Through the years, one of the things that has impressed me most has been the depth of commitment I see in those serving with Prison Fellowship. It is breathtaking to see the lengths followers of Christ will go to serve Him. We got a fresh reminder of this recently in Spokane.
Jimmy is a volunteer on the Spokane Community Reentry Team. He has a strong desire to serve Christ, and as a former prisoner he knows well the importance of having a solid ministry to come alongside Christian prisoners returning to the community.
Jimmy is actually just getting on his feet himself. He has not found a regular job yet, as his liver is failing and he is on supplementary security income. He can no longer do manual labor. Consequently, his finances are very tight. He lives in a rural area and has had to move several times. He has no transportation of his own, so he must walk, take public transportation, or hitchhike to his destinations.
When Jimmy contacted us to become a Prison Fellowship volunteer, he learned of our online volunteer training. He was thrilled to take it. But because he did not own a computer, he walked six and a half miles to the Spokane County Library. When he found out there was a computer usage limit of 90 minutes, Jimmy made the five-mile trek to the Spokane City Library to finish the training.
Jimmy repeated this process until he completed the training and became a certified Prison Fellowship volunteer.
When asked about his long walks, Jimmy recalls that he was frustrated by the fact that he couldn’t hitch a ride. His feet hurt, and he was thirsty. Yet he remembers thinking about how God was opening an opportunity for him to serve his Lord.
“He was providing the opportunity. My job was to get ‘er done!’ I had to exert the physical effort to make it happen. Whatever the cost … Christ died for me; can I not endure a little discomfort and stress for Him?” says Jimmy.
Is it any wonder God uses men and women like Jimmy so mightily?
Mark Hubbell is a Prison Fellowship area director for the Northwest region.