Musings of a Newbie Prison Volunteer
Wondering about what you might contribute as a God of Hope Volunteer in a local prison? Hear some thoughts from Patrick Castile, who started volunteering a few months ago in our Travis State Jail Faith Based Dorm:
When my friend from Bible class mentioned that he has been volunteering in the Travis State Prison one day a week for the last seven years, I was intrigued. Upon asking more questions, I heard the enthusiasm in his voice and I wanted to know more. So I contacted God of Hope Ministries to find out how I might check this volunteering thing out.
Four months later, I found myself as a volunteer leader in a small group setting for “Quest for Authentic Manhood.” In no way was I prepared to be a teacher on this subject matter, but I found myself to be a student as I was challenged by the material. From having had witnessed outside of mainstream church goers, I found that unbelievers don’t care how much you know; they want to know how much you care. This fact became evident to me on week five. My first four weeks was the end of a session with a month break between sessions. I was happy to see the same three “inmate disciples” in my group when we resumed. We had been sharing more personnel things, and I felt trust being developed among us all. At the end of the study, before the large group circled up and prayed, the youngest man in my small group asked if he could pray for me. The sincerity and gratitude that he displayed in his prayer was humbling and uplifting. I now knew why Wes was so enthusiastic about God of Hope prison ministry. Most of these men have not had a father or a real friend as a role model in their lives. To serve in that capacity is a privilege.
From my perspective, at no time are we more like Christ than when we serve the downtrodden. And, guess what, God uses the downtrodden to minister to us as well.