CJM July and August Newsletter
How am I going to find a job? Who will allow me to rent an apartment from them because I am a felon? How can I get my driver’s licenses back, which were taken because of child support arrears? How will I get to my probation officer? These are some of the questions and obstacles returning citizens have presented to Chaplain Washington in trying to get a new start in life. They have dug themselves into a deep hole and they do not see light at the end of the tunnel. There are some who don’t give success a try because of fear of failing and there are some that do give it a try and because a door was shut in their face once or twice they give up. Some have generational issues such as parents on drugs. Chaplain knows of a situation where an inmate told him when he was living with his mom she stole money out of his wallet and bought drugs with it. When he confronted her, she put him out the house. Another situation the Chaplain is aware of is a father, son and daughter being incarcerated at the detention center at different times. The Chaplain came to know the mother of this family from her frequent visits to the jail and them praying together for her family when she came to see them. This same family, not including the mother, did heroin together. The son eventual died from an overdose and the Chaplain spoke at his memorial. Chaplain knows of a time when there was a son and a mother there at the detention center at the same time and a father and son in the same situation. The change for these individuals is a hard one and it does not come overnight. One must come to the conclusion that if I continue in this vein I am going to keep getting what I am getting. Pride will tell you that you know what you are doing and I don’t need help. Humility will say, I am a fool, and ask “God will you help me?” Proverbs 1:7 reads “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The change first and foremost has to begin in the mind. It must be a renewing of the mind through God’s Word. Chaplain has seen where an inmate was given a job upon his release and given other tools that would have helped him to succeed and within the week he was released, fell right back into his old pattern of life. He knows of another individual who was released in 2013, and while he was there at the Howard County Detention Center (HCDC) he knew he had to make some changes. He told the Chaplain that he cried out to God for help. He constantly asked the Chaplain questions and upon his release, he did not pick up a drug, he did have a short bout with smoking cigarettes, but was able to put them down. He has married a beautiful young lady and is not allowed to live in the apartment with her because he is a convicted felon. Cheryl Rowe (Re-entry Coordinator) has helped to get his criminal record expunged so that he can legally move in with his wife. He has not been able to find a job because he has back problems and all the jobs he has been offered would cause pain to his back. His plans are to go back to school to become an addiction counselor. He is in the struggle. He now comes into HCDC as a Christian Jail Ministry (CJM) volunteer. He has given his testimony several times at the Annual Volunteer Banquet. He has a changed mind. He refuses to turn back. If you know of anyone who may have a job offer for him, that would not be a strain on his back, he would be a great asset to their business. Keep him in your prayers.
Chaplain’s Visit to Community Baptist Church
Chaplain Washington was invited to speak at Community Baptist Church on July 31st by Pastor Frank Hines, the Lead Pastor of Community Baptist in Jessup, MD. Chaplain Washington gets the invite every year from Pastor Hines. Community Baptist has been supporting CJM over 25 years financially and by sending volunteers into the jail to minister to the males and females. Chaplain Washington was able to thank them for their support over the years. The Chaplain was asked to speak on the importance of missions. Jesus talking to His disciples in Matthew 25:35-36 said “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, 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.” Matthew 25:40 reads “The King replied, truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” All of those verses in Matthew 25:35-36 are missions and that is what God has called us to do and if we have had a real encounter with Christ we are going to be on the mission field. There is a mission field right there at HCDC. Thanks Pastor Hines for the invite and all that Community Baptist do for CJM.
It Took a Concerted Effort to Pull an Event Off At St. John Baptist Church
Darren Vilus, a returning citizen who was released from HCDC in January 2016, came to Chaplain Washington with and idea to do something for the youth in the Columbia community that dealt with the social ills of today. Mr.Vilus by the way is doing well since he left HCDC. He is attending a church; he is in college and working. Darren was aware the Chaplain knew two gifted individuals who performed Spoken Word at HCDC on the second Tuesday of every month because while he was an inmate at the center, Michael Watkins and Michele Harris ministered to him and the other men and women. Another important part of the puzzle is officer Paul Coombs. It was officer Paul Coombs, a correctional officer at HCDC that introduced Chaplain Washington to Michael Watkins. If it was not for officer Coombs, the Chaplain would not have met Michael Watkins who in turn introduced him to Michele Harris. So we had the performers for the event and now we needed the venue. Darren Vilus knew the youth pastor Rev. Janelle Bruce, Esq. of St. John Baptist Church and the ok was given to have the event at St. John Baptist Church. It was ideal to have it at St. John because their youth ministry was full of talented young people who could perform Spoken Word. All of this came from a returning citizen from HCDC, isn’t that exciting. Let’s look at the players; you have an ex-inmate, a correctional officer, two volunteers, the Chaplain and St. John Baptist church and their youth ministry. What a perfect mix put together by God. It was a great time. In the first picture below is Chaplain Washington on the left, Mr. Vilus back center, Mr. Watkins far right, and Ms. Harris in the center. Officer Coombs who attended the event is in the second picture below.
The Next Volunteer Orientation Training will be held on October 15th 2016
The next Volunteer Orientation Training will be held on October 15th 2016. If you are interest in joining this awesome ministry or just interested in coming to the training to see what we do, we would love for you to come. The training is from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. If you are interested in joining us. Please send your name, your email address, cell phone number, and the name of the church you attend and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Come see if this ministry is for you. CJM provide English and Spanish Bible studies, Spoken Word ( Christian Poetry), Celebrate Recovery, SHAPE Class for Women, Bible Video for the Women, Spanish and English Worship services, Mentoring (one-on ones), and Literacy Classes. These programs are provided on the inside for the inmates. If you are one who does not want to come into the jail, we also have something for you too. The inmates do a Bible correspondence course and the courses are graded by volunteers outside of the jail. Maybe you could fit in there. We also offered Domestic Violence but the person who volunteered for that left the area. Many of the women who find themselves at the detention center are victims of Domestic Violence. If you or if you know of anyone who would be interested and have knowledge in domestic violence and would like to restart this program, let us know.
Please send contributions to CJM at this address:
Christian Jail Ministry, Inc.
P. O. Box 6037
Columbia, MD 21045-6037
or donate on the Website at http://www.christianjailministry.org/donate