Photo by Jeff Rogers Photography
I am a chaplain in a state prison. I cannot give names or places per policy. However, I can speak anonymously about what God is doing at my institution through the COVID-19 pandemic. As I told a pastor friend, the Lord has multiplied my ministry through this crisis. Now staff and inmates are gathering in the chapel every morning at 10 a.m. for prayer. This is something that has never happened! Normally staff would never come to the chapel for prayer. Nevertheless, they have been faithful to pray alongside the inmates. Numerous staff have contacted me about anxiety and depression issues. I have been able to openly and compassionately proclaim Christ as King over this entire situation. Also, once a week I send out a short devotional encouragement email to over 500 staff members in two different institutions. Scripture is included and Jesus is exalted in these emails. Again, this is generally not allowed. However, the staff want and desperately need hope, joy and peace that God’s Word brings, so these emails are accepted with thanksgiving.
Our inmate population also seems to be looking to me as chaplain more during these challenging times. The inmates also have received global JPay messages from me. JPay is an electronic machine in the inmate dorms. The inmates send and receive messages from friends, family and others through JPay. As a section supervisor, I also have a JPay account, which allows me to send messages to a single inmate or the entire population. One inmate stopped me recently to ask why I have not sent more messages. Those inmates who come to the chapel seem to be more dedicated and sincere after this crisis.