by Dale Russell
We are called to hope for a better life for those around you. We are called to believe in people
when no one else will. For some of us that means going directly to those that might seem unapproachable. Like prison.
A simple test might determine how far you have gone. Matthew 25:34-36
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began.
(Yes, I like that description. Surely I measure up….)
I was hungry and you gave me food to eat.
(Yep, gave that Big Mac to the homeless guy. He seemed happy.)
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink.
(2009 gave $50 to Ugandan water project. Proud moment.)
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
(Last month gave a ride to a stranded soccer mom who’s old van had quit. Those 3 sweaty kids left grass clippings in the back seat.)
I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear.
(Yep, large bags of old clothes for Goodwill – and a tax receipt! )
I was sick and you took care of me.
(Brought dinner to _____ – twice AND noted it on Facebook)
I was in prison and you visited me.”
(Hmmm…., no response?)
Oops, what do I do with that one?
If I demonstrate a quick answer on most counts, why haven’t I completed this one? If you notice, others can’t do these things for you. How do I complete Matthew 25?
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,
for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
The hope that’s been freely given to you was not meant to be solely contained within you. You have a testimony of God’s love that has the power to transform lives. Many of those lives are in prison. They need to hear that from YOU.
Goal #1 – Go beyond my comfort zone and search out an opportunity to go behind prison walls.
No one is hopeless, but prison culture tends to fight against hope. God is calling you to love others enough to share with them the reality of His love in both word and deed that they discover HOPE. You would be amazed at the impact your make by just being a visitor in their surroundings. If you go with us and just observe – nothing else, you will be forever changed. Your comfort lines suddenly expand to surprising bounds.
Goal #2 – Find out how I can be an active part of Visions of Hope.
Exemplify the hope God offers and watch as lives are transformed behind those walls.
Right now there are seven simple actions you can take.
1. Get on board with a prison visit. This changes everything you thought you knew about inmates. What awaits will amaze you.
2. Become a matching donor to those inmates who sponsor Otino Waa for $5/ mo.
Investing in lives = inmate, orphan and even YOU.
- Donate to art supplies for our inmate artists to continue to create HOPE. Yep, really.
- Purchase inmate art. (100% goes to Otino Waa)
- Write a letter. Yep, really. Your encouraging words will be read in front of any prison gathering we lead. No, better yet – YOU read it!
- Donate to General Funding. Very boring, but essential for day to day operations. NOTE: There are no paid positions at VOH. Everyone is volunteer to maximize your funds.
- Help with a committee or event. Your actions = encouragement and great use of your talents. Let’s say that one more time – YOUR talents are vital.
Goal #3 Praise God for your success in completing Matthew 25!
“In the same way, let your light shine before others,
so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
You and I are meant to help someone else – even those that seem a bit scary. If the only people that could engage in ministry had to be perfect, Christianity would have died long ago.
You are equipped to help right now, exactly as you are.