Heart Of Gratitude

Sarah Rodriguez
By Sarah Rodriguez

Recently, along with my husband Raul joined Disciples 4 Christ on their 4th Annual Hygiene Blessing Bag Ministry Trip.

Our mission assemble 3000 bags by noon. Not only did the bags have to be assembled, but counted out into dorm sections. Each offender was blessed to receive body wash, toothpaste, and a deodorant, along with other Christmas goodies. Once the bags were assembled the men volunteers went dorm to dorm passing out the bags, while the women volunteers decorated the Chapel for Christmas.

Later my husband Raul shared with me about seeing their “house”; how several of the men looked too young to be in prison and how these men showed more gratitude and thankfulness for things we take for granted.

As the men in white started coming into the chapel, we began playing some old time worship songs along with John and Jason from Theos Ministry who led praise and worship. I saw these men stand, clap and sing. We sang some Christmas carols and then began the worship songs. There were times when I was so overwhelmed by the power and the presence of God, that I could no longer play. I could only stand and sing with my hands lifted. I could only worship God! I looked up and saw hundreds of men, huge in size, tattooed from literally head (face included) to toe, standing with hands lifted high eyes closed, singing louder than us. They were passionately worshiping God.

At that moment, I was no longer in a room full of convicted criminals but a room filled with angels worshiping God. I was so humbled, how could God use me? How could He put me in such a place as this? I am so undeserving. I was truly honored to have been chosen by God to be in this place at this time in my life. I later sang a duet with an offender named Mario. We sang “Mary Did You Know?” a song I couldn’t stand to hear anymore, yet, when we sang it together those words became real and alive to me.

After this weekend, I am in tears even now, at the beauty God has done. I feel as though a hand has reached inside me, pulling out every darkness I kept inside, and replaced it with fire and passion for Jesus that I have never known. I was sexually abused when I was young, yet I could look upon these men, knowing that they had done something like that to someone else, and felt compassion and love for them.

I pray that God reveals Himself to all of you the way He has to me. I pray that we all can look at ourselves and all that we have in life, and be truly thankful for what He has done.

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