Every Other Monday, I Go to Jail
By Hailie Landreth
REGISTER FOR THE PRDX EQUIP CLASS ON CITY RENEWAL: SERVING THE MARGINALIZED.
Every other Monday I go to jail.
Let me explain—every other Monday I go to jail with a team of women that volunteer with Purchased. We talk to women in jail who have prostitution on their criminal records.
We carpooled over to the jail from the Paradox office, and I had been given a woman named Ashley*. No one from The Net had visited Ashley before, so I was a little nervous about how she might take meeting me. Would she want to talk to me? As I sat waiting in the booth for her to walk in, dozens of conversation topics crossed my mind—one more than others. Let me take you back to about 8 hours earlier that day.
At Monday morning intern meeting, we were all challenged to share the Gospel. I am incredibly grateful to work for an organization that wants me to be Gospel fluent. I want that too. I want people to know Jesus, and for people to know that Jesus knows them.
That idea kept crossing my mind while I was waiting to talk to Ashley in jail.
Ashley walked in and my heart sunk. She was so young. As we begun to talk I saw how jaded she was from years on the street. She told me she didn’t need help. She could help herself. I told her that’s okay, I just wanted to hangout and talk.
She was 22.
I am 22.
Then Ashley asked, “So why do you come here and talk with us? Why do you want to talk to me?”
Before I think I even realized what I was doing, I told my new friend the story of Jesus. A savior who came to earth to love really broken people, die for them, and free them from the bondage of sin they lived in. That God loved her and I so much that He gives us grace, and because of His beautiful grace, we are free to worship Him without shame, guilt, or burdens from sin forever. I told her the Gospel.
I could tell she had never heard that before. Her hard demeanor changed a little. She asked me questions about this Jesus. She told me she wanted to see me again. The Holy Spirit was at work and all I did was have to open my mouth.
Jesus used me, a broken college student, to share His grace to a broken 22 year old in jail. His love is bigger, for both of us. His grace covers both of us. There is no divide for our savior.
That is some really good news.