W.O.W. Prison Ministry
Upcoming Dates for 2023:
NWFRC-Main Reunion: 25 January 2023, 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
NWFRC Journey #5: 26-29 January 2023, 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM
OCI Reunion: 29 March 2023, 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
OCI Journey #5: 30 March - 2 April 2023, 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM
OCI Reunion: 29 April 2023, 7:00 AM - 12:00 PM
SRCI-Annex Reunion: 17 May 2023, 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
SRCI-Annex Journey #25: 18 - 21 May 2023, 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM
OCI Reunion: 29 July 2023, 7:00 AM - 12:00 PM
NWFRC- Main Reunion: 6 September 2023 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
NWFRC-Main Journey # 6: 7 - 10 September, 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM
OCI Reunion: 30 September 2023, 7:00 AM - 12:00 PM
HCI Reunion: 1 November 2023, 12:00 - 4:00 PM
HCI Journey # 14: 2 - 5 November 2023, 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM
NOTE: NWFRC = Northwest Florida Reception Center
OCI = Okaloosa Correctional Institution
SRCI = Santa Rosa Correctional Institution
HCI = Holmes Correctional Institution
Transforming Lives For Christ
We set out on a journey, with 42 incarcerated men we call our "Brothers In Blue." These 4 day-long ministries are spent listening to & loving these men who may never have heard the words, "I love you" from anyone ... least of all, God.
Walk On Water
God chooses the foolish things of the world (namely, us!) to confound the wise. We teach the men that God's power allowed Him to walk on water & that the very same Spirit of God desires to transform their lives from the inside out. They, too, can live a life filled with the power to overcome the storms of this life!
Men On Mission
We want to see God's glory revealed & believe He desires revival come to many correctional institutions. Both "Brothers In Blue" & Correctional Staff are being impacted by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We continue to work toward discipling & encouraging men to press on in their faith & to grow in maturity as christians.
ACI #5 Journey Review
Here is our Journey Review from David Yeager:
Good afternoon Pastor Neil. We finished up another four day WOW journey at Apalachee Correctional Institute last week. We started with about 63 brothers in blue on Thursday and finished with about 55 on Sunday. This group was less receptive and not as mature as other groups we have ministered to. However, these are the men we are called to reach out to. Even though this was a more challenging group about 35 men came forward in response to the altar calls during the journey and God touched many hearts as only He can do. The following were testimonies from some of the brothers in blue about how God impacted them as a result of the journey:
One brother said he was in ministry before he came to prison and was mad at God because of the circumstances that he was currently going through. He prayed that God would give him direction and a sign as to what to do when he gets released from prison. He said the four day journey was God's answer to his prayer and knows what he needs to do when he gets out of prison.
One said he was very impressed that so many men gave their lives to Christ and intends to be a better influence on other men.
One young man said he was 28 years old and that this was his third time in prison. He said the WOW journey was a very special experience to him and was impressed that the volunteers chose to be with them rather than their own families.
One thanked us and the other brothers in blue for showing up every day and said he was no longer a follower of men, but now he is a follower of Christ.
One said he was a believer when he came and now is an even stronger believer. He said the journey touched his heart, thanked us for choosing to spend time with them rather than our own families and because of that he has a whole new family.
One thanked us for being exemplary Christians that just don't talk the talk, but walk the walk as well. He said the volunteers bade him to walk on water.
One said God brought us to show him how much God loves him. Said we are God's messengers.
One said we inspired him to walk out what he reads in the Bible and was very impressed with our testimonies.
One said the journey motivated him to want to serve and to be accountable.
One said we were like angels to him and that he will be praying for us.
One said we made him feel like a human being again and hated that we had to leave.
One said he felt the love we have for him and each other and knows we are now brothers. He said we taught him about forgiveness and showed him how to be a Christian and that we are his example of Christians.
One said he came to the journey just to get out of the dorm and on the second day he gave his life to Christ. He said he had no intention of doing that.
Another said he had no intention of giving his life to Christ, but on Friday "something" made him do it.
One said that he has always had an anger issue. On Friday he gave his life to Christ. He said Saturday morning he was confronted by one of the correctional officers and "something" kept him from going toe to toe with the officer and was able to control his temper. That showed him that God can do anything.
One said that he went to church on the streets and had been asked many times to give his life to Christ, but refused. On Friday he gave in and gave his life to Christ. Said he wants to show his son his WOW certificate.
As you can see by these testimonies that even though we thought this was a tough group, God showed up in powerful ways. All things are possible with God!
SRCI #24 Journey Review
The WOW team did another journey at Santa Rosa County Prison last week. The group we ministered to were classified as CM, Close Management, which meant they were isolated and were not permitted to intermingle with other inmates. We started out with 53 brothers in blue and finished with 42 with 16 to 18 volunteers. Thank you and Hanna for supplying us with so many letters from our church children. They definitely had a great impact on the men. Every brother I asked were very appreciative of the letters. One brother cried when he told me that he doesn't get any letters from his children and when read the the children's letters that he received he teared up again.
I was once again blessed to have my to have my son, Michael, ministering with me all four days. Such a blessing to minister with my son. Most times when he is a part of the team we give out testimonies back to back with Michael speaking first. Sometimes it is a little difficult for me to speak after Michael shares his story. In addition, I was triple blessed because my daughter, Marie, also came into prison with us on the last day. We have folks praying for each individual at our family tables (prayer partners) and Marie was our family's prayer partner. The administration at this institution allowed all the prayer partners to come in and join us on the last day. So Michael, Marie and I got to share this ministry together. I am blessed!
The brothers in blue we got to minister to were an interesting group. Most all of the brothers opened up and received what we had to share quite quickly and were very appreciative and engaging. We had several Muslims and gang members in the group as well. Several of our Muslim brothers committed their lives to Christ and I was told that a couple of the gang members received Christ and renounced their gang membership as well. God be praised! The following are some of the testimonies our brothers in blue shared with us:
One brother said when he gets out he wants to return to prison to minister with the WOW team.
One said that this journey will greatly help him on his journey.
One said he was a gang member and was lost in the world and the flesh. He said this was a life changing experience for him and gave his life to Christ.
One said we showed him that there are still people out there that cared about them and that we showed him who his Creator is.
One said he learned how to speak to God and prophesy.
One said he just came for the food, but that he heard great and life changing things.
One said he was a monster when he came to prison and said this was the best four days he had ever experienced. He said he has only one living relative left on the outside, but now has big new family.
One brother said he has two life sentences and has been in prison for 25 years. Before he came to the journey he intended to take his own life. He didn't know how good God is. He said he never understood this Jesus thing. He accepted Jesus as Lord and Savoir and is on fire now. Said he feels wonderful now even though he has a life sentence.
One said prayer works. He was very lonely in prison and prayed God would help him. Soon after he prayed someone knocked on his door and told him about WOW. He came, and is not lonely any more.
One said he made a lot of bad choices in his life and that we showed him the right choice.
One said he felt like a disconnected phone. Now he's connected . Said he felt dead spiritually and now he is alive and kicking.
One said that he felt the common denominator of the journey was, what Satan means for evil, God uses for good.
One said this journey is goodness.
One brother said he thought he got his love from the streets, but saw death all around him his whole life. He said he could see and feel the love in us. He thanked us for our testimonies and that we taught him to never give up.
One brother from our family table shared with us that he was brought up in church. He was very close to his grandmother and she had a peace in her that he wanted, but didn't have. She died when he was 15. When she died he became mad at God and walked away from God. He said when he first down at our family table that same peace he saw in his grandmother he saw in Michael and me. He wanted that same peace. He said we showed him who Jesus really was and now he has that peace. He also thanked Marie for praying for him.
Just about all the brothers that shared their testimonies also thanked all the prayer partners for all their prayers.
Of the 42 men almost all of them answered at least one altar call during the journey. Not sure if all their commitments were genuine. Only God knows our hearts.
As evident from all these testimonies the Lord once again showed up and worked in these men in powerful ways. God is always good!
HCI #13 Journey Review
Our WOW team had another prison journey at Holmes County Correctional Institution last week. We had several unique occurrences at this journey. Jimmy Skinner, our ministry leader, got a call Wednesday morning from the prison chaplain informing him that the prison was on a level two lock down and that the journey would have to be cancelled. A level two lock down means no movement on the compound and no one is allowed in. Jimmy made a few phone calls and we were given permission by influential some officials to go in and complete our program. Also, on Friday a very disturbing and frightening thing happened. After the day's ministry was over and we were leaving to go back to our camp. Marty, our worship leader, had a heart attack in the prison parking lot. Fortunately, there was a hospital only two minutes away. He had to be resuscitated three times, was taken to surgery and had two stints put in his heart. However, he is expected to make a full recovery! God be praised!!!
We also ministered to our largest group of brothers in blue ever. We started with 89 brothers and finished with 83. Of those 83 I would guess that 60 to 70 came to the altar at least once to commit or rededicate their lives to Christ. Only God knows their hearts. My son and I were also blessed to share our testimonies together with our brothers in blue. There was also another father, son team, Chester and Ryan, mistering together during this journey as well. Having father, son teams ministering together can at times be quite impactful.
We were also permitted to have our prayer partners and some outside visitors come into our closing ceremony Sunday afternoon. They got to hear testimonies from the brothers about what the WOW journey meant to them. The following were some of the comments from our brothers in blue:
One thanked us for the love he received from us.
One said it meant a lot to him that we came in and served them and treated them as equals. He learned how to give love and have compassion.
One said he has no outside family and now has a new family.
One said he learned love from WOW. We came in and served and ate with them for four days. He said he needs love and will give it to others.
One said he learned to stop running and doing things on his own and gave it to Jesus.
One was impressed by the volunteers devotion by how we gave our bad experiences over to God to give Him glory.
One said he found love and forgiveness at WOW. He learned how to deal with forgiveness.
One said that because of our genuineness he learned he needed to be straight with the Lord.
One said he realizes now that he had been looking at the waves and not walking on the water.
One said he was really impacted by the letters. He was told his whole life that he was the worst. We showed him that that was not true. He said he got that particular card from a little girl for a reason.
One said he was a gang member for 22 years and renounced his gang membership. He found what he needed at WOW.
One said we understand what they are going through and thanked his table family for allowing him to let his guard down. Realizes now he needs to be a light.
One said he could see the love of God in the volunteers and knows he needs to be a light. Said he never felt this kind of joy and that what we are doing is working.
One said he could see the bond in us and showed him discipleship. Said we brought truth and salvation to them.
A Muslim brother said he was overwhelmed by the love he received. Said we knocked some of his walls down and changed him.
One said he felt the love when he first walked in. The journey strengthened him in his faith walk.
One said he was not walking the Christian life and was living a lie. He has always been an outcast and never felt real love. Said his mother tried to drown him when he was three years old. Until this weekend he never felt love. Said he can feel the love and compassion in us.
One said it was very emotional for him to see 15 men of God touch all of them. Encouraged us to continue to do what we do because it is very much needed.
One said we showed him love, dedication, motivation and inspiration even after what happened to Marty. Said he was very resentful and was bucking for the first two days. Said he had a fake commitment to God, but made a firm commitment to God and received His peace. Said some of his friends came to church Sunday to see what changed him because they saw the evidence of the change in him.
One said he found the quiet in the middle of the storm.
One said he liked the poster party because it was fun and he hadn't had fun in a long time.
One said he learned how to give and receive love.
One said he was a walking corpse because he is only 21 years old with a life sentence. We let him know that he is not alone.
One said he always held things in, but learned how to forgive. He got what he came for. Also said one of the kid's letters really moved him.
One said he has been in prison for six years without any mail yet. Said his own family isn't even praying for him. He got both at WOW. The volunteers showed him how much we cared and that he is not alone.
One said the prayers were not in vain. He was prideful, but God touched him and he committed his life to Him.
One said he rebelled against Christianity and against his mother and grandmother. We did something they couldn't do for him.
One said that when he talked to his wife about the program she could tell there was a difference in him. She thought it was the coffee. He has been faking his Christianity and needs to develop his relationship with God.
One said that this was the best experience he ever had and this is how you know Jesus is real.
One said he had never seen so much love and a group so dedicated to God. Said he can see the change and genuineness in the brothers in blue.
One said everyone says this is the answer, but he is not there yet, but knows he's on the path that he needs to be and is trying.
One said H Dorm got what we needed. He learned how to forgive.
One said the change he saw happen inspired him.
One said all the testimonies were inspirational and he felt the love.
One said that he had been praying for answers and the journey gave him many answers. Will take what he learned back to the dorm.
It's always amazing to me how God works and changes so many lives during these journeys. It is an exercise in experiential faith. To God be all the glory!