Retirement or Ministry?
A busy retirement brings about baptisms behind bars.
Have you ever heard a newly-retired person declare, “I’m busier now than I was before I retired”? I have, and after two years of retirement, I can tell you that my wife and I certainly feel busier! In 2008, several years before retirement, my ministry partner and I entered a local correctional center for the first time to minister to broken men in search of truth. Today, we have a volunteer team of 20 ministering in five different prisons. For several years now, I have been a volunteer coordinator for my local Seventh-day Adventist Conference’s prison ministry program, helping to spread awareness of this important mission field. And of course we’ve been running Bibles 4 Prisoners since 2013.
Am I complaining? Absolutely not! God has been so good to me, and all I could possibly ask for is continued strength to share His wonderful love and the promise of Jesus’ soon return with men and women behind bars. If you are retired, consider the possibility of prison ministry in your area. Most of our volunteers initially hesitated to get involved, but after their first prison visit their concerns melted away. We go to bless the inmates, but every visit invigorates us as we see them growing in grace and allowing God to work in their lives.
Two of our inmates, Gabe and Harvey, recently made their commitments to God public in baptism—a rare treat for us. Gabe, an undocumented alien, has been studying for about two years and has been on our baptism list for several months. For various reasons—lockdown, illness, etc.—his baptism had to be rescheduled several times. When his lawyer told him he would be deported or moved to another facility within two weeks, we knew we had to hurry.
On the evening of the baptism, a larger than usual group arrived to witness the occasion—only to find that no baptismal tank had been set up. We discovered that the chaplain, who is responsible for such events, had been hospitalized. Another disappointment for Gabe! We rescheduled Harvey’s baptism for two weeks later, sadly expecting that Gabe would not be there to be baptized with him. But God intervened: On the day of the baptism Gabe had not yet been relocated. You should have seen his smile! Seeing God work for him personally seemed to renew his faith that the Lord will be with him through whatever the future holds.
Harvey also shared a special testimony after his baptism. “When I was at another facility, I felt so lost in my walk with Jesus. I went to church and read the Bible, but I still felt empty. One night I asked God to show me what I should do and He showed me the Ten Commandments. When I came to the fourth commandment, I suddenly realized I wasn’t keeping the Sabbath. Three days later I was transferred to this facility. Very quickly an inmate greeted me and asked me if I wanted to study the Bible with him. I said no, but a little later I said yes and we started studying together. He invited me to come with him to their church service. There I met the volunteers and heard a sermon straight from the Bible. That is when I found the church that keeps the Sabbath. After I went through all the Bible studies, I knew this was the church God wants me to be in. Thank You, Jesus.”
Please pray for these new believers, especially Gabe, that they may stay strong in the Lord and be good witnesses in their mission field behind bars!
Brother Carmouche is a
prison missionary who also provides quality Bibles free of charge to prisoners who ask. Bibles4prisoners@outlook.com
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Pray. Being a real Christian in prison isn’t easy. As a new babe in Christ, Gabe is about to be torn away from the fellowship he is used to and thrust into a new situation where he will not likely find Seventh-day Adventist brethren to nurture him. Pray for him and others like him, that God will supply all their spiritual needs!
Donate for the purchase of Bibles at www.bibles4prisoners.com/donate or mail your check to Johny Carmouche PO Box 972, Locust Grove, VA 22508.