ANGOLA, La. (BP)--The gates shut as the volunteers walk past the rows of razor wire and an unsettling feeling of the macabre life envelops the group. Before they enter a tier of jail cells, the group pauses to pray for the grim-faced mugshots posted on the wall.
Photo by Stacey Billger
"I'm not an animal just because I'm locked up," an inmate later tells a volunteer. He'll spend the rest of his life behind bars until his execution day at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.
"Seeing these young men on death row locked up ... it's heartbreaking," said John Elliott, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Natchitoches, La. Even so, he said, "I'm glad I got be a part of this ... and share [the Gospel]."
More than 155 Louisiana Baptist volunteers prepared food, led revival services and participated in one-on-one evangelism in cells and dorms of prisoners during the annual Angola Revival.
The May 15-16 outreach began with a service in the prison's rodeo arena. The Real Encounter team, an extreme sports ministry based in Missouri, showcased their skills before giving a Gospel message and extending an invitation to turn to Christ.
A reported 105 decisions, including 66 professions of faith, were recorded during the revival, with the number of decisions expected to increase as volunteers report on their experiences during the outreach.
Some 5,200 inmates reside in Angola. For the 3,900 who live in dorms, volunteers ate lunch and visited with them in their dorms and on the yard. Read More