This past weekend I (Gerald) traveled to the city with six other prison ministry veterans to be trained as facilitators and to receive certification as trainers in a new Prison Fellowship International project called The Prisoner's Journey. This project is specifically designed as an evangelistic outreach that leads to 8 weeks of small group discipleship. Our training was provided by Stephen James who is the creator of The Prisoner's Journey. There is no better training than to learn directly from the person who came up with the idea. We had some great training! To be a part of this project in our own prison system is such a great opportunity for us to share the light of Jesus in such a dark place. Along with being trained to lead small discipleship groups that will come out of the initial meeting, I am also certified to train others to lead small groups. I know it is cheesy but it is true, "Mathematics is part of the Christian life". Multiplying yourself (what God has and is doing in your life) into the lives of others so that they may do the same in the lives of others. This is discipleship! It is exactly what Paul was writing in his second letter to Timothy: "...and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." I am so excited to see what God will be doing through this project in the prison and in our lives.
We have been overwhelmed with concern for the Shelter by the gifts we have received to help them out at this time. Your sacrificial and extra giving allows us to purchase items that they cannot purchase at this time. There is always a fine line between swooping in and fixing things and allowing the Shelter to be self-sufficient; and we covet your prayers as we walk that line. Your gifts allow us to see needs being met and we thank you! We will be posting pictures over the months of the purchases we make as we are able to bless them. It is an honor to be used by God in this way, as the conduit for these blessings from you to the girls at the Shelter. Thank you again for your giving and your love of the least of these.
Please pray with us in the following areas of ministry and life:
- Pray for us as we seek to help provide for the shelter while not causing dependence.
- For the start of The Prisoners Journey and the facilitators, and for the prisoners who will be reached.
- For permission to be approved by the Director of Prisons for Gerald to also enter the prison on Tuesday's to continue discipleship with Raul.
Prison ministry is always changing; from men being released, transferred or simply losing interest and yet the harvest is plenty. Since returning from our trip to the states a number of things have transpired. Beginning with Raul (Terror) being moved from where he had been for about a year in isolation into general population. While this is good and shows the confidence the Director-Warden has concerning his attitude and character it has opened up his work load making Mondays almost impossible for him to meet with me. He knows that he is welcome to study with Samuel and I on Wednesdays but has yet to show up. I still keep in touch with him and today showed him exactly where we have our Bible study. I pray and hope that he will join us for this weekly Bible study. I have seen the work of the Holy Spirit in him and can only provide opportunities for him to join. On much more positive news my Bible study with Samuel has grown from one on one to two and hopefully this Wednesday growing to four or five. Samuel is soaking up every bit of Bible study he can get and has begun inviting people to join us. At the start of this year it was only he and I in his work room, but then a friend of his began joining us and for the past month now it has been Samuel, Adan (Adam) and myself. Looking forward to Raul joining us, another friend of Samuel and a man I met today (his name is Rencon) we will be five! I am incredibly thankful for this answer to prayer. Even if Rencon nor Raul attend I am encouraged to continue going on Mondays and will seek out Rencon for studying the Bible. He is hungry and his hunger has encouraged me more than he knows. I will always pray for Raul and his desire to put Bible study first but like the saying goes "You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink." Please pray for my friend.
A couple of weeks ago we shared with you all a horrific story of an orphanage outside of Guatemala City breaking out in fire as a result of the children speaking up for themselves agains the conditions they were living in. You can find the article we shared in our previous blog post. Since that fire the reality of how those girls were living was brought to light and the people who were charged with caring and loving these kids have been arrested for crimes against these children. As a result that government run orphanage was shut down and the surviving children were placed in other orphanages and shelters throughout the country. The Shelter where we minister has since received numerous girls from other shelters who took in children from the orphanage in Guatemala City. As a result of the fire and placement funds that previously were directed to private shelters have been redistributed to public shelters leaving Nuevos Horizontes (where we minister) in a tough spot. Currently in the Shelter they have the highest number of girls we have ever seen there and the effects have taken their toll on the already slim budget.
If you are interested in contributing to the Shelter in this time of need please consider writing a check out to us and send it to Sarah's mother at the address below. If you do this 100% of your money will go into an account specifically for the Shelter. Your money will go to help buy food, bath soap, clothes soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, cleaning and disinfecting supplies.
The address is :
8049 Old Hecker Road
Iowa, LA 70647
We thank you for your love and support.
Gerald and Sarah Lastrapes
Along with their two children are missionaries in Guatemala. They will be sharing stories of discipleship through prison and shelter ministries.