For the last couple of years I have been corresponding with inmates in a local prison. At first I found this task difficult - what does one say to people living behind bars? I feel such pity for them and often shed a tear or two when I read about their concern for their families - not bringing in finances to put food on the table, not being able to see to their children's well-being and not being in control under the circumstances. Their letters touch my heart as I read about how these prisoners miss sunshine and just the normal things that you and I are fortunate to enjoy on a daily basis. Mostly they regret the crime they committed which landed them in this situation in the first place. They seem to be thankful however, for even the tiniest thing - a facecloth, a tube of toothpaste or some reading matter. Not that it is always easy to get these items to them.
To my surprise I was invited to a special dinner - a thank you from the prison ministry for the work I have done. Do I deserve this? I thought to myself. These prisoners have actually been doing me a favour by sharing their feelings and thoughts on paper...I am far more appreciative of the many blessings in my life and am taking nothing for granted these days. It's a privilege to breath in fresh air or feeling the wind in my hair while taking a walk in the Newlands forest or the promenade. I realise how great it is to have the freedom to be able to go shopping, stroke a kitten, write out a postcard or play a boardgame with my family. A grateful heart is a happy heart and so the thank you should go to the inmates!
Please pray for me as I continue to try to encourage and bring hope to these folk while finding joy in my own journey!