So yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Mission Creek prison! We’ve been waiting for a few weeks for them to do background checks so that we would be able to go into the prison. We walked through the grounds to their library building (the prison actually used to be a school! ha ironic…) our little “church room” was cozy. We set up chairs and we had a program set up just like a regular sacrament meeting. There were about 10 women there. We had an opening hymn and prayer and then one of the women who had been attending for a majority of her 3 years that she had been in prison bore her testimony because this was her last Sunday before she was released. She knows that this gospel is true and she is so grateful for the atonement and the strength she has received to get over the addictions that she has been suffering with. She is going to get baptized when she gets released! After she was finished, Sister Clayson and I talked to the women about “Surrendering to God”. One quote that we shared with them was from “The fourth Missionary” It says:
“In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give that the Lord does not already have. If you give your time, and your strength, you give only that which He grants to you with each beat of your heart and each breath that you draw. If you dedicate your gifts and talents, you only return to Him what He has already given to you. If you pay tithing you only return to Him a tenth of what he has already given to you. Everything that you have to give to the Lord has its origin in Him, except one thing: your will. He does not have your heart, nor your mind, unless you give them to him. It is the only gift you have to offer that He does not already have. And so when you give yourself, you truly give Him everything.”
We had a great discussion about how we do that and it was so cool to teach these women who were so humbled. There is no pride in prison… They soaked up everything we told them and were so excited to hear about the relationship that they can have with their Heavenly Father. They were very curious to hear about why we were on missions and what that entailed. But the number one “Take away” from going to the prison yesterday came from an older lady who bore her testimony at the end. At one point she looked down at the Book of Mormon in her hands and with tears in her eyes she said that she wishes so badly that she had the Book of Mormon and the gospel while she was growing up to guide her because she wouldn’t be where she is right now if she did…… Wow. That hit me pretty hard. I DID have it while I was growing up. I had the guidance that she didn’t. I am SO LUCKY. She wishes with all her heart that she could have had the direction that I’ve been blessed to have my whole life. I’ve tried to picture what my life would have been without the blessing of this gospel in my life and for a moment I saw it. I’m not saying that if I wasn’t raised in this church, that I would be addicted to drugs and in prison, we don’t know what the situation would be. But I know that my life would be 100% different. I am so grateful that my parents knew how important it was to raise their kids in the gospel… That woman also talked about how she regrets letting her children decide their “own path” and had no religion in her home and now her kids are suffering for that. This gospel has shaped my life and has already made it much more than I could have made it on my own. I have thanked my Heavenly Father every day on my mission for allowing me to have the blessing of having the knowledge of the gospel in my life but after hearing this woman talk about not having it… I’m a lot more thankful.
I know this church is true. I love it 🙂 I love sharing this happy message of the way back to Heavenly Father with people every day. I love you all! Have a great week.
-Sister Hailey Gehring