Thursday, October 29, 2009

walking the second mile after spilled soup

With the Regional Justice Center offices in Kent taking preventative steps for a possible flood in the Green River valley, we got all involved in the chaplain's office. Nearly our entire religious services library was packed in boxes and taken to various homes or given away.

Here, Dwight Hawley, who faithfully works with me on Wednesday and Friday nights since 2002, is preparing for a Wednesday night session. The inmate population is now reduced from 1,200 at highest capacity to 525. Many are asking if we will see significant flood damage. We sure could.

I am blessed to meet with Dale, who is deaf and mute, in the medical unit. As you might imagine, this is a new challenge. We are working through a "new beginning" Bible study. We communicate by writing notes to each other.

I have been delighted to witness the transformation of Josh, a young man from our church family. On one afternoon, preparing for a visit with me, he unintentionally bumped into an inmate who was carrying a bowl of soup to his table. The soup was spilled on the floor and the other young man was interested in a conflict with verbal accusations, right in front of a guard.

Josh told me several weeks ago he might have handled it all very differently. He cleaned up the mess on the floor with a third inmate with the other inmate continuing his verbal jousts. Then, Josh purchased the inmate a dinner from a food machine in the unit, at his own expense. The rest of the inmates just watched. My Bible study with him changed to "walking the second mile" and "loving your enemy," from the Sermon on the Mount.

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