Thankful for four years of partnership in the gospel
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (New International 1984, Philippians 1:3-6).
November 2014 started a new adventure for me as I began my duties as executive chaplain, Oklahoma Jail & Prison Ministries (OJPM).
Four years later, I thank my God for His grace upon my life and for the opportunity to partner in the gospel with you!
Here is a little review. Joe Williams and I knew each other, but were not close until we had a divine appointment at Chick-fil-A. He had been with OJPM for years and was serving as interim executive chaplain. He knew that I was looking for a new place of service and he asked me to pray about joining OJPM.
Once the OJPM board of directors approved me Joe gave me a quick orientation and then let it be known that he was ready to retire again. He quickly passed me off to Bill Farley who had just become president of the board. I am forever grateful for Joe’s discernment and wisdom and for allowing God to use him to match me up with OJPM.
Bill Farley and I have become great friends through our close working relationship, kindred hearts for reaching inmates across this state and a shared love of sports. Bill’s creativity and encouragement keep me focused on the Lord and His open doors for OJPM.
Diana Cummins, OJPM office manager, was just two months ahead of me on the rookie list when I came on board. Diana shines brightest when she is sharing the Lord with inmates, encouraging family members looking for hope through a loved one’s crisis and sorting out the financial support that sustains this ministry. Diana handles the hidden details that free me up to be the ‘face’ of OJPM.
Jorge Vara has served as chaplain at Oklahoma County jail for 29 years. No one has more experience and expertise in chaplaincy than Jorge. Jorge led me in a road trip to each of our counties in the first few months of my ministry and showed me the lay-of-the-land with each of the jails and site chaplains. Jorge is always a wealth of knowledge that keeps our chaplains’ and volunteers’ iron sharpened.
The first thing that was apparent with Chaplain Gina Jansen was her love for Jesus and how she allowed His Holy Spirit to shine through her countenance and attitude. Gina’s regular contacts with me are usually about what she has already done or is about to do to serve the inmates and share Christ with them. Her focus on the inmates is always a reminder to me of what our ministry is all about.
Just a note about last month’s article. I had several people inquire about the items I mentioned in it with regard to the spiritual warfare we were facing. We still are walking through a tough time with a couple of our chaplains and you can keep praying for their spiritual growth. However, things look much better in the county where we were facing a possible closed door and the donor in question has confirmed that we are in its 2019 budget.
Thank you for your prayers and thank you for allowing me to partner with you in this impactful ministry. What we do in the Spirit will be brought to completion by the Lord!
Unleashing the captives,