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compartilhando as boas -novas

The day I preached on DEATH ROW in the USA

When I turned 30, I went out to walk with the Holy Spirit and started to question my singleness.

“If only I had been married in my early twenties…with kids and maybe doing missions somewhere…” and At that moment the Holy Spirit interrupted my thinking and

"...You wouldn't have gone to death row to preach My Gospel."

In that second a silence took over my mind and my heart and the Holy Spirit began to remind me of that day.

official photo of the BSSM seminar inside the prison.

It was late February 2017 during my seminar in California, the Lord led me to gather a team of students for a prison ministry trip at Huntsville Unit in Texas.

Everyone knows that my heart goes out to women who live in prostitution and vulnerable children to know Christ, but the life vow I made to the Lord was "take me to the darkest places, that Jesus may be proclaimed." At an invitation from the tour leader, mission pastor at Bethel Church, she told me the following verse: “I was naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to see me.” Matthew 25:36. She told me that this was a command that Jesus himself gave us.

So I embarked on this journey with Jesus.

We visited several prisons, from women's units to juvenile offenders. We taught a BSSM seminar inside the prison and a meeting with all Texas prison directors with the secretary of state for public safety. In this meeting there was a former Baptist minister who was director of the only prison in Texas to have a “Death Row”, death row.

So after one of the ex-inmates shared his testimony of transformation into Jesus at the meeting when he was exchanging discipleship letters with the current Pastor of Jesus Culture Banning Liebscher and that those letters radically changed his life and made him surrender to Christ and be transformed by the Holy Spirit, this former Baptist pastor invited us to visit the maximum security penitentiary unit in the USA (the local ministry that received us for ministry had been praying for years for us to enter this unit and God faithfully granted the visit).

I remember it was a Wednesday when we visited that place, we entered the unit around 8:00 am (Getting a visa and going through US immigration was easier than the security of this prison). ears “No message or current external situation passes from here, or any message from the inmates to the outside. If that happens you will join them for another eight years.”

So everything that I will talk about from now on will be something that was agreed with the leaders of the trip together with the US local government, I could only publish this story after the death of the boy we preached the gospel to in the prison.

During our visit, we prayed for some incarcerated and some were healed of backaches, headaches, and even depression. But in the middle of the visit the director talked to our pastor, she only said to us, eleven BSSM seminarians, “After these gates, maybe you will be the last people they will ever see, besides the police, lawyers and reporters.. ..” .

We pass through several gates and once again a check. Then the director said "You are on death row, for more than two years no chaplain has come to visit this place".

I, Elaine, didn't understand anything, but it only dawned on me when I saw the room where they give the lethal injection... I WAS ENTERING ONE OF THE MOST OPPRESSIVE PLACES I'VE EVER BEEN. We entered the pavilion, the inmates were screaming, banging on the screen saver window and spouting all kinds of profanity you could imagine....

So we started doing small prayer groups (from 4 to 6 people) so that each team could pray for an inmate.

At that moment the policeman said “Does anyone here speak Spanish?” the pastor said “to Nany! You Brazilians speak Portuguese, but you can understand Spanish...” - I knew that it was the Holy Spirit who had chosen this trip for me, so I didn't hesitate to answer “Yes, I can help...”. So going up the pavilion with about 4 more students and a policeman, he started to explain to us. That we had 10 minutes with the boy, he couldn't pass on information or give his opinion on his crime and I had to translate everything as I understood in Spanish.... He spoke a little Spanish, so we asked Espírito Santo for help to always command that date.

Every person sentenced to death in the USA gives an interview to the BBC, if you want to watch his interview click here.

Arriving at the inmate's cell, we introduce ourselves and ask if he would like a prayer. He said yes and started to tell the crime he was there for... He had killed a police officer in an attempted robbery situation, he had left his daughter in Mexico with her mother (we were told not to comment or give an opinion about the case), I told him that we were all sinners and that Jesus had died for us, I asked again:

_ Do you want us to pray for something for you?


_ For my son and my mother, they are in Mexico and they don't know that I'm in prison, they will never see me again. I want my son to be a good judge and take care of my mother. She takes care of my son and may he be a good man, maybe a judge, just like you.

People from our team turned to cry, I held mine because I was leading the team. I remembered this passage and read him the following passage:

Ask, Seek, Knock

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Mt. 7:7-14

So I said:

_ You didn't ask anything for you, not justice or for God to take you out of here, but you asked for your son and your mother. Can you pray for them? And pray that you bless our work here today?

He replied:

_I'm catholic!?

I replied:

_No problem. Ask in Jesus name.

So he prayed, it was one of the most beautiful prayers I've ever heard. He held his hands and his tattooed body asking God to keep his family and bless these pastors who left their family to visit him.

A staff person led him to a prayer of forgiveness and salvation. A few moments later that pavilion was silent, three other teams prayed for others incarcerated. The Policeman who accompanied us said that he had worked there for almost five years, he had never seen that place with such profound peace and silence.

Jesus visited that place and the Holy Spirit touched in love, grace and mercy the most restless and troubled souls on the face of the earth.

And by His grace, and in the Spirit of submissive obedience, we were able to testify to Him in that place, so thus participating in "our Father's business through Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost" were these words which the Director of that unit blessed us.

Now, going back to the conversation I had with the Holy Spirit on that afternoon of walking... I could remember this testimony, He reminded me of my life vow “take me to the darkest places of this earth, so that Jesus may be contemplated”. When we have a mind that we are living for eternity, our time as singles is to bring us into greater full-time contemplation of the face of our Lord and the witness of Jesus Christ. For we are creating a bank of blessing and grace in legacy for our family, whether it be through the blessing of marriage or family in Christ.

With Love Elaine Arruda. (Nany)

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