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Prison Ministry – NZ Women’s Corrections Facility
Feedback on “Having a Real a Relationship with God” - 13/03/08
Many people think there’s little or no hope for those in our prison system. Don Simpson, director of Christian Age Ministries (which has over 15 teams going regularly into various NZ prisons, and is an affiliate of Across Ministries) sends the following report, collected by Precept Ministries. Hopefully this will give reason for people to think again.<>
Note: names have been changed for security reasons.> <>
whole study has been a huge help. It's got me understanding about God
Jesus. I had so much to learn, it was like going to school. I never
pray, but now I pray heaps and have got into Bible reading. I
enjoyed the studies. Before I used to be really loud and pushy, now I'm
quieter and gentler.>
2. It made a lot of difference to my life. A month ago I had to go to court and I had decided I to lie so that I would get a lighter sentence. But a passage from page 21 kept troubling me. It was John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, he is a liar and the father of lies.” In the end I told the truth And it makes such a difference having these others around for support and encouragement. and didn't involve others. I felt so much better afterwards. I've been reading my Bible, but I read the ___ Bible because I don't understand the others. I used to be scared that, if I went to church and Bible studies, everyone would make my life a misery, but in actual fact everyone seems to accept me as I am.
3. I've been a believer since I was 7 years old, but I lost the track, followed my sinful nature, and that landed me in here. For the last 3 months in jail, I've become stronger. I pray and read my Bible night and morning, but I carry Jesus around with me all the time. I've learned to thank the Lord for the hard times and for the grief, because they've made me stronger in Him and warmed my heart. I've appreciated the Bible study because it's taken me back to Him and taught me so much that I didn't understand before. I thought I'd be so angry and rebellious when I was sentenced, but in fact I had a strong sense of God being with me through the court hearing, and I felt quite at peace about the outcome.
4. I didn't really feel the Bible study touched my heart, but I'm keen to go on with more. I do pray every night, and I'm scared of going back to my old way of life, drinking so heavily. Pray for me…
5. The Bible study taught me a lot. Before I knew that Jesus died, but I didn't know why He died. Now I know that He died for my sins and I've put my faith in Him. Before I didn't know what to pray, but now I do. When I tried to read my Bible before, I didn't understand it. Now I do. Before I used to get so angry, now I stop and think, and ask myself why.
6. I enjoyed the Bible study. It brought me back to the Lord, and now I believe that's why He put me in here. I used to be such a control freak, rushing around organising everyone else's life, and my own soul was running dry. When I landed in prison I was mad at God for putting me here and letting me down. I wouldn't pray, and when Tony tried to get me to come to Bible study I pulled the sheet up over my head and said I didn't want a thing to do with anything about God. But Tony pulled the sheet off and wouldn't take no for an answer. The Lord humbled me and brought me back to Himself. Now I'm closer to the other girls here too, and we are having prayer meetings together.
7. I love the Bible study. It's been really great to go over so many things from the Scriptures – sometimes even mind-boggling. I love it, particularly the discussions where we apply it to our own lives. For 8 years I turned my back on Christian things. It's so lovely to be back, to be getting into the Scriptures, and to be having prayer times with the others. We're praying that the gospel will light up the whole prison. I've picked up stuff I hadn't come across for years. It's especially helpful in that I'm losing my sight and am having real difficulty reading the Bible for myself.
8. At first I found the lesson format hard – dotting back and fore from one place to another, but once I got used to that I found them good. It has increased my awareness of what sin is, and what is pleasing to God, and how the Holy Spirit can conquer the enmity in our hearts. There was one week that a lot of us found very difficult – it was Lesson 3 which was all about sin, and very full on. That same week the Alpha lesson was all about sin too, and one of the girls just cracked. I struggle a bit with my relationship with God. It's taking time for it to go from my head to my heart, but I think it's beginning to happen.<>