going back to school for a Christian counseling degree. Soon after I finished school, the daughter of a friend of mine was in the Cleveland County jail and I was able to visit her on the weekends since I had obtained clergy and professional counseling credentials.
During this time, OJPM sent me information on a training session for volunteers at the Cleveland County jail. I went to the training and heard the chaplain speak about a Sunday ministry team. I then started ministering at the jail on Sundays with the team. While ministering at the jail, I met a lady who was going to prison and planned to visit her in the future while she was at prison.
Life continued to be very active and I kept the idea of visiting her in the back of my mind. I continued ministering at the jail and four months later, Diana Chambers, OJPM administrative assistant, contacted me concerning a volunteer chaplain position at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center on the weekends. I remember being filled with such awe and great joy at the Lord’s perfect way of directing my steps.
I worked on applying for the position and going through the necessary orientation and training sessions over the next several months. In January of 2016, I was officially on board and going to the prison on weekends. There was plenty to learn as a new volunteer and the weekends went by fast. Three months later, I was walking in the prison yard and saw the lady I had met almost a year earlier at the Cleveland County jail.
Once again, I was filled with great awe and a sense of overwhelming joy at the hand of Lord and His faithfulness. “The Lord is not slow about His promises, as some count slowness” (2 Peter 3:9). I could have never planned or conceived of this course of events. I thank the Lord always and will never cease to be in awe as I watch Him continue to perfectly connect us together as fellow saints working alongside one another in His kingdom.