As Scott Minter shared, we continued to experience once in a lifetime event...every day.
We couldn't have anything as big as being locked down in the conference. Yes, we did. Greg would call this the most frustrating prison service in 30 international missions trips for him.
With the activity filled up to 1500, we enjoyed participating with PFC missionaries Joshua Gowda from the Dehli region, and Arthur Cocker from this region along with his wife Janice and their adopted daughter Hannah. Arthur shared we were the first foreign missionaries to provide a service at this facility.
Small group of inmates settled in
A music group led in worship and experienced trouble with their sound equipment which caused some of the inmates to stir.
One group of inmates came in at the very beginning and remained really attentive the entire service. That was not the case for most of the rest.
|Preaching from Luke 15|
The disruptions built up. The church group of young adults provided a very powerful Jesus Skit choreographed to music and tried to add more worship only to have more sound equipment problems.
We could smell and noticed several men smoking marijuana without correction by attending officers. Some inmates began leaving the service and the noise level ramped up. Scott shared a testimony.
Before my part of the service, Janice took the micophone and tried to quiet the inmates with limited results. The officers took no action. I spoke from Christ's parable in Luke 15:1-7 about the Good Shepherd and the lost sheep. Jesus seeks, saves, and rejoices over broken people.
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
|The Good Shepherd saves|
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
~Luke 15:1-7 ESV
The inmates were already almost out of control again halfway through my message. I started praying in earnest and constantly while preaching.
Inmates kept getting louder
The behaviors and noise built up to another level. Don made several solid attempts to continue preaching and Janice intervened a second time both to no avail.
More inmates continued to leave the room, the noise level remained dangerously high, and the officers took no action. While still praying, it was clear something very harmful could have occurred.
Now, we were praying together in small groups.
We kept praying
Don finally gave up and joined us praying. Greg calmly took a seat on the main floor. There were still a flow of men drifting out of the service. While Greg remained in his seat, we continued praying.
Lost sheep saved
Finally, the men who came in at first, maybe 500, remained and quieted. Greg gave an impassioned call for inmates to receive Jesus as Savior. Approximately 250 responded as Greg prayed and we laid hands on the heads of as many inmates as possible.
Just another first time even every day on this global encounter--250 out of 1500 responded to the glory of God.
As the men were praying with us, part of the team passed out Hindu language Gideon Bibles. We participated in handing out 35 boxes of miscellaneous fruit.
The next day, we boarded a plane for Chennai.