Life has not worked out as you had planned it. School just didn’t capture your attention very much and you got so far behind that you dropped out. The career you really longed for is unattainable because you didn’t finish high school; therefore, you had to settle for almost anything. Meanwhile that dream career sits inside of you gnawing at you constantly like hunger pangs that will never be satisfied. You received very little encouragement from home; in fact, you were abused physically and emotionally so much that you adopted the idea that, that was normal. Your life has very little meaning and it is so painful you have thought about ending it many times.
If you are a male, you have some friends who have a plan on how to get some quick cash to help you pay some of your bills. There is a risk but it is also very exciting if you can get away with it. The plan is to sell drugs. There are no taxes to pay and it is a cash business. Unfortunately it is only a matter of time when the illegal activity catches up with you and you are arrested and incarcerated. It looks as though you will be there and miss Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year celebration, birthdays and Mother’s Day.
Those, so called, friends don’t have anything to do with you now that you are in jail. Your family doesn’t come visit you. You feel totally abandoned. You may not see your children because their mother doesn’t want to bring them to the facility and see you locked up.
If you are a female the outlook isn’t any better. Without job skills you cannot pay bills. You may live with a male who physically abuses you but, in your mind, you have no other choices. Your boy friend uses drugs now and then and offers you some to help you cope with life. Soon you are physically in need of those drugs because your body has developed a pocket inside that cannot be satisfied by anything else.
In order to buy your next fix you have to do something you said you would never do. Your boyfriend offers you to an associate for sexual pleasure in exchange for money or drugs. Soon it becomes a way of life and the cycle appears never to be broken. Eventually it also catches up to you and you are arrested for prostitution or purchasing drugs illegally. You are incarcerated. In addition, you find yourself to be pregnant but now you are pregnant in jail. As is in the above story you will miss your other child’s first Christmas, all holidays with family and other important life events.
Although the stories above don’t have individual’s names they are played out every day of every year. There are more stories than can be told. It is true that no one made them do those things and that we are all responsible for our actions. The Bible says, “We reap what we sew.” That is an incredibly strong statement, yet it is true no matter what your belief or lack of belief is. Today we’d say, “What goes around comes around.”
700,000 prisoners are released back into society each year. The sad fact is that 67 percent of them will be re-arrested. This number shows what little hope inmates have outside of prison walls. Much of that is due to the fact that they have lost the place where they lived because they couldn’t pay rent while incarcerated. Much of their belongings were lost due to the same situation and they have to start all over again. Yes, that is part of consequences. It is a consequence of poor choices. If you don’t have any place to go to you will be desperate to do anything to get money to start again. That will lead you right back to the lifestyle you know best, illegal means, and that puts you right back in jail.
Jail Ministry of Otsego County (JMOC) works to share God’s love with these men and women and help disciple and equip them for life inside and outside the walls.
JMOC collaborates with churches, volunteers, and ministries to recruit, train, and support those who enter the prisons to share God’s love and hope.
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
Our ministry seeks to help people change their thinking and poor patterns of lifestyle that continue to cause pain, both emotionally and physically.
You may be asking yourself, “What can I do? I’m just one person.”
- You can pray for the volunteers who minister to inmates. Pray for wisdom and Spiritual insight.
- You can search locally for a jail ministry near you and volunteer your services.
- You can donate to our “Gifts from the Heart” Christmas outreach to children of inmates.
- You can support JMOC monetarily with a single contribution or on a regular basis. Note: if you are a member of a church do not give us money in place of supporting your local church!
- You don’t need to be a Pastor or have a Bible college degree to minister to those who are in need.
Feel free to contact us to learn more or discuss what you have seen here.