Poem by Marion T McClellan
Roads go north, south, east and west, But the ones we must travel only God knows best.
Traveling through life with much hardache and despair, Treated unjust by those you thought might care.
Man is not perfect and his ways may fall, So, when times get hard give God a call.
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, He’s the One that you need and a very true friend.
Trials and tribulations, yes, they’re along the way, So never lose faith just kneel down and pray.
Boldly we must go to God’s throne of grace, For His grace is sufficient as we run this race.
Truly divine is the journey at hand, Steadfast and unmovable through Christ Jesus we stand.
Different stages of life bring different opportunities and
different ways to serve the Lord. Being a pastor’s wife for 46 years allowed me to be involved in teaching, music, children’s work, visitation and a lot of hospitality. I loved all of these ministries but when my husband retired, I was anxious to see what the Lord might have in store for me and for us, together.
When Randy told me of his interest in working with OJPM my first thought was, is it safe? In college I had worked with prisoners, going into the pods to teach. But that was another day! It was much safer then. My second thought was, counseling is at the bottom of my list when it comes to things I can do. The “unknown” is always intimidating. As I learned more about the ministry and Randy and I prayed about what to do, the Lord gave us peace about getting involved in OJPM.
I don’t have the gift of evangelism but I can tell the women what
Jesus did for me and I can share the gospel. I am not a counselor, but the Word of God speaks for itself. It gives peace, guidance, encouragement and it has power. Most importantly, it shows the way to have a personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. These prisoners are desperate for hope. Without Jesus, there is no hope and there is no change.
I know many more chaplains are needed at the jails. I’m glad I moved out of my comfort zone to minister to these hurting women. I have been so blessed by this ministry. Proverbs 11:30 says, “he who wins souls is wise.” I want to be wise.
It is good to be on board with OJPM. I pastored for forty-two years and retired from the pastorate back in May. Actually I retired/retooled. I am very aware that my ministry calling is for life. Consequently, after moving to the lake and as a result of being a high school classmate and life friend with Tim Gentry our executive chaplain, the idea of being a chaplain began to materialize. The end result is, I started this month as the chaplain for McIntosh County.
As a new chaplain, I have been a bit surprised by the number of requests from the inmates to visit with the chaplain. I am sure this is largely due to the fact that they have been without a chaplain for a couple of months. The purpose of requested visits have been varied and numerous. They have covered everything from spiritual needs to the very temporal and secular as I am sure you’ve also experienced.
However, if there is anything that stands out initially in this ministry endeavor, it has been my sense of some of the inmates feeling a bit of hopelessness and that of being at a dead end. It tugs at my heart. Having a son and a daughter-in-law who are both attorneys, I certainly understand to some extent how the wheels of justice turn and the importance of them doing so. Yet, I struggle with anyone having to feel like there is no hope or that they are at a dead end.
Consequently, this is where you and I experience some fulfillment in this ministry. It is also at this point that we feel like we are doing something for the good of the inmate and something that is Great Commission in nature. As long as there is Jesus and the opportunity to propagate the message of Christ there is never a reason for any inmate to be without hope. Hallelujah!
Chaplain Gary Caldwell