by Glenn Craig, Juvenile Justice Ministry Director (Miami, FL – United States)
On July 1, I started my 37th year with Miami Youth For Christ. I am so thankful for all the opportunities that I’ve had to share the gospel with dejected teens in the detention center. These young men and women are incarcerated for serious crimes such as murder, carjacking, home invasion, and robberies. But that’s not what I remember most about them — instead, I remember their stories.
Their stories often break your heart. Many don’t have fathers in their lives and live in very dangerous areas. They often struggle with drug
addiction and depression. They believe there is a God but usually don’t have a day-to-day relationship with Him. Even so, they are hungry for Bibles and Gospel tracts, and each week 15-20 youth ask for one-on-one prayer time with our volunteers.
A few weeks ago, my co-worker Ronnie and I were in Mod 7 at the Detention Center. I told the young men that I had trusted Christ as my
Savior at the age of 10 when my mother shared John 3:16 with me in a personal way.
She would quote the verse saying, “For God so loved GLENN that he gave his one and only son, so that if GLENN believes in him, GLENN will not perish but have eternal life.” On the eve of March 16, I trusted Christ as my Savior, and I shared with the boys that I wanted salvation more than anything else.
At that point I said to the teens, “I don’t know if any of you want it but I definitely did.”
At that moment, Juan* yelled out, “I WANT IT!”
Oh, the joy that filled my heart when I heard those words. Juan wanted the freedom and life of the Gospel so much that he wasn’t embarrassed to cry out in the middle of a session, in front of 20 other young men. He knew, in that moment, that he wanted and needed God’s salvation.
After the session Juan and I talked. With tears in his eyes, he prayed to trust Christ as his Savior. I gave him a Bible and told him to start reading the book of John. As I was leaving the area, I saw him reading his Bible.
I left rejoicing and knew the angels in heaven were also rejoicing over one sinner who repented, one sinner who knew exactly what he wanted and needed that night.
*name has been changed