Let me take you into prison for a minute to witness 84 women this weekend being baptized... As they were entering the waters they were scared, nervous and many were crying. I will never forget as I held their back and saw their faces go under the water. Each woman, with dreadful pasts, had just announced to everyone "Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior!" The prison would erupt in cheers and shouting from the onlookers. Each woman burying their past sins into the depths of the water. This is what I will always remember, when they were lifted up, the water rushed over their faces and I could literally see a new woman emerge. They were released, forgiven of their past and full of JOY!
One woman commented afterwards, she has been depressed for so long... she hasn't felt real joy until she rose up out of the baptism waters. I am humbled I got to baptize each one with my ministry partner on the other side. What a honor to witness women cross over from... what should I say...? Darkness, death, hell, fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth... to everlasting life in Jesus Christ. Starting today, free indeed!
At the conclusion of the service, I reminded them in Matthew 3 when Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened up and a voice from heaven said; This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased... "Ladies, I believe...the heavens are opening up today... God has placed his Holy Spirit in you and he is saying; This is my daughter, whom I love, with her I am well pleased..."
There was instant silence and a stillness at the image of their heavenly Father loving them just the way they are...in prison.
Afterwards what a celebration! They were singing with the band, dancing and shouting for joy like nothing I had ever seen before... Imagine, the generations to come that will be impacted by their decision to follow Christ.
Will you please remember to pray for them? That Jesus Christ would become everything to them inside and out of prison. And that we, as a community, will give them a second chance in Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
~ Shug Bury