God showed up at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (California) the weekend of April 30.
According to one of Prison Fellowship collaborators who attended, “this was the best event they have ever done at a state institution ever!”
“The purpose of the event was to bring value to the men. Let them know they are still valuable, even though society has rejected them, God still gives them value through His grace,” explains Prison Fellowship Field Director Lloyd Lessard.
As the event began, prisoners rushed from their dorms and into the gym where more than 50 volunteers and speakers had gathered to bring them a weekend filled with inspiring messages, Christian rap, skateboarding, arm wrestling competitions, and an opportunity to be known.
Meanwhile, Lessard observed that the warden went out of her way to welcome the team from Prison Fellowship.
“She introduced herself to every volunteer, prayed with us, ate with us, sat with us. This was a blessing by God, not normally expressed by wardens,” he said.
One of the speakers presented the attendees with a choice. He explained that as Jesus hung on the cross, there was a criminal on either side of him, one who mocked Him, and one who embraced Him. Which are you? he asked them.
Many of those in attendance looked like they were fighting back tears, Lessard said.
In response, an estimated 200 prisoners committed their lives to Christ, and about 1,000 more rededicated their lives to Him.
Lessard concludes: “The tears, the laughter, the hugs, the laying on hands, the soreness we all felt, the tiredness, the joy, the hunger, the fulfillment, the cold, the heat, the acceptance of Jesus Christ by the inmates, was all for His glory!”