A Miraculous Time at Tehachapi State Prison
These are incarcerated men at the California Correctional Institution (CCI) in Tehachapi, and on November 10, 2007 they were praising and worshipping the LORD at CCI’s Chapel.
Many times we read about the astounding miracles chronicled in The Holy Bible. We wonder why we don’t witness miracles today. But we actually do.
We see adherents respond to altar calls on Sundays. We hear converts recite the sinner’s prayer during Wednesday services. We pray with the penitent at revivals. We pray for those to accept Jesus Christ during street ministries.
While we rejoice when people confess their sins, repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ in their lives, we may not appreciate the magnitude of their decision and resultant transformation.
When Jesus saves a person, that’s just as or more miraculous as when Jesus heals a person. The result of a Christ healed person is limited temporarily in the physical realm. The result of a Christ saved person extends forever in the spiritual realm.
It was inspiring to see among these men one miraculously transformed incarcerated individual singing on the Chapel of Brotherly Love’s praise and worship team. Melodies and harmonies emanated from his voice. Perspiration percolated on his forehead. He drummed a tambourine while he praised the LORD. He lifted both hands while he worshipped the LORD.
I later learned this same man killed three people many years earlier. He told me during our fellowship time that he could have gotten away with those triple murders. But he was raised in a Christian home. After committing that violent crime, the Holy Spirit convicted him to turn himself in —and that’s what he did.
Now he’s in prison for life. Seeing him was a miracle. I would have never believed, while watching him that he had such a violent past. Even though he is paying his debt to society while consigned to earth, he’s a new creature now. Old things are passed away. All things in his life had become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Many of these men who were incarcerated at CCI in Tehachapi —located about 45 miles northeast of Bakersfield— and attended the Chapel of Brotherly Love’s service that Saturday morning had similar stories in their troubled past, yet they were miraculously changed.
I counted 167 men who attended the Saturday morning service. Probably more attended the chapel the previous evening. About a dozen men accepted the LORD in their lives. Approximately 20 more men rededicated their lives. Our praise and worship team prayed for and prayed with many others.
The chaplain, clad in black standing on the platform in front of this picture, asked me to share The Testament Spectator with the men. They really liked the Bible newspaper concept. This 48-page, 125-story Testament Spectator edition reports the life, times and teachings of Jesus Christ. I donated 300 Testament Spectator Bible newspapers to them back then. I desire to donate my books to inmates now. (Note my March 25, 2022 “Requesting Help to Donate My Books to Inmates blog”).
My father, Ronald F. Owens, Sr., captured these events, which transpired those two days through his digital camera’s viewfinder. The picture atop this blog is one of them.
Seventeen members of our church group went to CCI in Tehachapi to feed the feeders, yet we were fed. We went there to minister to these incarcerated men, yet they ministered to us. We saw the miraculous work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ transform men’s lives, yet our lives were also transformed.
Many incarcerated men —some serving life sentences in prison there and elsewhere— are Christians called to minister to the lost. These men are walking miracles. As I fondly reflect all these years later we were humbled and honored to serve them at CCI in Tehachapi.
What: Book Signing
Where: It’s Nice 2 Bee (🐝) Nice Book Store, near entrance of Base Exchange, located at 5443 Dudley Blvd, Bldg 911, McClellan Park Sacramento, CA 95652.
When: 10:00 am, Friday, Sept. 2 and 10:00 am, Saturday, Sept. 3.
If you live in the Sacramento region, I invite you to come out and say hello. Thank you!