Hello, my name is Jesse West and I am the new site coordinator for Bryan County jail here in Durant, Oklahoma. God has opened this door just like He has so many times in my life, especially in these last five years. When I was praying about God’s will for my life concerning the pastorate here at Westside Baptist, I came across a verse that God used it to speak to me. “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (King James Version, 1 Corinthians 16:9).
Being able to minister to anyone regardless of what side of the bars they are on is a tremendous blessing. Just to think that God would allow people like us to serve Him causes me still to be in awe. We serve a wonderful and amazing God! Since coming here, He has opened the door for me to volunteer at our local hospital as a chaplain, for almost five years.
Through hospital chaplaincy ministry, while visiting with a patient, I was able to meet Sheriff Johnny Christian who at the time was running for election. He expressed a desire to keep in contact once the election was over, not knowing at the time that he wanted to speak with me concerning being their chaplain for the deputies, confinement officers, along with all of the other
God has given the sheriff and me a great working relationship. He is a man of integrity, honesty and respect along with humility. Now God has once again opened this “great door” of jail ministry through the relationship with the sheriff and OJPM. Sheriff Christian is excited about OJPM because of the safety and training policies that are already in place, just to mention a few.
I am excited about what God is going to do here in Bryan County. We have already seen five women and a couple of men make a decision for Christ. Please continue to pray for the ministry here.
“‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (New International Version 1984, Matthew 25:35-40).
I am always glad, when I read this passage, that I am a part of the jail ministry. Bro. Clarence Harmon is a longtime member and soul winner of our church and has been involved in the Oklahoma Jail & Prison Ministries. In 2000 Bro. Harmon called me and asked if I would be willing to be an “as needed volunteer” at the county jail. He said they needed women that were willing to visit with residents that wanted to talk about spiritual matters. I thought “NO!”… but my mouth said, “Yes.” I went to the jail for a tour and seeing the men and women peering out of their cells touched my heart. I saw people that needed hope, deliverance, and that needed to know that God is real and that He loves them just as they are. I think often, what if it was me in jail. I would want someone to share hope with me. My “as needed volunteer” turned into every week for almost 17 years.
As I sat and talked to these women I wanted so badly to see them have what I have. I wanted them to experience salvation, and the peace and blessings of God. I wanted them to get deliverance from self- destruction and bad relationships. I wanted them to be a part of a church family, protected from the lives that led them to jail. I would leave with a heavy burden, wanting to take them home with me and see that they never went back to the old life. Many would tell me they did not want to leave because they were protected and safe from their old life.
I began contemplating opening a safe house for them and prayed about it. God seemed to slap me up-side the face one day and He said to my heart, “Anita, you are not the answer I am, just lead them to me and I will change their life, and deliver them, and be real to them.” It was a huge burdened lifted off my heart. I said, “I can do that! I can point them to Jesus! Jesus you are the answer, not me!” That is what I try to do with each lady I talk to, point them to Jesus.
Hello my name is Tommy Green. I am currently the associate pastor at FBC Caddo.
I was set free from the bondage of sin December 28, 2003 after spending 28 years of my life in drug addiction. I have spent time in jail in Oklahoma and Texas so I know what it is like to be on both sides of the bars. I am looking forward to be the site chaplain at the Bryan County Jail in Durant, Oklahoma.
The testimony I have is not mine but what God has done for me and is still doing today! What a mighty God we serve! The Lord filled me with the Holy Ghost and has entrusted me with the gospel to set the captives free.
I am very humbled to be apart of the OJPM Team. To see souls saved, lives transformed and families reunited the way God intended.
I know that God has opened this door, since I have tried many times over the last few years to go inside to minister but the door was always shut. I thought that it wasn’t meant to be but still felt the need to go inside the walls.
The inmates are people just like us and need Jesus, too. They need
compassionate people that will listen to them and encourage them. To help them understand that we are there for them no matter what.
I know if God can change me he can change anyone. To God be the
To make a change in this evil world we live in we need Kingdom minded men and women spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Matthew 6:33 Seek ye the first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.
In His service,
Chaplain Gina Jansen is the recipient of our June Certificate of Appreciation. Chaplain Jansen has been a volunteer in detention for several years, assistant chaplain since 2012 and on April 20, 2017, became the detention chaplain.
She has been a Christian for twenty-seven years. She is a native of Villahermosa Tabasco, Mexico. Chaplain Jansen met her husband, Jerry, in church and they have been united in their sacred union for twenty-six years. They share a blended family of six children, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Chaplain Jansen is a compassionate and generous person that has been a welcome addition to our detention work family. She is on an enthusiastic mission to boost the morale of the residents and our detention staff.
Chaplain Jansen recently requested a list of staff birthdates and posted it so others could recognize their co-worker’s special day. Chaplain Jansen donated her time and resources to decorate the staff breakrooms and restroom to reflect a home away from home environment with pictures featuring encouraging quotes, flowers, lamps, a microwave and a beverage station in the commons break area.
Chaplain Jansen has been a true inspiration with her warm smile and encouraging words. She recently spent time teaching one of our high-risk behavior juveniles basic Spanish. She has invested her time and resources into the residents by teaching them how to plant seeds, nurture their sprout and wait for the plants to bloom. The analogy being, “Bloom where you are planted!” Chaplain Jansen is a woman of God who shares her faith and love of Christ with her words and her various good deeds.
Thank you, chaplain, for all that you do to make life in detention a better place.