Residents Encounter Christ

Submitted by Bob Tongue

Elizabeth and I started working with the REC (Residents Encounter Christ) Ministry 3 years ago at the Chicopee Women's Prison. At that time it was not an “official” ministry of our church. After the first year, Christ Presbyterian Church agreed to help support the ministry by supplying monies to purchase candy for the REC weekends.

The REC weekends are planned weekend events that happen 3 times a year when 35 woman residents come to spend the weekend and encounter Christ. Many of these women have had no exposure to Christ and come for a “taste” of God. Many come lured by the candy, pizza, and time away from their pods. During the course of the weekend they are bombarded with the love of Christ through the volunteers. The REC volunteers present 10 – 14 talks that deal with how Christ has affected their lives and how He wants to have a relationship with the residents. The response is phenomenal. At the end of the first day, the residents are presented with an opportunity to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Most, if not all, do.

After the weekend, there are Wednesday night sessions called REC reunions, where the residents can continue to grow their relationship with Jesus Christ with the help of the REC volunteers. This year the revival at the facility has continued. The women have been “stepping up” more and have started taking leadership roles in the ministry. The residents now volunteer to pray aloud for each other and some of the longer term women have even been the “guest speaker” on Wednesday nights, sharing their testimonies about what God has been doing in their life since the REC weekend. The growth that these women have shown is a real sign of the power of Jesus Christ to transform lives under any circumstances.

It is indeed a blessing to be involved and to see these women find hope and salvation in Jesus Christ. It is also a blessing to know that our church family is supporting this ministry financially and prayerfully. Thank you for helping us bring the saving grace of Jesus Christ behind the prison walls.

The United States, China, Brazil and Nigeria have the greatest number of evangelicals according to Operation World 2010. Kenya has the highest percent evangelicals at 48.9%.
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Bajau Bukit, Papar


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