I had been at the BGCO for less than a couple of months when Paul Bettis, BGCO Chaplaincy Specialist, came to my office and gave me the opportunity to go on a “field trip”. I didn’t know much about Paul at the time, but I would quickly learn my idea of chaplaincy was pretty limited to what I knew about hospital chaplains.
My field trip destination was the Oklahoma County jail. This was not my idea of a fun field trip. I had never parked in the jail parking lot, much less walked the halls of a jail. Paul introduced me to Argyl Dick, a veteran chaplain who had many volunteers who sat face-to-face with those who had been incarcerated. It wasn’t until later in the year that I discovered Oklahoma has more women per capita in our prisons and jails than any other state in our country. I remember him making a comment, “You never know Kelly. God might just call you to be a prison chaplain.”
While I haven’t sensed a calling to commit a weekly time at the jail, I have learned a great deal about the various kinds of chaplains in our state. They are on our oil fields, our military bases, at biker rallies and in the midst of disaster relief. They are volunteers who have a heart to see people as the way God sees them–individuals He has created with a plan and a purpose.
I’m extremely grateful for the ministry of chaplains and with your support of the Oklahoma State Missions Offering, chaplaincy ministry is able to minister to a greater number of people who need to hear the Gospel.
And P.S.–about two years after my jail visit, I found myself entering the jail again for a chaplaincy visit. But this time it was a lot more personal. A high school friend had just been convicted of murder in a DUI case and was waiting her sentence. While it had been close to 30 years since we had seen each other, I was able to hold her hand, cry with her and pray for God to comfort her in the midst of a tragedy she wished had never happened. Without that first visit, I might not have considered going to see her. I’m glad I did. Because I was the one who received the blessing.