There's a small church in Russia that is in the hometown of former Russian president, Boris Yeltsin. The lay pastor of that church is Lydia Istomina. This little church wanted to show their love toward others by starting a prison ministry, but they had problems getting it started. The prison staff told Lydia that the program was a waste of time. The men in prison, the officials told her, were hardened criminals who weren't interested in church. However, Lydia and her group persisted. Finally, they were allowed to enter the prison to pray with the prisoners.
The results of this prison ministry surprised everyone, including Lydia. The men were very receptive to the church's ministry. One day Lydia placed a call to their sister church in Louisiana. "The prisoners want us to baptize them and have regular services," she said. "Shall I baptize them?" Yes, of course, she was told, she should baptize them. And the prison ministry entered a new phase.
In the last two years, Lydia Istomina has baptized over 200 prisoners. The pastor from Louisiana visited last summer and baptized 49 men himself during his stay. Lydia and 20 members of the church's choir visit the prison every Sunday to lead prayer and worship. The prisoners who are now Christians make regular offerings from the rubles they earn making products in the prison shop. Their offering goes back to the little church for outreach ministries to orphans.
What is God calling you to do to share his love?