Monday, March 29, 2010

proclaiming freedom to captives...

Syncopated voices vibrated in the sterile room of the third level of the Los Angeles Women's Jail. It was one of those feelings we all have felt: What did I get myself into?! Shaved heads, tattoos climbing up necks and onto soft feminine faces displaying 'hoods they were from. Loud voices taunting and jesting with each other confused me in the way you would feel on foreign soil; you know what their saying but you can't understand the words.

I clutched my bible and inmates yelled through walls or shouted through windows, Pray for me! My name is Channel and I'm up for parole soon! And, Hey you! My baby's daddy is in court tomorrow. Would you remember to say a prayer for him? I had no clue what I'd gotten myself into.

In my naivete I assumed this would be another speaking event with willing women's heart open to hear the gospel. I didn't expect to be fearful. I didn't expect to be afraid. I didn't expect to pray in the solitude of my mind feverishly for the right words to say. But the fears washed away as a simple guitar lead us into a time of worship.

Brown, black, white. Straight, lesbian, confused. Searchers, seekers, finders.
In one room we sang off beat and out of key to songs I will never forget. The words sung out by the lips of the women gathered in ward 304 dripped with sincerity. Lyrics, sung out with every fiber of their being, meant something more than mere words. It was one of the most moving times of worship I've ever experienced.

I swallowed the lump in my throat as I walked towards the microphone. After getting comfortable with each other, we laughed together, learned together, and felt like a rowdy, motley crew of girls who needed some Jesus up in our lives.

Before leaving I had the privilege of praying with a dear sister who was sentenced to death row that very day. It was in that moment I realized she represented so many women who, though have freedom in the outside world, are prisoners to themselves.

As we go about our day, remember those who are living in an emotional, psychological, or physical prison and give them the One who proclaimed, The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of our Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn... (Isaiah 61:1-2)

22 comments:

christy said...

All I can say is WOW....thank you for loving them....for loving us...i've been in my own emotional prison before and it's not fun...and yes sometimes there are days where i feel like i'm not completely free, but thank God He's there and gets me thru it...

Jessy said...

That's so awesome! I have always wanted the opportunity to go lead worship and minister in a women's prison! they are so overlooked and unloved somethimes!

Bianca said...

@Christy: Thanks for the love and support!

@Jessy: If you're in the LA area, I'm going to be going back at some point soon. If you're interested, shoot me an email and a sound clip of your worship! I'd LOVE it :)

Diandra Ann said...

Um... can I just GO? And PRAY? seriously. Amazing. I LOVE that you did this. So proud of you!

Cindy A. said...

Wow! I'd love to get involved with a women's prison ministry. Let me know when you're headed there next too! There is so much need all over the world sometime we forget those in our own backyard.

amyeneal said...

total goosebumps reading this... thinking on what you said that even people who aren't in prison are still prisoners to themselves and praying for those that are close to me that deal with this!

Bianca said...

@Cindy and @Diandra: I would love for you to come. More info to follow.

@Amy: I know! She told me that and I was BLOWN away.

4 of Us said...

Wonderful post..love that last paragraph especially. So many out there who are in bondage and don't even realize it.

JclovesJC said...

I have been praying about getting involved with this ministry. After reading this my heart is being stirred again.Thanks B

Kate Noelle said...

That's it. You're going on my bookmarks bar. Bianca... I love reading what you write. I love that you thrive off of situations that throw you outside your comfort zone. You're so encouraging in the way you live your life and share about it on the web. :) Transparency is rare in people... and I appreciate yours more than you know! :)

Brianna said...

gave me goosebumps.

Faith, Food and Fitness For Real said...

Thanks for sharing.. As I read this I can almost picture it in my mind. I would also one day love to go pray with these ladies. keeping them prayer that these ladies would surrender to the Lord who will wash them clean. May they have hope in our Lord despite a unclean past like most of us.

Dawn said...

Absolutely. Beautiful.

jacquelinefigueroa said...

My friend!! So proud of you!! That's some amazing stuff you're doing:)xoxo

Colleen said...

Wow, you go sister. I work with adolescent girls in a group home. Most of them are on probation, and I'm praying that God gets ahold of their hearts now before they end up there! So glad though that someone is reaching out to the prison community.

thetrippychick said...

Well done, Bianca!! I have every faith our Father is saying the same thing :) Prison Ministry is such an amazing opportunity. Your experience was much more rugged than mine (and in LA of all places! WOW!) - I used to volunteer to lead worship with federal inmates, and it was so awesome to see God move in such a scary place.

God bless you, lady. You spur us on - and I am so grateful!

Kenzie said...

Bianca, i love your posts! i am so thankful that you wrote this! i think that we always tend to forget this part of our mission field. I love the picture you painted of all of these broken people, of all colors, & all backgrounds coming together to worship our God. What a beautiful insight of what heaven will look like! i appreciate your blog so much :) it gets me so excited that we get to all share in Gods plans!

Jason said...

In my past positions in media I was able to go into many jails and prisons and you never walk out the same. You THINK you know what it's like in there until you actually are in there. I'm glad you were able to minister to those women, Bianca.

And the prisoners walking among us out here, too.

Jasmine said...

So, so proud of you....

Raquel said...

I love this post. Prison is an awesome mission field. Isaiah 61 is my personal call to ministry, given to me by Jesus!

Beth said...

This made me cry - REAL tears. Absolutely amazing!

Frances said...

It's amazing to see what the Lord is doing through you. I remember sitting at a women's retreat years ago and you were teaching on purity. I was blown away back then as I am now. Praise Jesus!!

Google

Blog Widget by LinkWithin