Last night at the jail, one of the women turned out to be in some sort of a cult, and things got tense. It started fine; we watched a brief video, then I handed out some papers with Genesis scriptures on it and she started to protest. After I asked her a few questions, she professed to believe in other gods. Next, three of the 4 other women participating stood up to leave. Thankfully, two other volunteer leaders were there and able to calm things down. Another gift was the woman, who we later found out had done this before, volunteered to leave.
The one woman that did not get up to leave was the one that told us she had disrupted another Christian gathering. The volunteers told me later that although they’d had people come and be quiet before, that was their first experience with the study being challenged.
I was very grateful we had a study and although I wasn’t shaken, I felt the weight of my lack of experience serving this way and am even more grateful for the hard work and years the servers have invested. I feel fortunate to be on their team.
After this happened, the experienced leader had us look at what happened as a way to equip us as Christians when challenged. Why was it they all got up to leave when there was only one person that was causing the disruption. How had they so quickly surrendered their control?
It seems flight is understandable, but not necessary in that situation. The fear got the better of the prisoners and myself, and though I didn’t act on it, that hold is one I’m praying He’s break. What stood out to me most from the experience was the reality of the authority I have contrasted to how I felt in the situation.
It might be because of all the groceries putting out the Valentine’s stuff already, but another story surfaced in my mind when I got home and was praying and reflecting on the evening.
Valentine’s Day of 2011 was the only Valentine’s day that I had with my husband. At the time I went in several small stores in the neighborhood, a bookshop, a chocolate shop, a coffee shop, and lastly a pizza shop. I told my husband to invite 3 of his friends, it was a weekday, and I was sending them on a treasure hunt. They were to meet somewhere and then they got their first clue that led them to the bookshop and there was some gift involved with every stop.
At the pizza shop, I’d gotten them all lunch.
At the time I worried it was too over the top. It wasn’t. He loved it. I also thought I was overreacting when I was thinking we might not get that many together and next year would I be able to think of something as cool.
It was such a shock when things went so downhill, but I know in my mind that we can go at anytime. But my heart doesn’t get it.
Another thing that I pray will sink deeper into my heart and spirit is the reality of heaven, a real place, where I will be reunited with him. Similar to the illusion that the deluded woman had something on me, I inwardly feel some kind of chiding for thinking this way, as if its childish or escapist. The opposite is true.
As I pray for this potential safe house and future discipleship, I also pray He would change our hearts, both on the minsitry team and the prisoners, and renew our minds so that we feel what’s closer to how things really are.
Our king is preparing a magnficent place for us, with many varied places to dwell, where we can be with those we love. Although He is not safe, He is infinitely trustworthy and always has our best in His mind. Praise God for His care. Praise God for His authority. Praise God for forever. Amen.