After twenty-two years of volunteering in our children’s school, our last child graduated in 2007. Knowing this event would signal a definite transition in my life, I had been thinking and praying about where God might now have me serve. Who would have guessed that I would end up teaching women’s Bible Studies in Silverdale Detention Facility…certainly not me! But, through a series of circumstances and after two training sessions, I found myself walking with fear and trembling through the checkpoint gates into a room filled with women inmates.
My fear and trembling was not for physical safety – I have never felt unsafe at Silverdale. No, my anxiety was over how these women would receive me. How could I possibly relate to them when my life’s trajectory has been so totally removed from their experiences? I found that God is fully sufficient (of course!) to bridge differences and to show me the commonalities between us all. Each of us longs for freedom from the bondage of guilt and past mistakes and for the life of wholeness that can only come in relationship with our loving Creator and Savior.
Turnover is constant at Silverdale and women usually move on quickly. As a result, we rarely get to see the “end of the story”. But what a joy it is to see the Holy Spirit at work when a woman begins to understand the truth of the gospel and the hope for real transformation! What a privilege to participate in the tilling of God’s garden, whether by preparing the soil, planting seed, or watering. And sometimes we see the fruit blossom! I’m grateful for the commitment of PPM to serve the incarcerated and thankful that God led me to be a part of this ministry.
Donna Smartt, PPM Volunteer
Prison Ministry Volunteer Form