Dates: May 17 - 20
Ministry Partner: AWANA Lifeline
Ministry Focus: Ministry to inmates and their families at Angola Federal Penitentiary
We will once again return to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola with our team supporting and helping to run a family event inside the prison walls. This outreach event will unite inmates with their children for a day of fun, Bible teaching and evangelism.
Updated Tuesday, May 29
Team Member Recaps
As a little more
than a week has gone by since the Returning Hearts Celebration at Angola, not a
day has passed where we haven't thought about what a powerful weekend this was
for everyone involved. The numbers are as follows:
kids, 272 inmate dads, 501 volunteers from 26 states
representing 156 local churches, and 175 guardians had an incredibly powerful day at
Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola on May 19, 2012. Continue reading for excerpts of stories from the team members.
Mike Broyles - "One of my personal highlights was visiting an inmate friend
on Death Row at Angola. I had
been praying for two years to re-visit him. The angels of the Lord opened the doors to allow me to visit
my friend. Praise the Lord. The guard gave me two minutes with my friend. In my previous visits to him, he would show me an
old, beat up used Bible and I wanted to give him one of the best study Bibles. [My friend] was warm toward me and was overjoyed with his new Bible. He looked me square in
the eyes and asked, “Why do you
care about me? Why did you come all this way from California to pray for me and
give me this study Bible?” I explained that he was of value to Christ, he was
made in the image of God, thus God cares for him and so do I. I also
communicated that he forever touched my life in the powerful prayer that he
prayed with Debbie and me a few years ago.
At the end of our time, I prayed for him and he prayed the Lord’s Prayer, then he prayed personally
for me and my family. What an honor to be ushered into the presence of God with
my friend. The leader told me that he hardly gets visits or letters from
anyone. They encouraged me to write to him and I will do that
in the future weeks and months. He is not forgotten by Christ and I am grateful
to have a small part in his life. Thanks to all of you for all of your prayers & support
to allow me to be the voice of Christ to many men around America."
Phil Hess - "...I think the greatest
lesson that I learned, though, was what it looks like when someone is
truly and fully surrendered to the Lord. Several of the inmates demonstrated that
commitment and devotion in our combined worship services in the prison
chapel. I was moved to tears when we
sang some hymns and I witnessed their level of deep worship. “Jesus,
to hear Your voice on that day is all I’m living for” was totally true for
them, because most of them are “lifers” in Angola and will only leave
next-stop-heaven. Going to a
maximum security prison clear across the country to learn that lesson may seem
absurd to some, but to me it’s what means the most – I want to be completely
“sold out” to Jesus the way these dear brothers-in-Christ modeled for me. I’m
extremely grateful for the opportunity I had to experience the full range of
impact that the Returning Hearts Celebration had on countless lives, because of
how much it means to God for us to be ultimately “returned” to Him."
"During the games I
had the "operate-on-the-frog" game. A
beautiful little girl came with her dad to play. She said it was her birthday
today. She was 6 years old. She tried to get a bone out of the frog without
lighting him up with the metal tweezers. Her dad said, 'Let me try, I'll
give you my share.' As he went to work operating on the frog she looked up
at me brimming with delight and said, 'He's doin' this for me.' She
glanced back at her dad for a moment, then looked at me again overflowing with
of pride and said, 'That's my daddy.'... [Their family assistant] replied, 'You know what
I just love? Everywhere we go people keep on telling her what a good man her
dad is, how much they appreciate him and how much good he has done for these
guys! I just think it's so great that she keeps on hearing that.'"
- "Malachi Dads seeks to stop the cycle of
the sins of the fathers, recidivism, and create a generational bond which takes
time. It is not necessarily immediate. Wayne just started this new bond with his
daughter. I went over to them at lunch and said to his daughter, "your dad
is a great man of God." I had walked into chapel to hear him singing, "Jesus,
I just want to hear you say well done," a song he wrote. It brought tears
to my eyes. I told her this great talent could be hereditary. She said she loves
to sing too."
- "...We had dinner with Warden Burl
Cain along with several other AWANA volunteers and some inmates after the RHC
celebration. We had a particular inmate
join us at our table. He is a respected leader at the prison. He spent the day with his 10 year old
daughter. One thing he was sharing with us is how his heart attitude was
changed by watching other inmates interact with their own kids. The inmates are not always "buddy
buddy!" So the fact that this
precious day can change the heart of an inmate and cause him to look at another
fellow inmate in a different light is quite honestly, only from the Lord God!"
Ron Proctor - "...A highlight for me was when one of the 3 kids that I was with laid his head on my shoulder. I am thankful that I connected with that family as an assistant. I hope the family was encouraged as much as I was as we all came together to make this special day of reuniting kids and their dads happen. I was thrilled and in awe of the fact that the inmates were greeting us, engaging in conversation, thanking us for coming and serving us meals. At no time did I feel like I was inside a prison. The Malachi Dads are extremely hospitable and very inspiring. I can't wait for next year!"
Cyndi Raville - "I have visited four men’s prisons in California (due to
family circumstances, and five including Pitchess in Castaic). The contrasts between them and Angola are too
many to list. Some significant ones: chapels exist in most of the camps, available
to the inmates complete with inmate praise bands. Inmates are
encouraged to read and study God’s Word. Everyone at Angola works...numerous job opportunities are available. Programs are made available to the
inmates to teach them to be better men, better dads, regardless of their
physical location in Angola. Reconciliation with family is encouraged as part
of the culture. After their graduation ceremony,
I had the opportunity to talk with a couple of inmates directly. The peace in their souls, though many of them
are in Angola
for life, was unmistakable.
Saturday...I was assigned to the volunteer relief team,
which allowed me to roam from family to family all day temporarily relieving
the family assistants for various reasons.
This assignment also allowed me to leave the Celebration early with Mike
Broyles, to drive to a chapel where the children’s guardians were gathered for
the day. Recently at Grace, I spoke to the guardians of the
children during the Returning Hearts Celebration, and I had the opportunity
through the encouragement of God’s people to do the same again in Angola. My family story isn’t much different from theirs, but perhaps the relationship that brings guidance, comfort, wisdom and
strength for life; my relationship with Christ and the hope that He gives me
for life. My prayer, is that my words
encouraged the audience to always seek God, regardless of their circumstances!"
Joanne Hawkins -
chatting with the 2012 Malachi Dad graduates was a joy for me. These men come
off a waiting list to spend a year of weekly Bible study, memorization,
exhortation and encouragement and mentoring toward the role of being a faithful
dad and a godly man. The graduation ceremony is a triumph to behold.
Rudy and I
congratulated graduate J---L--- and immediately made a friend. He beamed
when we asked him how he was different for having gone through the Malachi Dad
program? We hung on his words as he described his identity and priorities.
We posed a question to him and he responded with a question, 'what is
one's definition of a man?' He said that a man should be seen through his
role as prophet, priest and king (in his family). As prophet he is a teacher and exhorter. As
the priest he is the spiritual leader, guide and intercessor. As king he is a
man of responsibility, integrity and a protector. Then with all his heart he
recited the Malachi Dad Pledge. We were spellbound as he closed with, 'so
help me God.' Our new friend and
brother is praying for us and...We are
praying for him that the Lord will restore his relationship with his 11
year old daughter. He wants to be her Malachi Dad."
Updated Sunday, May 20
The Angola Team arrived home safely. They had a fantastic weekend of ministry among inmates and their
families at Angola State Penitentiary. Check back to this page later to get more summaries from the team as they recap their time at Angola.
Updated Friday, May 18
Email from Mike Broyles
I am at Angola State Prison as you read this note.
This Saturday (May 19) we are helping with Returning Hears Celebration
here at Angola.
I am leading a team of 11 folks from my home church (Grace
Baptist Church) here as part of our Summer Missions Outreach. There will
be 300 inmate dads, 600 children and 500 volunteers from 25 states serving
and loving these men and their kids.
There will be a lot of tears, hugs, food and fun, but please
be praying for these inmate dads to being seeking forgiveness and hope with
their kids. Only trust can truly heal these families.
Angola is a great place of spiritual hope and change. There are 5,200 men here at Angola serving an average of 93 years with
around 2,500 Christ-following inmates. This is one of the great spiritual
awakening in these United States! Thank you for your prayers for Returning
Hearts Celebration and for all of the prison ministries going on in our jails
Updated Thursday afternoon, May 17
Mike Broyles called to say the team has landed safely in New Orleans. Stay tuned for more news!
Updated Thursday, May 17
We gathered early this morning to pray the Angola Team off the hill. Their hearts are full anticipating the Lord's work in Angola these next few days; keep them in prayer as they purpose to love those who many deem unlovable. As Pastor Mike reminded the team this morning, this is when we look most like Christ.