This month we enjoyed offering encouragement and training to a wide variety of ministries, from Jim Shannon (CEO of the worldwide mission sending agency - E3Partners), to Dennis Gant (Director of an exciting re-entry home in South Dallas), to Roger Nebergall (retired missionary now doing jail ministry near San Antonio). We also discovered a church in suburban Washington DC who is successfully engaging the diaspora in their community. They offer a great potential as an example for churches across America.
But the big highlight this month was our trip to Chicago for the Correctional Ministries Summit. We presented two seminars and hosted a table for this yearly gathering. Each year we feel more closely aligned with this community of ministries, dedicated to all the aspects of incarceration ministry.
It has become a reunion of sorts, re-connecting with people we know from all over the country. Because of the seeds we planted during our years at World Impact, we are now enjoying fruit of our labor. In addition, our voice is being welcomed as a messenger of a new paradigm: connecting world mission to incarceration ministry. The lights are going on: “If I can train a prisoner for ministry while incarcerated, she can be a missionary in the prison system; If I can help a former prisoner make the adjustment from prison culture to civilian culture, he can be cross-cultural evangelist to reach the diaspora who have come to my city.”
We heard one especially heart-warming story from one of our formerly incarcerated friends. He went through our Onesimus Workshop, and found our explanation of prison culture so helpful, he decided he would sit down and watch it with his dad. Now this man has been out of prison for several years, and his father is involved in prison ministry, so these were two sophisticated viewers.
After watching the four sessions, the father said, “Now I understand why you acted in certain ways! I didn’t know where that behavior was coming from, but now I get it.” So we are encouraged that the Onesimus Workshop is having a significant effect for prisoners and their families.
It’s been an exciting month, and we can’t for what June holds as we finish our first year of Completion Global.