As we head into our 3rd year of Covid restrictions, the temptation is to wonder if we will ever get back to “normal”. Will we ever be able to gather for services in our chapel again? Will we ever be able to meet with the residents face to face to offer encouragement and spiritual guidance and to look them in the eye and let them know that there is a God who created them, who loves them and has a plan for their lives, no matter what they’ve done or where they’ve been? Will I ever again be able to meet freely with the women, learn their names, hear their stories, and point them in the direction of One Who wants to walk with them throughout their lives?
It feels like the answer to these questions is in doubt, but, at some point, we will get back to gathering for chapel services and meeting for spiritual counseling. When that will be is not known to us; God is in control of the details. And while we have been hampered in our ability to minister, He has not been deterred at all.
God is still hard at work in Chester County Prison. Even without church services, there are a number of women who are striving and growing in their faith. They are reading their Bibles, spending time in prayer, journaling, and pursuing growth, understanding, and knowledge. I receive written correspondence from them requesting study materials, asking questions about faith, and expressing their desire to grow closer to God.
A recent example of such correspondence that I received is from a woman who was very distraught and troubled a few weeks ago when we met briefly. She was anxious and worried about her circumstances, but now wrote saying, “I have been struggling with feeling isolated – and have tried to fill those moments with prayers out loud, to feel more connected to Him.” She also wrote, “My prayer is that I use this time to glorify Him and deepen my relationship with Him, His Word, and spiritual leaders like you, so that I might be put to good use in celebrating God’s Kingdom.” A very beautiful expression of desire to grow in God.
Another woman wrote to me, “I really am so thankful to get back in touch with God – a journey I started many years ago but lost my way. I’m excited for this new chapter of my life with God by my side.”
This is the work that God is doing in Chester County Prison. We are hindered, but He is not. I am not able to freely meet with the women, but that is not a problem for Him. He meets with them.
This time of Covid restrictions at CCP will be over at some point, but through it all, nothing has been lost; ministry is still happening and those who are seeking are still finding.