Angel here!  This past weekend I was locked up for 13 hours behind bars at the Daviess County Detention Center. It was quite a different experience than you might think-->

I don't think anyone wakes up and says "I think I'll go to jail today" but I did Saturday morning.  Residents Encounter Christ, a group of 21 women with a heart for the Lord entered the gates of DCDC and spent a better part of the day shoulder to shoulder with the both federal and state female inmates.

Now, before anyone gets their feathers ruffled (not that I would mind) these women were given the opportunity to sign up, they did not have to go.  Twenty-four female inmates learned they are not defined by the mistakes they've made, those jail walls, or those horribly colored yellow and green jumpsuits they have to wear.

It's funny to think when you go into something like this you often think you will be the one teaching but I learned way more than I bargained for.  These women are mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, they are talented, intelligent, funny, loving, and the hardest of all they are broken souls.

We spent the day learning how much God loved each one of us even during our very worst times.  I watched some of the hardest hearts I have ever seen, melt under the idea that someone might really love them.

The women heard 4 different testimonies throughout the day and then at each table we were given time to discuss our thoughts.  One young lady, we will just call her E, stated when asked "what is one thing you miss and hope to gain from today?" She said "LOVE"  she told our group she has never ever felt love from any one person in her whole life.  She told us in the years she has been locked up she has never once received a letter or call from anyone.  As I type tears fill my eyes thinking of not ever feeling love.

Another lady described love to her as "jail letters" she said they look forward to hearing from others on the outside.  Some women never ever get mail.  I had often seen this play out on movies and stuff but never actually took into account how it really might weigh on an actual person (not an actor).

I will be completely honest when I say I wasn't too excited about spending my Saturday away from family.  I mean I wanted to do it and have the opportunity.  I just wasn't sure how I felt.  As the day came to a close and I knew my time with my new found friends was ending tears streamed from my face uncontrollably.  No matter how much I tried it wouldn't stop.  They became family, a vested interest, a part of my heart, of all our hearts.  We bonded.  We broke down barriers.  God changed hearts.

One of my favorite parts of the day was the beginning when we did an exercise called "new found friend" we paired off and learned as much as we could about one person at our table and then we presented them to the rest of the group.  As I told the young lady about myself I told her where I worked and what I did.  She paused and said sooooo YOU'RE ANGEL LIKE CHAD AND ANGEL!?  I said yes I am and she exclaimed "we listen to you all every morning!"  I smiled and felt like a superstar!

This weekend is something I will never ever forget.  It is a first for me and you better believe given the chance to head back to jail I will in a heartbeat.  I miss my friends, they have stayed on my mind since the moment I left them.  I wonder how they are doing, what they are thinking, I pray we glorified God.  I never imagined missing someone I just met and have only known for a few hours as much as I do.

A very big THANK YOU to Chaplain Herzog and the rest of the staff at the Daviess County Detention Center for allowing us to be a part of these ladies lives.  A very special thank you to the women who worked tirelessly to plan the day for all of us.

I AM FOREVER CHANGED~

I wanted to share one other special part of the day.  We did skits and posters to talk about our time together.  One of the ladies literally wrote this poem off the cuff as we sat at the table...AMAZING

Angel Welsh