Greetings Friends & Family,
It’s hard to believe it’s been over a month since I’ve moved to Indiana, and started in the ministry at the Rockville Correctional Facility. There has been so much happening in this short time: hard and good blessings, and I’m grateful God is faithful through it all.
I’m becoming more adjusted to the Rockville facility as I’m interacting and counseling the ladies, and beginning to establish relationships with the staff and guards. When I first started it was still so intimidating, but now I see the prison as just another mission field that has it’s challenges and joys. Every time I walk into the facility and go through security I’m reminded where I am and humbled God has given me this opportunity.
I’m beginning to establish a routine and jumping into the rthymn of what goes on in the facility. My days fill up quickly and there is never a dull moment. Currently I have a nice balance of one-on-one counseling, being present in meetings and PLUS groups; attending the Divine Hope Bible study on Friday night. I see someone for an one hour session and usually able to meet with 3-4 ladies a day since I have work around the facility’s schedule. In May I will begin teaching “How People Change” weekly for the PLUS (Purposeful Living Units Service) ladies. I have never taught this material, but I’m very excited to teach this course from CCEF. The core of PLUS is to help women change and be purposeful in their walk of faith, and this course will really help the ladies dig deep inside and encourage one another. Today Chaplain Deakins asked how much responsibility I would like to take on in the facility… Oh boy! It sounds like I will be able to keep busy! The other facilities where Divine Hope serves in are blessed to have many opportunities, and it’s neat to see God unfolding this in women’s prison too.
I’m officially part of the Rockville Correctional Facility team
While I’m not in the facility I’m still busy as I’m part of the Anema family, and I have projects outside the prison. The task I’m focusing on the most is a devotional for Anchor Ministries for the month of February 2019. When I first agreed to it I was under the impression the ladies in Rockville would be writing some of the reflections. After speaking with the editor, Kathy Daane, I was informed she would like me to write the entire devotional. June 15 is my deadline which is sooner than I first thought. This is a top priority! The theme I have decided to focus on for the devotional is Forgiveness. It is such a crucial part of the ladies lives in Rockville, but also for every Christian as we are all called to forgive, show mercy, and love even when it’s hard. This devotional is distributed widely across the nation, and in other countires which is really neat. I count it a humbling honour to have this opportunity. I’ve been doing study of some key words in the Hebrew and Greek for the devotional which is very stretching. Pastor Anema is very knowledgeable in Hebrew and Greek, and I always appreciate his insights.
Here some prayers requests from the Divine Hope Bible study:
-prayers for children’s spiritual and physical health
-praying that guardianship of her kids goes to her mom
-prayers for Chaplain Hayes
-prayers that they will become virtuous women
-prayers for all the children that they be kept from negative social issues that are around them
I’m excited to share Erin Hiemstra and Jessica Bout plan to travel to Indiana this weekend. I’ll meet them for supper in Rockville tomorrow night (D.V) and they’ve been approved to come with me to the Friday night Bible study. It will be encouraging to have familiar faces from back home and share in their fellowship this weekend. Please pray God keeps them safe on the roads, and bless our weekend together and with the Anema family back in DeMotte. Anyone is welcome to visit the Rockville facility anytime!
God has stretched me not only in the prison ministry, but also personally as my family have been praying and providing care for my Grandpa who suffered a severe stroke. I was blessed to spend more time in Illinios with my family recently and help support my Grandma & Grandpa. It was difficult to see Grandpa after his stroke and face the reality of his condition, but I’m learning to trust God’s sovereignty in it, and know there is a greater purpose behind all of this. I’ve been so thankful to spend time with family, and know God is using this to deepen relationships. We’re thankful Grandpa is with us! We would appreciate your continued prayers as it is a long journey, but we always have hope.
The words from Isaiah 40:28-31 have especially encouraged me:
“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
I am comforted to know God is always present to hear my prayers, and I cling to the promises He gives through faith in Jesus Christ. May you also be assured of His promises, and hold onto Him no matter what you are facing.
Please pray God will give me the strength, wisdom, and perseverance to faithfully fulfill my tasks in the prison, but also the projects – especially writing the devotional. Also that I would know how to wisely balance my time between ministry, relationships, and rest.