Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Recap: Jail, Family, Food & Games

Happy Tuesday, Friend! I am so glad you found your way here today! Last week was Thanksgiving and it was unlike any Thanksgiving I have ever experienced. We started the day at the Genessee County Jail. Our church was given the super rare & awesome opportunity to make all 700 inmates a Thanksgiving meal and share The Gospel with them.

A little background on me. I love jail, and jail ministry. I have no idea why. Maybe because when I was in middle school my youth group went to the Juvenile Detention Center and did dramas, sang, and presented the gospel and I saw how impactful it was. I am not sure where it stemmed from. It goes beyond jail ministry I have watched every single jail documentary Netflix has to offer. I have watched specials on prison, jail, death row. I sob when I watch Scared Straight. I have no idea why I like jail BUT I DO!

So when this opportunity came up for the church to get to on Thanksgiving I was SO pumped. I basically counted down the days! So - ok - Thanksgiving.

Our church had dropped off a homemade Thanksgiving dinner for all 700 inmates the night before. On Thanksgiving we got the jail and we split up into 3 groups, one group per floor. Our group went to the top floor. We were in the cell block with the inmates, not in a visiting area. They opened all the doors to the cells and if they wanted to come out they could just wander on down and listen. I knew this, and even knowing this I got SO nervous right before we went into the block. Every scene from Prison Break and those documentaries flooded my mind. There was nothing in-between me and them. dun dun dun.

I took a deep breath and they let us in. The tables were filled with men, most of them had come out of their cells. Some had Bibles, some looked like they could not care any less that we were there. The jail's chaplain announced who we were and that we had brought them homemade food and, literally, the whole place erupted in applause. Next my husband lead them in some hymns. Some men lifted their hands, some men gave blank stares, some men stood up in respect. 

At this point I could barely keep the tears from rolling down my checks, I did, but barely. Something came over me. I just began to be so moved and these men probably think that no one cares about them, that they are not deserving of love or attention. Thinking that God could not possibly love them or forgive them. And yet here we are telling them, showing them: "Hey God still loves you, even if..." "God sees you, He knows you, and He has already paid the price for you" 

I don't know man - it just really hit me. Like, these are the least of these. The people Jesus hung out with. 

Then Nick gave a message on Zacchaeus from Luke 19 how he was a sinner just like everyone in that room, but he didn't miss the opportunity to know Jesus. This was their opportunity to turn to God and He would forgive them, and that God loved them despite what they did. 

At the end people who wanted any sort of prayer raised their hand and Nick prayed for everyone. Then we lined up and we shook each one of their hands. Some people didn't look us in the eye, some people seemed geniunely shocked that we came on Thanksgiving, some just said "God Bless you for coming!" or "THANK YOU for coming to see us" Beautiful
This was the group that went into the jail and were the hands and feet of Jesus to the inmates, and the officers who work there.  And - Philip's guitar front and center.

Then we went down to my cousin's house for family Thanksgiving! I love my family. We all sat around and watched the Lion's victory over Chicago. Ate some amazing food and way too much dessert. The rest of the night we played games and took turns holding my nephew. As I was looking through all of my pictures I realized every single one of them had Tommy in it. My brother and sisterinlaw prefer him not to be on social media so essentially I don't have any pictures of Thanksgiving. Except for this one when I was testing the lighting. That's my brother, his brother in law, his dad, my cousin Liz and my Sister in law's mom. Men- watching TV Women- looking at the baby! ha!

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you see Family? Friends? Have you ever done Jail Ministry? 


  1. I cannot tell you how much I loved this post. I'll have to send you a separate email about it because I don't want to blast it all around blogosphere about it. If your church were closer I'd be beelining it to head there right this second. This touches me really...okay off to email you now haha

  2. YES! i loved reading more about what you did there. from matthew 25:

    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    ..40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    so glad i know you <3

  3. Got your email! Thanks for sharing!! :) xoxo

  4. I completely forgot about that verse! Maybe that's why I love prison so much! I got all teary eyed when I read that! So glad I know you!

  5. "The people Jesus hung out with." YES!!! YES!!!!!!!

  6. That is a great Thanksgiving. I love the jail ministry too.

  7. Absolutely love that y'all did that. I can't imagine how amazing it felt to sing and worship together with inmates. I would have been bawling like a baby too!

  8. Yeah haha I really don't think I can do youth ministry. I am not cut out for that. But that is what makes everyone in the Body of Christ so important - we all have different gifts!

  9. There is. Our pastor went to one in LA and he preached. He mentioned something about murder and an inmate realized God could love a murder. God could love some like Him. That is so amazing about our Lord and His word. His voices speaks to all. His voice and His word saves the hardest heart. His word is what brings a sinner to their knees in repentance.

  10. Wow! How amazing is this! I love your passion for it! What a sweet way to spend your day!

  11. "These are the least of these. The people Jesus hung out with." Oh my goodness girl, this is so good!!! I've never participated in a jail ministry, but I do try to volunteer with my church when we minister to the homeless. I always get really emotional because when you look at their faces you can see the hopelesness. You see that they don't think anyone really cares about them and that they have no real purpose in life and it always breaks my heart. The lonely and the broken, that's who Jesus spent His time with and loved on the most!

  12. Thank you Caroline! it was honestly amazing!

  13. Thank you, Sarah!! :) Amen and Amen! The forgotten people - or so they think - God sees each one. It is such an honor to be able to be the hands and feet of Jesus to them!

  14. Amen!!!!!!! God died for all. even murderers! What awesome God we serve!

  15. Hello again fellow Michigander - Thank you so much for sharing this amazing post on the Great Blog Train:
    Great job!


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