Cold as Ice, Warm in Christ!
“You could see the difference in the inmates who participate in our prison ministry and those who don’t,” says Seth Faler, member of the Board for Prison Prevention Ministries. After accompanying a school group on a tour of Walker State prison, Seth talked about his eye-opening experience.
“When we toured the prison, we saw men who were cold, detached, remorseless. You could tell those guys didn’t care about anything except doing their time and getting out. It was scary,” Seth says.
“Then three inmates spoke to us. One man, Hispanic, had been in prison 17 years and had only seen his son once. From a well-to-do family in Mexico, he talked about his poor choices and how he became involved with drugs and gangs. This guy came to Walker State from one of the toughest, most violent prisons in the state. For a man who was 5 feet 4 inches tall that meant he literally had to fight to survive.
“Now he’s at Walker and told us he was so thankful to be at a faith-based prison. He can participate in a worship life and explore his relationship with God. All three men talked about feeling joyful (in prison!) and a sense of mission for sharing their hard-won wisdom with these students. These inmates had a life changing experience going from broken to whole in Christ.”
The students in Seth’s tour group were from criminal justice classes at McCallie School. These young men were seeing the other side of the legal system they were studying and asked questions that showed they were fully engaged. Seth could see it was a powerful experience that would never be forgotten. “The inmates made a real connection,” Seth says. “They were genuine and unexpectedly relatable. Not that different from you and me. You can imagine them sitting at the dinner table or playing ball. I was thinking: ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’”