Today was a long day filled with ministering to people. From 8-9am, the "Isle of Dreams" ministered our weekly service at the St. Louis Avenue Nursing home near downtown St. Louis. After that service, we drove to North County to attend and sing at Jubilee Worship Center. Michael presented the message and it was a great service.
I arrived home to eat lunch and spend about 2 hours with Lisa and then I was off again. Once again, the "Isle of Dreams" cast met up and caravaned down to Bonne Terre, Missouri to minister at the East Regional Correctional Facility - an all male prison facility. This was my first time in a prison other than the local jail and it was very impressive. The amount of security and checks that you have to pass through just to visit with the inmates is quite daunting. We gathered at their designated Chapel area, which is a room in their Recreation building.
There was a huge turnout of 108 men - the largest Chapel gathering to date we have been told. The service started with the Praise band (comprised of inmates) leading worship for about 25 minutes. It was an awesome experience to stand in a room with strangers and particpate in worshipping our God together. It was a sweet sound lifted to God despite the surroundings. We then sang a few songs, interspersed with testimonies. Michael started with his testimony, then we sang "Listen to the Rain". Ruth then shared her story and sang "Rocky Road". Rolanda then spoke of how God is keeping her alive in spite of having AIDS and then she sang "If You Had Been Here". Michael then asked me to speak (which I did) and then I sang "Everybody is God's Child". We closed out the service with "Revelation" and "He Shall Reign".
Afterwards the men came forward to greet us and talk to us. It gave us an opportunity to individually share our love with them and to encourage them to keep following hard after Christ. The men seemed to be genuinely thankful that we had come and I know that we were truly thankful to have had the opportunity to be there with them.
It's wonderful how God allows us to not only minister to people in tough places, but also how He uses the people in tough places to minister to us...