Love Came Down

God has a way of speaking at what seems to me to be the most inopportune time; but regardless it’s always right on time. It seems I am usually driving to work when I hear from him. But regardless I have been able to find a way speak into my phone what He tells me. All my life I have heard that timing is everything and I now know this to be true. If we are in the right place at the right time or even the wrong place at the wrong time or vice versa, our future can greatly be impacted. Since I have started writing I have learned that our time is extremely valuable. What we do with our time can make us or break us; our future and the future of others is dependent on the choices we make today. Whether we give our time to worldly things or give it to God; we determine our destiny by the choices we make.

Last weekend a group of  18 members of the Emerge family traveled to Columbia, SC for training to minister to the incarcerated within the Dept. of Juvenile Justice. While sitting in this class my heart was breaking as I listened to our instructor tell us details about these young kids. Our training only lasted two hours but the information we received was eye-opening and will stick with me forever. Jennifer gave us specific statistics of this program and not all information could be covered but she gave enough to put many of us in tears. This is why we do what we do as we give our time to God and not to worldly things because we have the heart to love others and to carry out “His Plan”.

Only 27 percent of the youth in the facility receive visits from family. This could be for a number of reasons such as; a single mom with no transportation, or perhaps she has to work on weekends or has no babysitter for younger siblings. But the one reason that really tugged at my heart was for some reason or another the family had given up on them! Think about it. What if someone had given up on you; where would you be? How would you feel if no one cared enough to come see you? This is why we do what we do! Everyone needs to know that someone loves them but most importantly they need to be shown the love of God.

The top four reasons these kids are placed in these facilities are:

  1. Shoplifting
  2. Drugs – {Mainly Marijuana}
  3. Assault & Battery
  4. Disrupting School -{Resource officers arrest them in middle & high school}

The youngest they have had in this facility is 12 years old. They can stay in DJJ until the age of 21, but usually at the age of 18 can transfer into the adult prison. Jennifer made the statement, “Idle time is the devils’ workshop”. With this in mind they keep the youth involved in programs to educate them and to prepare them for the outside world.  The vision at DJJ is “We will build and maintain a restorative juvenile justice system to include a safe and secure environment that ensures rehabilitation and prevents delinquency”.

Our volunteer code of ethics include but not limited too:

  • Be a positive role model
  • Be present and on time for every commitment we make
  • Show empathy
  • Be optimistic about life by encouraging realistic goals and attitudes
  • Be honest, sincere, fair, and consistent
  • Be accepting and appreciative of people’s differences and talents

Just like in the outside world there are many differences behind the fence. Therefore for protection they separate the gangs, the sex offenders, the general population, the youngest ones and those with disabilities. At DJJ every incarcerated youth is controlled by those in charge and a lot of these kids at first find it hard to deal with someone else having control of their life. However, to know that we are coming to see them gives them reason to want to do behave. We were told that although we show up on time; the youth may not. We will have to build a relationship; for many have had those they love turn their back on them. Therefore, they just may try to see if we care enough to be consistent or if we are going to walk out on them too.

These kids have been placed in DJJ by the choices they have made. And their future will greatly be affected by those choices as well as the ones they continue to make. Their lives can be turned around; but sometimes it takes just knowing that someone cares. Time is extremely valuable and what we spend it on can have a huge impact. I personally have not had the opportunity as of yet to minister to the incarcerated. But I know with my love for kids that this is where God is leading me, among the many other journeys.

Our choices at Emerge Ministries have a huge impact on our future and on those that God places into our lives. As we continue to be the hands, feet, and voices for God; may He continue to receive all the honor and glory. God is definitely on the move as the doors continue to open.

Matthew 25: 36 & 40 – Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me….. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Isaiah 42:3 – A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

Hebrews 13: 1-3 – Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

“Many Voice’s,” “One Vision”, for “His Plan”!

To God be the Glory!

Much Love To You All!

Donna


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