detention center doors


December 2, 2022


Walking through the doors, I knew the unfamiliar awaited me. After a couple of minutes of placing my puffer jacket into a locker and signing in, I found myself waiting to be let in through the first set of doors. There are several sets of doors to get up to the pods and waiting to be let in through them does not come naturally to me. Thankfully the guys in the control room spot me and a volunteer on one of their roughly seventy-five cameras and within another couple of minutes we’re riding up a level to our destination.

I’ve forgotten the tour I was just on a couple of weeks ago, but figure out quickly when I’m let in through the next door that I am standing in the girl’s secure pod. There are 7 total pods in the West Central Regional Juvenile Detention Center and if I’m honest, I’m most comfortable entering this one. I learned beforehand that some of the pods are labeled as non-secure and within these pods are kids and teens who are there because they have nowhere else to go. More on that in a future post.

The reality is that most of the girls I am now sitting around two square tables with have, in some form, experienced what they should never have to. The girls may be wearing matching navy sweat suits, but their different personalities instantly appear. A couple of minutes of introductions and now I’m in front of another door… but it’s not locked and it’s not metal.

It’s the door that God has opened to share His Word and His love with teenagers who desperately need it. It’s a door of opportunity… immense opportunity.

Here I am getting to teach these girls about who God is and His truth for their lives. They have chosen to be a part of this time of Bible study and for whatever reason that may be… they are listening… they are hearing… and I am praying they will understand.

The Word of God does not return void (Is. 55:11). Each week, multiple times a week, we are able to enter through locked doors with a message that has the power to change the course of their lives. We are answering their questions about God, praying with them, listening to them, and planting seeds of faith.

As I turn to exit, I glance back and take a look at the pod. I pray that the presence of God would fill it and thank God for the opportunity He has given us… however brief or long… to reach these youth for Christ.