Today I attended the monthly men’s fellowship luncheon at The Pentecostals (church) in West Monroe. Each month a well known community leader, politician, coach, or other notable speaks. There is also singing by either a group or individual, and of course great fellowship around a delicious meal prepared by a local businessman and the ladies from the Pentecostal church. The event is free and very well done. (They also have a monthly luncheon for ladies)
Today’s speaker was our Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney. He gave a very informative and interesting talk about things the sheriff’s office is doing to make our parish safer and more appealing economically. Then, near the end of his presentation he unveiled something that had been covered by a large white cloth with two signs that said “Secret Weapon“. All of us wondered what it could be.
When the white cloth was pulled away we saw a large galvanized cattle tank used to water cows. He said that in his fight against crime this is his newest secret weapon, a portable baptistery. He went on to tell of the dozens of inmates (223 out of a population of 800) who have found Christ and have been baptised in the last few months. He mentioned Celebrate Recovery and what a fine job they are doing inside the bars and razor wire fences.
The recidivism rate in our parish is 80% compared to a national average of only 40%. He is convinced the way to lower that rate and our crime rate is to change hearts one man at a time. What a great thing for our sheriff to be proudly displaying a baptistery and saying faith in Jesus is the way to make our communities better!
This story reminded me that our Angola Prison, with one of the worst reputations in the nation for being a violent, tough place, has been transformed by winning men to Christ. Violence has greatly diminished since they have aggressively been allowing Christ to be preached and have even sent out missionaries two by two into other prisons to evangelize and disciple men for Christ.
The gates of hell, nor the gates of prisons, will prevail against what God is doing in bringing sons and daughters to himself. I am so proud of Mac and Mary Owen for bringing Celebrate Recovery to our people. And, I am equally proud of my friend John Grigson and others who head up CRInside. They are building churches inside the walls!
Christ be praised for the good things He has done and is doing!
Great report, Royce … and what a wonderful thing that is happening as the Gospel is preached!
Love the post. Good stuff happening. We need more examples like this. Jail won’t fix things … but Jesus will 🙂
Sorry I missed seeing you there. It was truly amazing to hear the report about transformation happening all over our area, especially in our local prison. Our prayers for revival are being answered almost daily!
(I think the sheriff mentioned 223 baptisms recently, out of a population of over 900 inmates.)
You are correct on the numbers. What a wonderful thing! BTW, I appreciated your sincere, yet simple prayer at the end.
What a wonderful report! What an incredible power the gospel has! It obliterates barriers between sinners and God, while building bridges between those who share a like precious faith. AMAZING!!!
Our Pastor has ministered faithfully in Angola for 20 years now with monthly preaching services. One of the former inmates was released and came to our church as soon as he was out. He graduated from N.O. Seminary while in Angola, and was ordained in our church as a minster of the Gospel. He is a kind Godly man with a heart for young people, especially young men in inner city New Orleans (where his church is located). He has a great sense of humor and a deep understanding of the price paid by Jesus Christ for our freedom from bondage. His love for the Lord makes him a fiery preacher. He fills the pulpit several times a year at our church, River of Life Worship Center, in Port Vincent, LA. The power of Jesus Christ cannot be constrained even inside prison walls. It is a life-changing power. Hallelujah!
I’m a Believer!
God is surely up to someting isn’t He? Praise His mighty Name!
Thanks dear Laura for stopping by and for your comment. Stories like yours are becoming common and I am very thankful.
Great post. God bless your work.
ps – that picture is funny because of the pitchfork. 2 choices – pitchfork or baptism.
CR is a great program and works for many.
Also, does the sheriff use the pitchforks to urge the inmates into the water? Just kidding, but I know a few people who use the Bible that way. :p
Baptisms always seem to “take” better if people are running to Jesus and find the water on the way rather than having someone trudging behind them poking them along.
Just a thought.