CJM September 2016 Newsletter
The Desires of a Volunteer’s Heart
Psalm 37:4 reads “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Chaplain Washington remembers hearing that scripture when he first gave his life to Christ and having a selfish interpretation of it. He said at that time in his life he was unemployed, dealing with the guilt of his past and not knowing what the future held for him. He said he wanted so much from Christ and not recognizing what Christ had already given him. First and foremost salvation, then the changing of his thought pattern, God was giving him a renewed mind and he gave him an intelligent and productive wife who could hold down the fort until the Lord was ready to give him employment. God really does know what He is doing with us. So the Chaplain said that all of his desires were self-centered and he came to know that if you are a good steward with the gifts God has given and you recognize that all good things come from Him, He gives you the ability to work hard so that you can obtain a good living. Then as the Chaplain matured, God’s desires became his desires. The Chaplain believes that every volunteer that comes into the Howard County Detention Center (HCDC) who preaches, does one on ones, does Bible studies, bring in Celebrate Recovery or Spoken Word, works with those who are illiterate, those who correct the Bible courses and those that sit on the CJM’s board, their desire is God’s desires and anyone who comes through HCDC and attends the services and the CJM programs should be equipped to face the challenges of life with Christ guiding them. The Chaplain and the volunteers believe and convey to the inmates that wherever the inmate goes whether it is home or to another facility to do time, they can still have a bright future with Christ. The Chaplain has seen the volunteers pour into the lives of the inmates and have seen positive results. There are so many examples of inmates leaving HCDC and their eyes have been open to the things of Christ. It is not uncommon for the Chaplain to get a text from a former male or female inmate saying they love him and the volunteers for the changes that were made in their lives while they were at HCDC. In the picture on the right are Teresa Danylko and Jocelyn Whitfield. Ms. Danylko a former inmate at HCDC, who is on the left was visiting Ms. Whitfield’s transitional home interviewing to see if she qualifies to be a resident there. Ms. Whitfield’s transitional home would give Ms. Danylko structure, she would be challenged and the house would give her a better atmosphere to live in. Ms. Whitfield is a CJM board member and a volunteer from Bridgeway Community Church. In another situation, a former inmate released from HCDC in 2013 now comes into the jail to volunteer to give his testimony. This gives the current inmates hope. The Chaplain is always being stopped in public by former inmates declaring that their stay at HCDC was the best thing to happen to them. Yes the Chaplain’s and the volunteer’s desire is the same as God’s and that is none should perish and that they should enter into this life that God has for them, to be good parents, to become productive citizens, to become Kingdom builders.
There Is Still Work to Be Done
Chaplain Washington knows that yes there are great stories of individuals that come through HCDC whose lives have made complete turnarounds by the power of God through Jesus Christ. But then there are some that don’t make it. According to a health department report, the number of deaths related to heroin and prescription painkiller overdoses has more than doubled. Chaplain Washington is familiar with several inmates who have come into HCDC and attended the CJM services and have gone home and overdosed on drugs. The Chaplain would like to share of one who left the jail in July and died of an overdose on September 21, 2016. She posted these words on her Facebook page weeks before her death. These are her words “Drug addicts by far have been the most interesting, kindest and smartest people I’ve come to realize. We get a bad name but we all start out as good people with dreams and a lot of times inspiring, yet sometimes overwhelming aspirations for our lives. We dream big and then we become lost at some point, usually when at some type of crossroad and we fail to make the right decision and that failure is so powerfully painful we subconsciously (due to our disease of addiction) self destruct trying to numb this loud, screeching, echoing pain and emptiness that totally consumes us. By the time we realize it we have punished ourselves sometimes to the point of no return (at least that’s what we tell ourselves). We are in despair and in so much pain (and we not only feel our own deep pains within but a lot of times, we take on the pains of others. We can be some of the most empathic people you will ever meet-for ourselves and for others. Then eventually some of us summon the strength to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps even if for only one day at a time. Please try not to judge us and try to understand how hard this battle is that we fight from within on a daily basis. The disease NEVER goes away-we keep trying, learning how to treat our disease like a diabetic does daily. Please know that when we relapse (which is almost always a part of our journey to recovery and sobriety) it’s not because we are weak it’s we are so incredibly sick, ill beyond comprehension. If you’re going to judge us be patient with us first before you give up on us, wait for the miracle to happen and watch the most beautiful transformation take place when God graces us once more with the strength and hope to fight against the illness we suffer from. Please keep in mind just all that it takes for us and just how truly hard it is to get back up and try again, and again and again never giving up hope that remission from the disease of addiction is possible even though (and I promise you this) is one of the most toughest things we will ever do. Please be patient with your loved ones who still maybe in active addiction they are suffering, learn not to enable them but to be a healthy support system for them and please educate yourself on our disease, just as you would if we were instead diagnosed with terminal cancer and most importantly keep them in prayer. Don’t give up!” This was written August 4, 2016. Then on August 21, 2016 she wrote “Thank you to my wonderful friends and family who have supported me through my journey. I know I’ve put you all thru hell of your own and for that I truly apologize. Also, thank you for reminding me while I was still in active addiction battling to get it for letting know I wasn’t that person inside that I truly started to believe that I was. All of you told me over and over I was in there and you still saw the real me in my spurts of being clean and relapsing even when I just couldn’t find myself or see me as you all did. I do love each and every one of you.” These were her words. It seems as though she was writing her obituary. Please keep her family in your prayers. Also we want to keep Joy Hope-Minzie in your prayer she is a CJM volunteer who mentored this young lady. This is the second inmate who Joy mentored who died for a heroin overdose. Thank God for the volunteers.
Next Volunteer Orientation Training will be held on January 14, 2016.
The next Volunteer Orientation Training will be held on Saturday January 14, 2017 from 9 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. If you or if you know of anyone who may interest in attending send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org there will be more information in the October, 2016 CJM newsletter.
Chaplain Washington’s Visit to the Farm Heritage Days Festival on September 25, 2016
On September 25, 2016 Chaplain Washington was invited to speak at the Howard County Farm Heritage Days Festival by John and Virginia Frank. This is an annual event and in the past Guy Nichols and Dr. Dale Pace both former CJM Chaplains spoke at the event. Last year Dr. Pace spoke and he asked Chaplain Washington would he be willing to speak this year and Chaplain Washington said yes. He preached about unity in the body of Christ. He preached about the importance of the body of Christ coming together to deal with the societal issues that are gripping our communities. It is not the Police Commissioner, the Mayor, the County Executer, the Governor or the next President that will cure the societal woes. It is the church and we must come together, we must come out of our comfort zones, we must come out of the four walls of the church. It was a good time. God Bless.
Launching CJM Out Into the Community
To all members and friends of the CJM community. We are working to use social media to better serve you, make communication easier, bring awareness of the ministry and plight of inmates to a larger audience and also introduce the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to more people. To this end we have started a facebook page. To start with we will start posting the newsletter on our website as well as the Facebook page. Here is how you can help Please click on the link below to like our facebook page and then share with you friends on facebook as well. God willing those friends will also share with their friends. https://www.facebook.com/christianjailministry/
Thank you for your continued support of CJM. 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