“I Just Loved the Group”

Posted on by COYFC

By Kate Ryan
JJM Chaplain

“Ms. Kate, can we please keep doing Bible groups? You don't even have to bring snacks. I just loved the group.”

“Joel” spoke those words after a recent week-long Bible 411 program we hold at the Juvenile Detention Center. Satara Hairston, a JJM Chaplain, led the youth in daily Bible teachings and discussions on the life of David.  The teens were clearly interested and came to the classroom each day listening, filling out the worksheets, asking relevant questions and participating in the discussion. 

At the beginning of the week, Satara gives the youth memory verses which they are invited to recite at the party on the last day either by directly quoting scripture or interpreting its meaning through a rap or poem. The poems and raps moved me deeply as I witnessed their unique, God-given creativity to express in a deep and personal way what the verses meant to them.

After the event wrapped up on Friday Joel pulled me aside to ask about continuing the program. His simple request struck me because food is often the motivation for attendance, especially in a place where the meals are designed for survival not enjoyment. So, the fact that he specifically requested the group without needing the food reflects how God moved in these young people’s hearts throughout the week.

Joel was not a believer when we started Bible 411. In fact, he didn’t believe he could ever be forgiven because he’s “done too much.” But the lessons about David’s sin and God’s forgiveness impacted him deeply. Just three days after Bible 411 Joel prayed with one of our male chaplains to receive Christ’s forgiveness into his life.

Joel left the Center shortly after this. But we’re thankful that he now has the Holy Spirit within him and the knowledge that God has forgiven him in spite of his doubts.

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