Why I’ve spent the last 29 years in Lock-up. 

Bill Smith, Kalamazoo YFC


You might ask, “Wow Bill you must have done something really bad to get 29 years.  What did you do?”


Actually I did something really, really good!   I experienced healing and transformation in Jesus, and now I want others to be able to know Him. That’s one of the main reasons I’ve devoted the last 29 years of my life to ministering to young people in Lock-up.  Let me share a few other reasons why week after week, year after year I hang out with kids in our County Juvenile Home.


* Because, “If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.”  (John 8:36)  I know that Jesus can bring true freedom to these precious young lives.  He set me free from a life of emptiness and despair.  He set me free from things that would have ruined me and I know He can do it in their lives as well.  I’ve seen Him do it.  There is ultimate hope and freedom and healing in Jesus name.  That’s why!


* Because, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (John 10:10).  Our young people are under attack by an enemy who wants to deceive and destroy.  He does this with his lies.  We must bring them the truth of Jesus, and the truth of who He is.  He has abundant and new life for them but until they learn His story they will never know.  That’s why!


* Because of Dominique and others like him.  Dominique was on a sure path to destruction.  He was heavily involved in gang life.  He was a loaded gun ready to go off (he carried one).  One day he stole a car and flipped it as he tried to out run the Police.  He almost died in the accident.  So he finds himself in our County Juvenile sitting in our Chapel service hearing the good news of Jesus.  He is now a child of God.  He loves Jesus and reads His word every day.  He is now out and truly free.  We meet every week to study God’s word together.  He is working and just started College.  No more gang life but instead, new life in Jesus.


Now you can understand why I’ve spent the last 29 years in Lock-up.

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