Recently as Earlene Leming of the CA Aglow Prison Ministry stood between three “grads” in the living room of the Southern Area Field Coordinator’s home singing Christmas Carols together, her mind was fixed on another Christmas thirty years ago in a tiny Prison Chapel.
It was December of 1984. The Chaplain at CRC asked if I would come and lead the women in singing Christmas Carols. Aglow had just held our very first prison ministry meeting in November, and since I had been helping the Chaplain all year, I suppose he was confident I would do this for him too. I had led Christmas choirs, dramas, and many children’s programs for both school and church events, so I was delighted!
The experience turned out to be a night I will remember for the rest of my life. God brought a tender revelation into my heart through those Christmas songs which I will treasure forever! The women were already waiting in the small Prison Chapel when I arrived. I think we had a list of carols to choose from, and I remember praying first before I sat down to the piano. As we began to sing together, we immediately sensed the sweet presence of Jesus in that little room.
After singing a few songs, I looked up from the piano into the women’s faces and realized most everyone was crying. I felt awful, worried that it was just too emotional to keep singing. I stood up trying to make a difficult situation easier and said, “If this makes you sad, we can sing other choruses or hymns tonight.”
Immediately several answered, "Oh no! Don’t stop. We love these songs!" Then one of the strong Christian girls simply said, "Earlene, we are crying because it’s the first time we understand what the WORDS mean. We KNOW Jesus now." We continued singing and they even asked if we could sing all the verses. It was such a precious way to experience God’s Love.
As a Kingdom Community, Aglow International is absolutely committed to the Core Value of:
- God’s Presence - Creating an atmosphere and environment of worship for the presence of God to be encountered.