Our great missionaries
OJPM is a hidden pearl that God uses to impact the mission field in our own backyard. Each week our chaplains and volunteers personally share the gospel with and minister to hundreds of inmates in nine county and city jails across Oklahoma. In the midst of despair, shame, addiction, bitterness, hopelessness and just plain sin our people bring truth, love, mercy, hope and the transformative power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Having been commissioned as a missionary and serving in California for 27 years I believe I know what a missionary is and does. Riding my bike last week the Lord impressed on my heart that our chaplains and volunteers are missionaries right here in Oklahoma.
Here are the similarities I see between OJPM volunteers and missionaries:
- They are both obedient to the call of God. It takes courage to say, “I will follow God wherever He leads me!” But courage, emotion and even financial support will only take you so far. It takes a call of God to weather the opposition, discouragement and difficulty of fulfilling the Great Commission
- They both leave their comfort zones. There is no sugar coating the experience of going to a county jail. It is an uncomfortable place! Loud, metal, reinforced doors, cinder block walls and virtually no carpet make our jails a very secure but unwelcoming place
- They both travel to a distant country to share the gospel. This may be another way of saying ‘comfort zone’ but our county jails are distant places that most of the folks in Oklahoma have never visited
- Some countries are open to missionaries and some are not. This is also true of the various counties in Oklahoma. Recently, the door was closed to us to minister in Grady County but the door was opened in Cleveland County. Some of the county jails are flexible with our ministry and some are very strict
- Some countries are hostile and spiritual warfare is great. Greg Frizzell, prayer specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and speaker at our training in March, did a wonderful job of reminding us about the significance of prayer in the spiritual warfare faced each day in our jails
- The far-off country has few freedoms and many limitations. Missionaries usually leave behind family, culture and language. OJPM volunteers leave the freedom of movement, individuality and privacy to go to a place where people actually want to hear the gospel
- Missionaries usually work with few and simple resources. In spite of many generous supporters, funds can be tight and resourcefulness is a common trait among our volunteers. However, the jail security regulations that limit various materials actually help us focus the work on reading and studying the Bible
So, I think you will agree that we have some of the greatest missionaries in the world right here in Oklahoma serving with OJPM. I count it a privilege to serve alongside these servants of God.
If you are reading this article as a friend of OJPM, thank you for your support! I trust this has clarified in your mind how important our ministry is to God’s kingdom. You too are a part of this great missionary endeavor.
If you are reading this article as an OJPM chaplain or volunteer, thank you for following the ‘call of God’ upon your life! You are valuable, you are obedient, you are faithful and you are a Missionary!
Unleashing the captives,