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January 19, 2020
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Windham Prison

Jun 27 2019

Recently I did two services at the Windham, Maine, state prison.  In recent years, I've done these programs right on the 'pods'; basically the common areas of individual cell blocks.  This particular time, both shows were for women's pods, and both groups had between 15 and 20 women who came out.  

In the first pod, the women were fairly responsive. Unfortunately, part way through, two of the women had to be dismissed for another program. Not only did they miss the last 20 minutes or so, but the interruption created a bit of a distraction.  Nonetheless, I finished the show and the ladies were quite responsive. Part way into the show I did the miser's dream illusion as well as d-lites in a routine in which I played the blind beggar who was healed by Jesus. Then, after a few somewhat light routines, I ended with a routine involving a square-circle illusion through which I tell the story of the woman at the well. The chaplain, Sister Marian, felt that one especially connected with the audience.

I planned basically the same set for the next group, and the show was moving along quite well. The second audience was even more into it than the first. Then, with two routines left, a guard came in and said something that made no sense to me.  Quickly, and without arguing (although some complaining) the women all went back to their cells. Sister Marian told me would just need to wait a few minutes. Then the guard left us. During this time, she told me that there was an 'inmate not responsive' or INR called.  Although it was none of the women on this pod, somewhere in the prison there was an inmate who was having a medical crisis: perhaps overdose, suicide attempt - and rescue was called. The whole place went into lockdown so that the rescue workers could pass throughout the facility as needed without anyone getting in the way and to avoid general confusion.

Eventually the chaplain learned what the crisis was, but I was never told, nor did I need to know. While we wait in the common area of the pod and the inmates were in lockdown, many of the women were yelling to us that they liked the show and hoped I'd be back before their sentences were up! Just one of the many reasons I love jail ministry!  I didn't get to finish those last two routines, but at least I got the blind man story in again, as this had a pretty important message of grace and mercy.  

And I'll be back.

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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