"I was in prison and you visited Me.."
There is so much to thank God for the day spent with the Cathedral ladies and the inmates of the Correctional Institute for Women. We had our hearts prepared and equipped with a teaching that was inspired by the “Eucharisteo” Series shared in the Ladies Fellowship.
There were 3 G's that we shared - Giving thanks; God's grace; God's gifts. We used these towards an object teaching of focusing on the meaning of an open hand and a closed hand. Groupings were made where all the Cathedral ladies would facilitate to at least ten inmates.
Taking my seat with my group, I was surprisingly welcomed with SMILES from 12 ladies. Who wouldn't melt at that sight! They were aged 41 to 73 and as a response to their smiles, the first word that I blurted out to them was, "Thank you, Lord!"
This broke the ice and a gratitude response from them was in the offing. The ladies uninhibitedly shared seeing the grace of God in their situation, how they were gifted with the work of their hands, and an acknowledgement of asking forgiveness for whatever wrong they may have done.
They were so full of life even in the midst of their situations. I was moved to tears hearing how they have so much hope in God. There was a hunger in them for a visitation even from people they don't know. They longed for a listening ear. They longed for God's Word. They longed for a touch, a smile, and even a joke to elicit laughter from them. All because they were receptive to a visit and what they were to hear. Really, they were a thankful people!
Now, I gained new friends, new smiling faces, new prayer warriors that I would look forward to the next Ministry date. In the midst of our interaction, they were already asking when our next gathering would be.
Saying goodbyes to them was not lacking in exchanges of hugs and kisses from these ladies. As a bonus, one lady who had a gift of healing laid hands on me! God is not a respecter of persons. God gives gifts to all - regardless - to be given to others so that in all He may be glorified.
Sis. Ting Librojo
By: Sis. Wina Javier
My Tuesday was saved since the Ladies' Fellowship announced a Ministry to the Correctional.
I was a bit apprehensive to join actually because it would just make me think about my mom because March is mom's 3rd year anniversary in heaven and yes... my mom had been ministering to the women in the Correctional for 15 years.
Finally, at the Correctional we were briefed by Dcn. Nestor and was able to apply for a Visitor's ID. After a long wait, we were already asked to go inside and from there we proceeded to the chapel. I felt lost for a while and asked some elderly looking immates if any of them knew my mom. Alas! I was greeted by not just one but a number of them whose faces looked familiar to me.
Later on, when the program began I literally was in tears and cried on Connie's shoulder. Because from then I felt that my Mom didn't just leave these inmates legacy but also to me. One main reason I cried was I really miss her and yes, I'd tell everyone that she's a cut above.
My Mom possessed such boldness, firmness and selfless life in ministering to those who are in prison, literally and figuratively. So, then the ministry started when Dcn. Lito shared the good news. And from there, each of us were divided into groups.
I noticed someone pulled my hand and she told me, "Dadalhin kita sa mga nakakakilala kay Mommy Yolly ". I sat with 10 inmates though not all had met my mom. About 5 of them and the rest had welcome me and told me how my mom had blessed them, brought them clothes, tokens of food, earrings, bibles etc. I was awed and tongue-tied. However, I had to control my emotions and told myself that I am here to minister. But, no matter how much you've given your all to exhort them you will end up ministered because you'd hear these inmates who had been serving for 20 years or so and hoping against hope. To most of them is "life imprisonment" and that had really made me opened my eyes to a better reality that I am still blessed thus I should be more a blessing. Gen.12:2
Parting is a sweet sorrow. We've heard their lamentations such as no relatives or loved ones to visit them, no money to buy food, other family members from parents to husbands deceased already and name it, it is a miserable life. Yes, sin paid its toll but to some, no lawyers and no idea when will they be set free. And we are there to preach the good news.
The session ended with a light snack prepared by Mian Canlas of Tuna sandwich on wheat bread "na may dahon" or lettuce and water. It really was a "pamatid uhaw at gutom" to all of us.
Thanks to all the ladies who sacrificed their half a day or so to be with the inmates. And of course to the respective Deacons and wives. We hope to invite more ladies to minister to them. It is just quarterly. And soon once a month.
My mom started this all by herself, call it a 'Panata' or what, aside from her Tagaytay Ministry at the Drug Rehab. She was mostly alone. Thank God for listening to God's voice to continue this. Ang dami natin! Ang saya and sana wag lang ngayon madami. Mas damihan pa natin.
The program was overall orderly. Diwani's instructions and briefing whilst at the Ladies' 2 weeks ago was not in vain. I believe that there will be more suggestions from others. Ladies are hyped up and on fire. Always on the go. Glory to God!!