There have been some amazing events in the jail ministry this past week. These events involve donations from one of the KJM mission workers, who has been donating socks, reading glasses, board games, underwear, and books. Let me tell you about one such event, a sign from the LORD (see Isa 7:11).

Guards in the jail will often ask us for items to give to the inmates. For example: “Chaplain, do you have an envelope, I would like to bring it to an inmate on the other side of the jail who asked me for one.” So, we never have carried reading glasses on our carts that we bring up into the cell areas for ministry, until last week. There have been some shifts with the jail ministry through the past months, which have led to us being able to more easily bring suitable plastic reading glasses to inmates, and give them to inmates who are in need. So, let me walk you through the a series of events that happened, surrounding handing out reading glasses.

In the jail ministry, the LORD takes meaningless things (Eccl 1:2) and reveals Himself through them, like a pair of reading glasses. (This is a bit like Phillip and the piece of cloth in Acts 19:12-15) So, receiving a donation of reading glasses from the aforementioned KJM mission worker, which contained reading glasses, I found ,interesting, because this partner frequently asks me what he can buy for the inmates, and reading glasses have never once been part of the discussion. When I received them, it was completely unexpected, I thought it was a mistake. For that reason, they sat on my desk in our office for a few days, since I did not know what to do with them.

But after a few days, the LORD placed a thought in my mind, that I found myself pondering. I was thinking: Why would the LORD have those glasses delivered to me, in that way, if they were not needed by KJM? And then not long after, a second preoccupation in my mind followed: maybe there’s been a change, and I can handout glasses. So, after a few days, I reached out to the jail staff, we talked, and learned that I could hand them out. What a blessing! This marked a start to the first time in all my years of jail ministry that we can hand out reading glasses this easily. So, I put the donated reading glasses on my cart, and went up to the jail floor for a number of hours.

So, I worked with the inmates through the afternoon, and on the way back down to our office at the end of the day, a sergeant asked me for some reading glasses for an inmate. I am sure he was not aware of our KJM change in handing out reading glasses. And my cart was too far away, he would not have seen them (they were covered in a box, anyway). Later, on my drive home, I thought to myself, I’ve never had reading glasses before to hand out, and that was the first time any officer or any jail personnel ever asked me for a pair so they could hand them out.

What are the chances? Trillions and trillions to one–in other words, this was a display of the work of the LORD, not a chance event. That is a sign that could have been missed, but in recent years, I have been asking the LORD to help me notice His works (see John 14:11, Isa 26:12, and Col 4:2), and not miss them, and therefore, the LORD brought this back to my mind, so that I could be amazed, that the first day ever that I can carry reading glasses to hand out to inmates, is the first day ever that any jail personnel have asked me for them. They ask me for things for the inmates every day, but never reading glasses, till that first day I had them.


Lead Chaplain, Founder, Kalamazoo Jail Ministry