Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Testimony...

Letters For The Lord Prison Ministry, officially started back in the 70s, when I was just a teen.  The Lord gave me
a passion for prisoners even back then. Had a few cousins who served time, and I would write them, that started the correspondance to prisoners nationwide, as the Lord would connect me with more inmates who needed connection. The Lord gave me the name of the ministry, Letters FOR The Lord Prison Ministry, because it is for Him that I do it. It is His ministry. Fast forward many years, and the correspondence has grown to HUGE amounts, the demand for connection is high for prisoners, lonely for outside contact with real people. I now seek volunteers to assist with the letter ministry, it is too much for one person, and it is nation wide.
The second part of the prison ministry is my volunteer/ mentoring work , going inside a women's prison each week to uplift, strengthen, and encourage the women in Christ. 
16 years ago the Lord started compelling me to GO...motivation at the time was a relative got wrongly convicted, and as a family we would visit her weekly, and I would sit in the visitation room and see all the other women getting family visits, but Christ would talk to me,, about all the other women, at times up to 1200 of them, who never get a visit. He would ask me,,WHAT ABOUT THEM? And I would answer,, what about them?, He began talking to me about them every time I step foot beyond the gates. He kept me up at night, talking about them. Gave me a huge passion for prison ministry, and a compassionate heart for every one of those women who come and go through those gates. I am compelled to go, I must go to them. Christ gave me the command to go and has not changed His mind.
16 years and the passion is stronger than ever, I love those women, they have my heart. Each one has changed my life in huge ways. What an impact that have on me. When I first went through those gates I knew I was 'home', I knew I belonged there with these women, I can't explain it where others can understand completely, but I was born for this. It is my purpose, my calling, my life. Christ knew when He started calling me into prison ministry that many lives would be changed, starting with mine. 
He has given me so much favor over the years and I have had many opportunities to assist these women, connectiing to other ministries that serve there also, to come along side them and minister together, to support each other. As well has serving 2 years on the Warden's Citizen's Advisory Board, the first volunteer who ever had that chance. So many highlights, supervised their beauty shop for 3 months, worked in the chapel, assisted the former volunteer coordinator with administrative duties, advocated at the state capitol for legislation that improves the system. A big highlight was back in 2000, Mike Barber Prison Ministry came to our prison, and God did a miracle, and allowed 400 of the inmates and volunteers to do a JERICHO MARCH around the whole prison!!! That is unheard of for a maximum security prison, but God,,, the Barber team marched with us and filmed it for TBN and it was aired worldwide to the glory of God!!! We claimed every step we took around that prison for Christ, that the facility would become a lighthouse for Jesus... amazing !.. since then the devil has fought hard, as he hates to see Christ at work, but we have a very strong body of believers at the prison, a good core group who pray daily for lives to be changed. I know we did not march for nothing... Christ has a plan and purpose for every woman who enters those grounds, and His purpose will be fullfilled. I am just amazed that He allows me to be a small part of His work there. 
I pray all of you find the purpose you were born for and get going for Christ.
Linda Odell

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