Not often have I attended a conference or meeting that I felt was fruitful and informative and I've sat through dozens in my career.
Saturday was totally different. I attended a wonderfully organized and yet intimately informal gathering of Texas prison ministries put together by the Restorative Justice Ministries Network. Emmett Solomon, Anita Parrish and others brought together a group of dynamic ministries, representatives of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and others interested in the many facets of serving and working with those in prison in Texas.
As a relative newbie in the area of ministry, I heard testimony after testimony of faith and grace spreading through the many men and women serving and being served by the dedicated folks in ministry. As a seasoned non-profit professional, I was impressed with the many folks who took time out of their lives to update us all on regional and state concerns as it affects this unique ministry focus.
I look forward to all the connections and friendships that began on Saturday and I know God is moving in all of our ministries to reach out further and further to those we wish to serve. I could not know, some two plus years ago as I sat at a steel table in F5 of the Williamson County Jail that I would ever have the opportunity to function as a professional woman again. I only know that God has so restored my life and I want to share that same hope with the many women currently in prison or jail.
The warmth and care and love that was expressed to many of us there at the conference, and yes, there were several of us ex-offenders in attendance, was amazing. Yet everyone who took time out of their weekend to gather for a unified purpose I believe was energized and educated.
I am anxious to get started on a new regional conference in the Travis/Williamson County area and will keep everyone updated as things progress. What more could we ask except that God intervene and provide new opportunities for growth and collaboration among His many servants. I am grateful for this chance to expand my knowledge. I am grateful for the challenging work He has provided for me. More than anything I am grateful that while I was still a sinner, He died for me and so I am saved!
And that message is one that needs to be told to our sisters and brothers in white; therefore we gladly give up our Saturdays, Sundays and many days to follow in order to insure that no one goes without at least hearing the truth, His truth, His life saving, eternity impacting truth.
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