In 1999, I had just left my off-shore job and I was able to find work at a prison about 60 miles from our home as a computer technician. I only worked there for a few months, but I met some inmates that were Mormons like I am. One of them hooked me up with the prison chaplain and asked that I start a "sunday school" class for the Latter-Day Saint inmates. I decided to do it and a friend of mine, who had spare time and income on his hands, got involved with it as well. Many Saturdays, we would make the drive to the prison in my friend truck, spend some time with a handful of inmates, and drive back, which took up the bulk of the day.
It was a marvelous experience and I can say that some of my most enduring spiritual experiences happened in a tiny, cinder-block room in the bowels of the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility (GCCF)!
Sadly, as the years passed, I guess my friend got burned out and dispirited as our favorite prison chaplain died of cancer and the cost of travel and time was taking a toll on my family and causing a few problems, so our prison visits came to an end.
I don't remember when we stopped visiting at the prison, so I don't know how long it has been since I did it, but it has been a long while. A few months ago, I got the impression to look up what the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) had on its website about prison services and was quite impressed with the progress made. When we started fifteen years ago, there was very little guidance and we were basically on our own. I said something to my wife, looked up what prisons were nearby, and dropped the subject.
Then, one of our high councilors came and spoke at our ward and I had an impression to ask him what the stake was doing for prison services. He surprised me by saying that they were just getting something pulled together and that they would love to have someone who had some experience or even interest in doing this! I was hooked up with another man who the stake had identified and finally got on the phone with him last night.
So, I am getting back involved with LDS Prison Services after a bit of a hiatus and it seems to be motivated by the Lord. Perhaps there will be more on this in future posts.