A group from our team had already visited this prison in Honduras earlier this week. They went to a church service in the low security area, which has about 500 inhabitants and it is self governed. There are no cells and there is a 70 member church made up of inmates.
Today we had the chance to go back, so 8 of us went - 3 to another church service in the low security area and then Jesse, Taylor, Katherine, Elizabeth and myself went into Maximum security!
We were expecting to see criminals in individual jail cells - or at least cells, and that if they came out they would come out cuffed... But as we were led around a corner to the entrance for max security, I saw a door with a peek hole in it, and a face was at the door... just these eyes peering out. Something in me began to think that maybe they weren't in cells after all!
We were let in the door where immediately about 3 or 4 inmates with tattoos all over surrounded us and started conversation. The door shut behind us, no guards came in, we were on our own with Jesus! There were no cells - there were 25 male inmates, all heavily tattooed, members of a well-known gang in both Central America and the United States. In El Salvador we had been told that even if we wore a piece of clothing with this gang's number on it, we could be gunned down in the streets.
We kept talking to these guys in a main area for at least 20 -30 minutes. One of the guys had been in 5 years and had 7 years to go. Jesse shared a bit of his testimony (drugs, alcohol, overdosing, visiting hell itself and being giving another chance to live by Jesus Christ). All the guys were interested and we could see the hunger in their eyes. The Lord gave us prophetic words for them. One I could clearly see was a leader. God made him to be a big brother to many. A guy who anyone could go to and feel safe in his presence. This was a gift for him from God. He looked impacted by this but did not say anything. They were all hungry for Jesus and seemed like they wanted a relationship with Him, but as the other gang members were there it may have been dangerous for them to do it. These guys would know all about giving up their lives to someone or a cause. So you know that if they did say yes, they would say yes and mean it. For life.
After talking and praying with them for a while, we asked if we could walk around and see the rest of the area. They said it wasn't safe, but then took us with them to show us around. We visited one room right at the end of the walkway which was dark and smelt like toilets. In it was some bunks with no mattresses, and a hammock with one guy in it, and others standing around. On the walls were demonic drawings and even a drawing of Jesus with a crown of thorns. We chatted briefly but could definitely feel some vibes going on there. On the way out we had to wait 10 minutes for the guards to come let us out! The inmates all stared at us while we were waiting...
Overall I loved being in there. When I was asking God if He wanted me to go to low or high security, He asked me where He's called me. The darkest places. Yes Lord! It felt at home being with these guys, and I just wanted to run at them and hug them... especially one of the younger guys who I really felt Jesus wanted him to have a revelation of Daddy God's love for him. I felt like squeezing him and messing his hair up! However that could be totally taken the wrong way and you would definitely need to know it was a Holy Spirit thing to actually do it!
We left them with a bunch of spanish new testaments. They started reading them while we were there. They know that they can start a relationship with Jesus whether we're there or not. So, Holy Spirit, come. Reveal Jesus to them. Pour out the Father's love! JESUS WILL have the VICTORY in these men's hearts!
Driving home, we were overtaken by a police truck (ute). On the back of it were standing two policemen with big guns, aimed at a group of 4 or 5 teenage boys at their feet. In El Salvador, we were on the way to church and passed a hold up on the side of the road (in surburbia, among houses). Also in El Salvador, some of the guys were held up in traffic at a roundabout because there was a dead body dumped on it.
Holy Spirit, send your FIRE and a true revelation of JESUS to the people of Central America! There is a greater cause to live for, a greater cause to die for. JESUS came to save us from our sins and bring us back to the TRUE purpose of life - relationship with HIM! JESUS and JESUS ALONE is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE... the ONLY ONE who can give LIFE ABUNDANTLY!