Here is an amazing true story of hope and victory; of the transformative power of the Lord Jesus Christ:

The Angola prison, Louisiana’s State Penitentiary, has over 50% inmates serving life sentences and some are on death row. About 90% of the inmates know that they will never leave the prison. This prison once had the reputation of being one of the bloodiest prisons in the United States. Blood stains were all over the walls and floors from brutal attacks between inmates, even between guards and inmates. On admission inmates were give a dagger to protect themselves with. It was a horrible place to be incarcerated in. But around the mid-1990s drastic change came to the prison when Burl Cain became warden. Cain insisted he would only take the job on his own terms, which were granted to him. From the outset Cain introduced regular Bible studies and worship services for inmates. There would be no more swearing among inmates or employees, no more cursing. Then the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary began offering degrees in ministry to inmates and now many of them have theological qualifications, sometimes even more advanced than some of the people who go to minister to them. Inmate missionary programs have spread to other prisons in the state with inmates traveling to speak at other prisons. Currently the prison has over 1,500 Christians among inmates. Violent gangs have been transformed into gangs of pastors ministering to other inmates. Visitors to the prison are greeted by these words at the gate: “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,” (Philippians 3:13). A hospice program has been set up by inmates to treat and comfort the sick and dying. There is a new dignity to the prison funeral services: cardboard boxes have been replaced by wooden caskets made by inmates. The late wife of world evangelist, Billy Graham, was buried in a casket made at Angola prison. Dr. Graham’s own casket will also be made by the same inmates. No more catcalls are heard when female visitors enter the prison, no matter how attractive. Bible verses have replaced the blood stains on the walls and Bibles are everywhere. Inside the death chamber, on two adjacent walls, are two paintings, one about Daniel in the lions’ den. The other about Elijah ascending to heaven in a chariot of fire. I will let you meditate on the implications of these paintings. Suffice it to say that since Jesus was introduced into the institution, the ambience has changed tremendously. Surprisingly, prisoners are among the population groups Jesus wants us to have compassion for (Matthew 25:43) and Cain is doing just that and more…God accomplishes spectacular things through willing ordinary people. Please check this out as well: http://youtu.be/9TOcHIb8N5k

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