Archive for May, 2010

He Cares For You

Each week I get to spend time with troubled teenagers. As we open up the Bible together and read from God’s Word, we find out what God is saying to each of us in our varied circumstances. At the end of each study I pass around a slip of paper and a pen and ask the kids to write down something they’d like me to pray for. Over the last year I’ve been collecting prayer requests from a co-ed facility where I lead a Bible study on Monday nights. Here is a sample of some of the things weighing on the kids’ hearts:

• Pray for my mother and brothers to stop drinking alcohol. Pray for me to get out of here and live a normal life.

• I am having trouble because I used to be a prostitute and I need God to help me.

• Please help me realize that the sexual and physical abuse wasn’t my fault.

• Pray for my mom so she can get off drugs and get the help she needs.

• Pray for me when I get out that I would have a better life because right now it’s headed in the wrong direction.

• Dear Lord, I really want a relationship with you but it’s hard for me to believe in you because I’m a Muslim. I feel more comfortable with you than with Allah and I like to pray to you. I FEEL VERY GUILTY ALL THE TIME (her caps). I know I’m a good person but I have a lot of guilt and I’m not sure…Should I stay with Allah or come to You? Please guide me. Amen.

When kids are given an opportunity to share their prayer requests anonymously, you really get a glimpse inside their hearts. It brings to mind what Jesus offers all those who trust in Him, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). As you remember Straight Ahead in prayer, remember the 500+ kids around MA who attend our weekly Bible studies and who desperately need to find rest for their souls in Jesus Christ.

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May 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Dear Straight Ahead Staff,

You wouldn’t believe how many letters Straight Ahead receives from kids in lock-up from all over the country. We get so many that we have someone designated specifically for the task of replying to every single kid. Many are personal testimonies of God’s work in their own lives. Others are thank you’s for Straight Ahead’s ministry behind bars. I read this one this morning and wanted to share it with you.

Eight years ago today my 15 year old cousin, Peter, who was often in trouble with the law, committed suicide. And the people in his school made fun of it. Some people who didn’t really know him assumed he’d been doing drugs and was in a gang. To them he’d just done the world a favor. None of them cared enough to see the potential in him, to see in him the capacity for friendship, for mechanical genius, for godly manhood. They shrugged him off and belittled his death, never knowing or caring how much he meant to us. Thankfully someone shared Christ with him before he died…but he’s still gone.

I just want to thank Straight Ahead, on behalf of all the Peter’s and their families, for not giving up on them. Christ didn’t. He was offering them hope even as they were executed for their crimes. Thank you for loving the kids in lock-up like He did and giving them another chance. I love what you’re doing.

God Bless,

Andrea

May 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment

Are You Coming?

How do you put a price on God’s gift of salvation? Every week Straight Ahead volunteers bring His message to hundreds of incarcerated youth. Those who receive it in faith are granted eternal life.  Jesus said, “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

The message of Jesus Christ is the foundation for everything we do. It is central to our ministry. At Straight Ahead, we desire to see the good news of Jesus Christ proclaimed in every juvenile facility across the country. This message is the reason I work to coordinate Bible studies in all of the facilities across this state.

Here in Massachusetts, it is unlawful to refuse religious services to incarcerated youth. So, by law we have an open door in every facility and thankfully, we’re in over 80% of them. That doesn’t mean we’re always welcome. But when our service is appreciated by state-run facilities, it is like cold water on a hot day.

Here is an email that a program director at one of the facilities wrote to Straight Ahead volunteers…

As you probably know, our program is moving to Worcester.  I know we haven’t spoken much and you and your husband must feel taken for granted.  Despite our silence, you are among the most admirable and reliable elements for our clients and I cannot thank you enough.  You are like the sun coming up.  Nothing could be more  important. Do you think you will be able to come to  Worcester to continue leading the Bible Study?

How encouraging that must have been for our volunteers to hear that. We do what we do without the need for positive affirmation. But how sweet it is when the secular authorities see the benefit.

May 3, 2010 at 9:59 am Leave a comment


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