Change of Heart
By Mandy Nevarez
It has been a little over a year now that I have been working with the incarcerated juveniles here in Tulare county. It has been both a blessing and a challenge at the same time. The ministry to the youth is nothing like that of working with the women in our jails. As the chaplain, I work with the youth more on a one on one basis, and at their request.
A few months ago, I met a young man who wanted to do our Bible study program. As an incentive, when a youth finishes a packet of our studies, I am able to provide him with a Randy Alcorn comic Bible. These are donated to the facilities by Randy Alcorn and have an awesome impact in the jails, especially with the youth. This young man began with the intention of receiving the comic Bible, but over time, he continued to do additional Bible studies, learning more about faith in Jesus.
Last week, after I had returned from vacation, he told me, “I am ready to change my life.” He went on to tell me that the people who he thought were his friends, he knew now really weren’t, and when he got out of jail he wanted to change his life for good. I was so excited to hear the sincerity in his voice. I could tell he had spent time thinking about this choice.
I know the reason God has placed me in the jails to minister the gospel is because people can change, and God loves the broken. Imagine, the Lord changing a heart at such a young age. He does not have to continue with the same path he was on into adulthood, and I told him, by allowing God to change his life now, he can put it all behind him.
I want to tell anyone who reading this, there is hope in Christ Jesus, and it is not too late to allow Him into your life. It is written, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ,” (Romans 3:23; 6:23). In a world where there is so much uncertainty, I want to encourage you to put your faith in Jesus. He is the rock in which we can build our life, a firm foundation that will never fail.
I had an opportunity to speak with several other youths on that same day. Many of them are so broken and misguided. Please be in prayer with me for our incarcerated youth, and the officers and staff who work with them. God wants to do a mighty work in their lives, as well as in our community.