I am here in Laredo visiting my parents who are the pastors for New Vision Community Church (NVCC). A few of the women at the church are involved in a women’s prison ministry in Nuevo Laredo, a town in Mexico right across the border from Laredo, TX. They go there every Saturday morning to share the gospel and to comfort and bring a little joy to a dark and somber place. I am currently not able to cross the border (didn’t bring my passport), but my girls and I were still able to take part in this very important prison ministry.
Letters From Prisoners that Needed Responses
My father asked me if I would help respond to letters some of these women had written. I volunteered to do six and in my typical father fashion, he gave me eleven. As I opened each letter and peeked into each woman’s soul, my heart ached for them. These were all women that had come to accept Jesus Christ in prison. They had experienced liberty in repenting, but they were still bound by their circumstances. They will have to finish their time served before they could be free from their jail cell.
Each woman had a different story to tell. Some just needed to vent, others desperately asked for prayers so that they could return to their families, their children. One insisted she was innocent, others admitted that they were guilty and asked God for help in becoming better people. While being on the outside, it is easy to look at these women and judge. Only God knows if they are truly repentant, but I am convinced that the abuse, the loneliness, the rejection, the extreme poverty many of these women endured played a significant role in propelling them to their current situation.
Prisoners are God’s People Too
Regardless of our feelings about why these women are there, Jesus has instructed us Christians to minister to those in prison (Matthew 25) and I was thankful to be part of it. These are women, that in many ways, have been forgotten by society and even by the church. I have to admit that at first it felt a little overwhelming, especially since I had already committed myself to helping in other ways and I don’t like writing letters by hand. But after reading each of the women’s letter, I felt compelled to respond. And since being here is suppose to help teach our entire family the importance of service, I asked my ten-year-old and five-year-old to help me. I had them color scripture cards to accompany my letters.
The letters and cards were done and we turned them in. A few days later, the woman in charge of the prison ministry thanked me and told me what an amazing blessing it had been to the women. They were overjoyed to have received letters and were able to take them back to their cells. I have to admit that I felt a little guilty that I first saw this important task as just another chore, but I am glad that I followed through with it. I do hope and pray that with God’s help, I was able to write the words that would help them in their spiritual journey.
Little Acts of Kindness Can Make a Big Difference
The important lesson here was that you don’t always have to do something big to make a difference. Sometimes a little note to someone that needs it can make a world of difference to that person. I want to encourage you, the reader, what can you do today to make someone’s life a little brighter?
I may have a chance to write a few more letters with the remaining weeks I have in Laredo and after I leave, I will go back to PA and continue doing the things that I do. However, there will be two women here in Laredo that will make their way across the border every Saturday to minister to new and old souls. And my father will diligently respond to letters as they come in. I am thankful for their service and their example of Christ’s love.
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