Pastor’s Desk 2016-08-09

Chuck Sheridan Avatar

Hello SCCC Family,                                                                       

* A bit of lightening during the night, minimal wind where we are, so at this point, Hurricane Javier seems to be a gentle threat and we’re grateful for that. Good morning to you all from San Carlos.

 * Sometimes you just have to chuckle. Yesterday afternoon, I was working on some sermon thoughts and all of a sudden, no internet. So I went to Telmex to ask about it. Oh she says, “Sistema ___________” – in three hours, it will work. But my cell phone (tel cel) had also died. So I went to Oxxo to add some more money to my account, thinking that was the problem. The guy in Oxxo – Senior, no Sistema so we can’t add to your phone. (Apparently everything related to TelCel and Telmex was down.) So I thought I’d quickly go to the bank on my way home as I’d been waiting for a new bank card for a “period of time” and I had been told that it would be ready last Friday. I go inside the bank – no Sistema, Senior! We can’t check the progress on your card. Oh, no problem I said. I was told it would be here last Friday. Its probably here already. So he checked. No, next week my friend! Okay, but can I get some money from my account without my bank card. No problem, we can help you and I got some cash.

       One of the tellers who speaks English was a little concerned. We cannot close the bank without internet. I may have to sleep here tonight if the internet doesn’t start up by 5pm. Then the security guard came running in – Sistema ok! Or something like that and sure enough it was back on. So I thought I’d ask one more time if they could locate my “soon to arrive” bank card? Sure, he goes on the internet – Senior, it will be here next week! Hallelujah I thought, or something like that. So sometimes, you just can’t make the headway you are hoping for and its okay. It was still a great day! Allow me to share just a little of what made for an incredible day.

 * Gabriela has been faithfully teaching the ladies in the Women’s section of the Guaymas prison. So several months ago, she shared how several of the ladies had accepted Christ and wanted to be baptized. Would I consider coming to baptize them? Well is ribeye the greatest meal in this world? Of course, baptism has always been one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve been involved with in my Christian journey. So yesterday was the day.

Heather, who works with Gabriela in the prison ministry, Mayra, Jeannine and myself and Gabriela went to the prison. There is no “peaking” over the 20 foot high walls as you arrive at the prison. On the way in, Gabriela informed us that the prison has 800 men contained within, along with 30 ladies, very segregated from the men, in another area. We did our security check, a small pat down, received our exit stamps (you always want to make sure they do that one well) It was warm, my arms were moist from the heat, and I would be baptizing these gals in a tank. So I made sure he put a significant mark on my arm. And then in we went, past the men’s section, past the holding area and on to the women’s world.

Into a well-kept courtyard, passed by a volleyball court and then to the central area where we met the group of ladies. As soon as they saw Heather and Gabriela, smiles became so visible on their faces. As we were introduced, I began to recognize the names of several that were being baptized. In my limited Spanish, I shared a few words of congratulations with them.

I got to tell you, it’s a bit overwhelming when you realize these are very regular people. Sometimes people have the impression that prisoners are just these pathetic derelicts who would never have made it at life anyway. Well dead wrong as these were a group of attractive ladies who had obviously made some bad mistakes. One lady in particular, called me over to a desk she was working at and started sharing her story in perfect English. She was 24, grew up in Chicago, had 4 children, three under 6 years of age, two of which were in Chicago. The other child died in the child care fire in Hermosillo. She told me she was serving a 31 year sentence for homicide. She watched the entire service, along with the baptism, but at this point, does not yet know Christ.

When the service started, Gabriela shared briefly and then allowed me, with Mayra translating, to share with them prior to their baptism. And then into the tank. Not being allowed to wear shorts, I hopped into the tank with my Sunday best and in stepped our first lady. Because the tank was shallow, they would sit down in the tank, and each one of our ladies took their turn praying for one of the ladies and then, I would baptize them. And after each one was baptized, the group broke into a hand clapping worship song. And we cheered. Tears in their eyes and hugs of gratitude. At one point, Jeannine and I just looked at each other, both of us with tear filled eyes. The hearts of these ladies were so tender and so soft before the Lord. It was a joyful state of being overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit’s presence.

After the baptism, we sat in a circle by the tank and listened to each lady share their story of coming to faith in Christ. Mayra interpreted as they shared. Testimonies that touched each of our hearts. They knew what they believed, it was so about what Jesus had done. They shared their faith and it revealed the quality of the ongoing discipleship Gabriela, Heather and others have provided for these ladies. One lady, shared how she had turned her life over to Christ. She had been part of the Santa Muerta (Holy Death) Cult and now, she related how the fears and the horrors of that lifestyle had been replaced by peace. Way to go, God!

Each of them shared their story and it was good. We ended with more worship, man they sing and then with a closing prayer, specific to their needs and situations in the prison. There was a satisfaction in each of our hearts and even more so for Gabriela and Heather. It was like harvest and they were witnessing the fruits of their labor.  Hugs of gratitude and appreciation from so many of these ladies. “It was a very good day.”

* Jeannine and I are awed by the faithfulness of Gabriela and Heather as they serve the Lord every Monday in this prison. Please continue to pray for them in this fruitful ministry! 

Here’s a few of the ongoing prayer requests from our church family:

 * Please continue to pray for Christie’s great granddaughter, Elle. She did go through surgery last Thursday, has continued to experience terrible pain and will go back in for surgery this afternoon. This family and this little lady really need us to uphold them.

 * Ephraim Lennon had an angiogram last week and is still recovering from the related treatments.  Then their daughter and husband were involved in a serious accident last Thursday. Please just lift them up as their plate is full.

* It would be wonderful if you would join others in praying for the prayer requests listed on our website prayer wall – requests from Nancy Moglein, Irene Cherry and others.

* Oh, as daylight breaks, I just noticed that our sky is pretty black.  Hope Jarier stays away!

Praying you have a great week!
Pastor Glenn y Jeannine

Useful Links

Previous Posts