I’ve been to lots of prisons, but this past week was a first: I saw the hula being doing behind bars!
I had the privilege of going to Saguaro Correctional Facility to visit inmates who are from Hawaii, but are doing their time in Arizona. I was there with dozens of volunteers who flew from Oahu – on their own dime – to share the Gospel with the inmates at Saguaro and disciple the men in the faith-based dorm there. In addition to ministering to the Hawaiian prisoners in their own culture and language, they brought 1,700 Christmas presents – enough for each inmate at the prison!
As I watched the volunteers share the Gospel in a culturally relevant way with many inmates on the yard, I thought of how Jesus came to human culture, communicated in our language, and walked where we walk. The hardest of men felt the expression of grace, and even though it was cold and rainy, they stayed, singing, laughing, and clapping during all the presentations. Eventually dozens raised their hands to say “yes” to following Jesus.
After the closing song, we formed a human hallway for the men to walk through, so that everyone would shake their hands and say goodbye. I was the last guy in line before the door. I had a chance to hug each man and tell him I would be praying for him. Many were holding back tears. All were grateful.
As you gather with loved ones this holiday season, I ask you to join me in remembering and praying for those who are far from home, longing for grace. And know that I am grateful for you and every step you take to bring restoration to prisoners and their families.