A Volunteer Perspective: My Time Inside……
The following was submitted by Joyce, PMUNY Leadership Team
“Even though the men & women we meet in prison are often blown away by the fact that total strangers willingly spend time “inside”, I am the one who has truly benefited. Anyone looking for a deeply meaningful activity that profoundly impacts others as well as yourself might give prison ministry a try.
As a prison volunteer, my “good Life” has been enhanced by spending time with Inmates.
I have never once (in almost 20 years) ever felt threatened or scared while “inside”. I have always felt safe.
I have witnessed many events that have altered my own life and the lives of many incarcerated individuals.
I have listened to many heart wrenching stories.
I have heard deep pain in their voices.
I have listened to many stories of regret and remorse.
I have seen joy in their eyes as total strangers entered a room, sat at their table and listened to their story.
I have heard countless expressions of gratitude
I have witnessed changes in hearts and behavior making way for new life altering habits.
My experiences in prison ministry have been rewarding, leaving me filled with gratitude for things I once took for granted. Prison has taught me to be more accepting and less judgmental. Even some of the personal relationships in my life “on the outside” have been restored due to the valuable lessons I learned “on the inside”….Spiritual lessons involving: forgiveness, finding peace, becoming a peacemaker, respect for life, acknowledging dignity of the human person and developing a more personal relationship with God. Because of the jail and prison programs I have participated in, my worldview is wider, more inclusive and more respectful. I have more compassion.
Going inside gives me purpose. I know I am making a positive difference in this world and for that I am both grateful and humbled.
Prison Ministry is one of the best things I have ever done in my life.”