Another Epiphany Ministries weekend is complete and 28 more young men at the Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino have been blessed with an out-pouring of God's love. And about the same number of Epiphany team members have, too!
It was a wonderful weekend, May 15-17. Jon Burk and I were part of the ministry team that went into Stark YCF for three days, spending all day each day sharing the love of God with young men who had been locked up in prison for, in some cases, several years. And for many of them, this was the first time anyone had shown any real love to them!
We lavished them with food, snacks, small gifts and, most importantly, attention. We listened to their stories. And we shared the Gospel with them. Over the course of the weekend, God melted their hardened hearts and released them for hope and faith.
Not all of them will hold on to their newly enlivened faith; but most will. And their chances for leaving prison and establishing lives of hope and productivity are greatly enhanced. We will visit them monthly as an Epiphany team, sharing some more shacks and goodies and talking about how Jesus can make all the difference in their, and our, lives.
I personally sat and listened as several wards (they are not called prisoners) revealed to me that they intended to walk the "straight and narrow" after they are released, to find a church home, and to reach their goals of finding gainful employment and meaningful relationships. I hope our church will be courageous enough to welcome a former ward into our church family should they show up some Sunday!
If you would like to make an eternal difference in a troubled young man's life, consider getting involved in the next Epiphany weekend in November. Jon or I can set you up with the right people! It really is a significant mission of love.