Our AGM and celebration held on Saturday the 17th October took a very unexpected turn this year.
As per the past few years, we have celebrated what God has been doing inside and out, of Queensland prisons, and once more we were encouraged to have a former prisoner share his testimony with us, about his new life in Christ.
Robert, very plainly told the 100 or so members and supporters in attendance about his life of addiction and crime. Like many, his story included a history of being abused from a young age, which very much set his path in life.
He then told us about what had not worked for him. Years of imprisonment. Attempts at completing programs, rehabilitation and multiple tries at starting again, all of which made the next time more hopeless. What had changed after 17 years of jail? His simple answer: Jesus.
Later in our celebration, Greg Christensen presented our chaplains to those supporters present as a way of saying thanks. Thanks for who you’ve supported – these people.
Spontaneously, without anyone knowing, Robert jumped to his feet and said – no mate! Thank you! He came to the front of the hall and individually shook every chaplain’s hand saying “on behalf of every prisoner in Queensland, thank you.”
I know that was incredibly meaningful to all our chaplains, as it was to all who were present.
To me, it epitomized who we are and what we are about.
This Christmas nearly 7300 prisoners are in Queensland jails. They won’t be able to go home on Christmas day to see their family. They aren’t able to come and say thanks for your prayers, your encouragement, your investing in our chaplaincy and mentoring programs.
They are inside.
Like Robert, I want to say thank you. Thank you on behalf of every prisoner in Queensland. For if it wasn’t for chaplains like ours, I wonder what hope, if any, they would have this Christmas.
This Christmas, please consider supporting Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy, so that we can reach many more men and women like Robert, who desperately need the life changing message of Jesus, and the connection into a new community; one of faith.
Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy