Christmas in January
We get through is the motto of Prison Fellowship Australia but it has new meaning recently for our ministry in Darwin. At the top of Australia there are only 2 seasons – the Dry and the Wet – and not much in between! This year the wet took some time to arrive but when it finally did, it was WET, with Humpty Doo (15km south-east of the Darwin Correctional Centre) recording a daily record in January of 460mm, which is higher than the average yearly rainfall seen at Adelaide Airport, which is 442mm.
So on that Saturday it was a challenge for our volunteers to get into the Darwin Correctional Centre, let alone from the entrance to the chapel several hundreds metres away!! But with true Prison Fellowship spirit, we got through, as prison staff allowed umbrellas for the day, to keep the wet from soaking volunteers completely.
The service was a reflection of the rain soaking the dry landscape outside as the love of our Lord God came falling down and was soaked up by the inmates who had experienced dryness and darkness for such a long time. Ten men made decisions that day and said that they would change their ways and follow a different path in life.
A couple of weeks later, at another chapel service, Isaac* was sitting in the service and asked the leader of the team, Nadia, “Miss, can we sing Christmas Carols?” At first Nadia and the team were surprised, as Christmas season was well and truly over! In time, Nadia realised that these were the only songs that these inmates knew about our God and Jesus Christ. And so at the Top End of Australia, as the rain fell from the sky a team of volunteers and inmates sung Christmas Carols and the gospel of Jesus Christ was flowing through everyone in the room. Praise God.
*Name has been changed
– Ian Townsend, SA/NT State Manager