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This past weekend, I had the privilege of spending 29 hours in the Stringfellow Prison south of Houston, TX. The 15 inmates and their wives were such a treat to serve. One special couple, Anthony & Aleatha, seemed to really connect with the message and volunteers.
On Saturday we had a little free time so we offered a song for the couples to dance to. Our pianist/vocalist sang out Unchained Melody with heart and passion. All the couples had a great dance.
Later in our small group time Anthony & Arleatha shared that this was their First Dance.
They had been married for several years and this was the first time they had been able to dance together. I was honored to have been a part.
I’ve often shared in prison that while I don’t know what it’s like to be incarcerated, I do know what it’s like to be guilty. Sin and legal violations can cause us to loose rights and privileges. These losses can often times remind us of our failures. Our “prison bars” keep our bad decisions and short comings ever in our face.
In our society, and many others around the world, this is part of the punitive purpose of prison. In the society of mankind however we are given opportunities to value others through grace. The grace of a First Dance. A simple dance to remind men and women that they are more than the sum of their sins.
I thank God for the privilege to serve. I thank God for all my First Dances.
and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5 WEB)
I spent yesterday afternoon and evening in prison … literally. Our WVIW team began the Marriage Seminar at the Stringfellow Unit just south of Houston, TX. We have 15 inmate couples and about a dozen team members enjoying the HOPE that the Holy Spirit brings.
Patti Suhre told her testimony as did Greg Alvis. Betty (mom) lead worship and sang a power solo. Even one of the inmates sang an outstanding song of “finding blessings in the thorns."
Then Johnny (dad) preached; or rather shared a few stories of men who after being incarcerated, experienced the life-changing power of Jesus, and lead remarkable lives. HOPE.
HOPE. That became the theme of the evening.