Singing the Prison Blues

WKCC Photo by Tracey Lewis

Once a month some members of our church and the pastor visit the women in prison at Western Kentucky Correctional Complex. This time I got a surprise as we approached the tower to enter. I heard my name being called from above, so I looked up and there was my good friend, Jeanette Owens, whom I worked with about a year ago. Recently, they had to fire a bunch of people because the government grant was given to another organization; so many had to find other employment. Imagine my surprise to hear a familiar voice calling out my name. As we entered the tower, I was being ribbed by other guards saying they were to watch out for the lady in the red coat carrying a guitar, only to find out Jeanette had told them to mess with me.

Our visit fell on the weekend of Thanksgiving and we were eager to share with them a feast of thanks. I promised them last month that I would learn a new song and bring my guitar and play for them. The song I felt like the Lord laid on my heart to play was “Just as I am, without one plea.” Most people know that song and I thought maybe they could sing along.

Our group consisted of David Farmer, Carl Snyder, Louie and I. We divided into two groups; one group goes to MSU which is the part of the prison that is minimum security. The part of the prison we go to is called the Compound, which is surrounded by razor wire and two layers of fence. David went first and shared with the ladies words of encouragement. Carl was next. The ladies always enjoy hearing Carl because he always speaks from his heart about witnessing to others. He encourages the ladies to be bold in the name of Jesus and tell others about what Jesus did for them. So, then it was my turn. I was a little nervous about playing a new song but not as nervous as I was the first time. In my heart I felt the Lord guide me into sharing a word with them first. I went through some scripture about what I am thankful for; an example of what I said was about how I was thankful God raised Jesus from the dead. Many people in this world go to war and die for their country, but none of them have been raised from the dead. The story doesn’t stop at Jesus being raised from the dead because He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father. The Holy Spirit was sent to indwell redeemed man so that we can be the hands and feet of God. Thank you, Jesus!!!

So, here was my chance to rock the house, impress the socks off them, and show off the talented skills at acoustic guitar. Okay, well, lets’ just say, it was interesting. I started off with a fast lick that made them laugh and after getting familiar with how it sounded in there, I attempted to play, “What a mighty God we serve.” It was okay, but not fast enough. My second attempt was amazing grace, which, by the way sounded awesome when I was playing to my cats in the living room before I left. Finally, the true test of the new song I played slowed and then it turned sweet. They loved it, so I played one that I knew really well to redeem myself. I am teasing with all this talk, but I did want to say they love when we come and share Jesus with them. We love it too. We know its hard being there on Thanksgiving without their families. That’s what made me think I could practice some prison time blues to play for them next time.

Written by Tracey


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