“That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” II Corinthians 12:10, New Living Translation.
This year at Oklahoma Jail & Prison Ministries there have been many changes. We have been working toward the goal of expanding our horizons. We have contacted many interested sheriffs and jail administrators. There have also been changes within our open facilities.
With change there is always doubt. Doubt that the changes are what God is wanting us to do or what changes should be made. As I have been praying throughout the changes that we have been experiencing God has reminded me that when we are at our most uncomfortable point is when He is doing His best work in our lives. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens” Ephesians 6:12, Christian Standard Bible.
I believe 2019 has many great things awaiting everyone that has been a part of the changes of Oklahoma Jail & Prison Ministries. We need to remember that there are seasons in our lives and those times when relationships change as seasons change. Sometimes we grow closer and other times we grow apart. Just as change was made when Jesus changed the heart of Saul; we should continue to pray for each other as a body of Christ. “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” Acts 9:15, King James Version.
Thank you for your continued support and work for this ministry. Looking forward to what God has in store for everyone involved in the coming year. Praying for the lost souls that will be changed, the changes made in the lives of the found souls and their families. Praying everyone enjoys their families this holiday season. “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen” Acts 28:28 English Standard Version.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
“De-vel-op-ment; the process of developing or being developed – growth, maturation, expansion, enlargement, spread, progress” (Merrimack-Webster Dictionary).
While serving the past eight years in volunteer administrative roles with OJPM, it was my heart and pleasure to step into the role of director of development last spring. With OJPM board direction, it was Executive Chaplain Tim Gentry, who coined the phrase in the fall of 2017, “OJPM envisions having passionate, trained volunteers in every county in Oklahoma.” Realizing we had launched three new satellite ministries last fall (Bryan, Lincoln and Logan), it became apparent to our board that more intentional time spent in this area would prove to be very fruitful to the Kingdom and for the future of OJPM.
That being said, this past May I stepped down from our board of directors to work alongside Tim and our board in inviting the 68 counties in Oklahoma that do not have an OJPM affiliation, to consider joining our 28 year-old-ministry.
Having spent the bulk of my 25 years in higher education as athletic development director at both OU and The University of Alabama, this was a natural fit for me. While my experiences were part of a great career, further expanding my spiritual gifts from the Lord through His direction have been the ultimate blessing of my life’s spiritual journey.
Many times, development work is a “patience and progress” process. With time, communication, relationship building and the Lord’s will, there is no doubt OJPM can begin serving many counties around our great state, very similar to the nine counties we are currently serving.
To date, we have made contact and visits with several counties around the state. Please, be in prayer and support of OJPM as we continue communication, and in some instances, finalize contracts with Mayes (Pryor), Ottawa (Miami), Craig (Vinita), McClain (Purcell), Love (Marietta), Grant (Medford), Kay (Newkirk), Nowata (Nowata), Pittsburg (McAlester) and Delaware (Jay) Counties.
Much of this progress begins with each of you reading this newsletter! Each of us have family, friends and peers around the state that we know and admire as believers. We all have brothers and sisters who value leading people to Jesus. We have 68 counties to go; so if you have personal relationships that can open a door in one of our remaining counties, please contact Tim, Diana or myself at OJPM and we can begin the initial contact.
We are all part of something so very special – how good we have it, so let’s share OJPM with others that we know and love across our great state of Oklahoma. “I am sure of this, that HE who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians1:6).
Blessings, Bill Farley
Director of Development
I needed a ministry again. In fact, I craved one. I felt a void in my life. I needed to be a part of something that I was passionate about—something that Christ commanded me to do. At age 19, I volunteered at the juvenile justice center in Pensacola, Florida. It meant everything to me to be with those young girls and to show them the love of Christ when their own parents didn’t care for them.
Fast-forward to age 28, and God had pricked my heart to help female inmates find Christ.
I counseled with my pastor, John Nelson of Vandament Avenue Baptist Church, about my desire to be a part of the women’s jail ministry. He got to work and made some calls and found OJPM. He jotted down the information, and I talked to Jorge Vara, who interviewed me about my salvation, my walk with Christ and my desire to help in this ministry.
God sped things up, and after I finished my video training in the summer, I was off to my first Friday afternoon at the Oklahoma County jail. “Were you nervous?” my mother asked. I wasn’t. Not a bit—and I wasn’t the first time I volunteered at juvie, either. God gives you a peace when you’ve found your passion in his world. It was like I was meant to be there.
Since my time in OJPM, God has allowed me to lead three beautiful women to Christ. Each time, tears swelled in my eyes as I watched these women ask Jesus to come into their hearts. I’ve sat with a girl I knew when she was young and was able to hug her and tell her I loved her. “You remember me?” she had asked. And I did. I prayed with a woman who cried because her parents wouldn’t talk to her—they had disowned her.
God has gone above and beyond in my own life since joining OJPM. He has never been more real to me than right now since ministering to these women. If God is calling you to this ministry, I encourage you to sprint toward it. Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Give your time to those in need. It will change your life as it has mine.
I was raised in church and at the age of 16 I heard the Lord say to me, “Go into the world and feed my sheep.” I knew in my spirit that God wanted me to be a missionary. I had at the time two uncles that were full-time missionaries with their families. I went away to college and the call of the world pulled me away from God. After college I received a job as a computer technician. I got married and bought a house. Life was good, but I knew something was missing. 12 years later, I was divorced, lost my job and my house. Then I was very depressed.
One day as I was driving through the mountains, a thought came across my mind to end it all NOW. As I was going to drive off a cliff, I heard a voice say, “What more could I have done than to send my only Son to die for your sins?” I heard this three times.
Wow, it was God talking to me again! I hit my brakes, stopped the car, jumped out and fell on my knees and asked Jesus to forgive me and come into my heart and life.
I then went back to a good Bible believing church. Within three years I went to Toang with a mission training school. I then went to South East Asia as healthcare missionary for 15 years.
God has a wonderful plan for our lives if we will only listen and obey him.