Our morning started early with a great breakfast and plenty of coffee! We are just past the half-way mark of the trip and coffee is definitely a requirement when your day is to begin at 6:15AM. We had about an hour and half drive to Boksburg Correctional Facility, a men’s juvenile detention center. We pulled into the facility at about 9AM, with only our passports and the word of God hidden in our hearts. We couldn’t take anything else in with us. We were scheduled to meet with a group of about 150 young men ranging in age from 17-21 years old. A few volunteers from Acts Church and Scarlet Thread, a prison ministry Acts partners with, were with us as well. One of these was Trevor Sampson, a well-known Christian musician. He was allowed to take his music equipment in and opened our meeting with several praise and worship songs. Before that, however, the men wanted to entertain us! They started with one who recited an inspiring poem, titled “Second Chances”. Then 2 different groups performed traditional Zulu dances. They were powerful, larger than life and so fun to watch! Our ministry time started with Brian sharing his testimony of how 1 bad decision eventually led to one terrible thing after another happening, and even though at the time he didn’t think it would lead to such destruction, he eventually lost everything. But several years later, 1 good decision to accept Jesus as his Savior eventually led to one amazing thing after another happening and God has completely restored everything and more that he lost! He shared with the men that at any time they could stop, decide to put the past behind them and make that 1 good decision to follow Jesus to get their life on the right track. Chuck followed up with a powerful message on forgiveness, how we must release those who have hurt us in order to be free for God to work in our lives. Alison ended the time of sharing with an anointed and scripture filled word from God that offered the young men the opportunity to turn their lives over to Jesus. At the end, almost every single man in the room accepted Christ into their hearts! It was truly a powerful moment to witness change in their eyes as they said yes to Christ!
Our break time in the afternoon was a bit longer today, which we all used in different ways. Some of our team worked to organize the remaining gifts and supplies that we will take with us at the ministry events we have for the rest of the week. Some of us worked on updating this blog! Some of us took advantage of the time study the word, look over their messages for later in the week, spend quiet time with God and some simply rested. It was a nice afternoon to slow down for a bit!
After another yummy dinner at Acts Church, we headed to Divine Worship Center, a church in the nearby township of Rabie Ridge. This church meets in a permanent tent structure and we visited them the last time our team was here. We were excited for them as we pulled into the gravel parking lot to see a permanent building being constructed! Steel beams were up and the foundation was being prepared! God is expanding their tent-stakes and territory! We began with energetic worship and a welcome from the Pastor. Cindy shared her personal testimony of a challenging time in her marriage that God used to reveal to her that she was putting her husband in the place of worship that God should have been in her heart. God used that time to prune away those things that were not of Him in her marriage and now her marriage is strong and is centered on Jesus! Ashley performed lovely worship dance to the song “What a Beautiful Name”, by Hillsong.
Today we saw people in physical captivity and spiritual captivity. And for both the answer is still the same, Jesus. It doesn’t matter if you are behind prison walls, held captive by fear or sickness or even held captive by a demonic spirit; it doesn’t matter if you are in South Africa or in the United States – the answer is still the same, Jesus.
Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! (John 8:36)