After 4 weeks of being "providentially hindered" by lockdowns and snowstorms, this week I was finally able to teach the inmates in a nearby prison. I'm substituting for a couple of weeks while a faithful brother, who has labored here with the Word for several years, takes a break.
To be brutally honest, I didn't look forward to going. Going to a place where you can expect to be scammed, lied to, and maybe even physically harmed isn't very appealing to me. But my friend deserved a break and I wanted to be able to better pray for him and his ministry. So God strengthened me to ignore my feelings and do the responsible thing.
Next to me in the bedroom-sized chapel was a large whiteboard filled with religious terms translated into Arabic. Besides the Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses are also active in the prison. And then some of the prisoners have appointed themselves as Apostles and Prophets. The true Christians in prison are indeed like sheep without a Shepherd.
Before I began my lecture on the 10 commandments one of the men in attendance informed me that he did not like it when teachers preach against other religions; he said, "it tears down my faith." Since I was teaching on the First Commandment ("You shall have no other gods before me") I didn't expect to please him.
The study turned out fine and we had a good season of prayer afterwards. My feelings towards these men have warmed, too. Next week it won't be as hard to go back.