In 2011, I had the opportunity to minister to inmates at FCI Pollock in Louisana. This was not the first time I had visited a men’s prison, and, for the most part, it seemed like all the others. However, at this facility, God a a special assignment for me. Here’s how it happened:
During the morning program, our director, Jim Harris, asked if I would tell the men why I go into prisons. I reluctantly took the microphone and told them that my father had done time in a federal facility and that was why I had a heart for inmates. After my 2 minutes of fame, several of the inmates came up to me and ask what it was like to have a parent that was in prison. What were my feelings towards my dad? Did we have a relationship now? etc, etc. They were very interested in how I dealt with this.
After lunch, the program moved into the chapel. It was then that the Lord put it on my heart to “tell my story.” After getting permission from Jim Harris, I then opened up my heart to these precious, broken men. I explained that at one point, I hated my dad. I thought he had abandoned me and didn’t love me. I told them their children may feel the same way. I also told them never to give up. No one else could be their dad and, deep down, their kids really did love them,even if they said or did otherwise.
When I finished my speech, I was in tears and so were they. Most of them had kids and could relate on some level to what I had to say. Afterwards, I had several approach me to say I gave them hope. Some had given up on having a relationship with their kids and now they were willing to try again.
It was difficult to reveal this painful part of my life, but I knew they needed to hear it. I know it was God ordained because I would NEVER had done that on my own. I praise the Lord for the hope he gave these men through my story. It was an awesome time of ministry. Most of the guys took the “What went Wrong” CEF brochure and promised to sent it to their children. For some, it would be the first step in reconciling that relationship. Praise God!