Rejoicing in Heaven
By Martha Carpenter
I remember when my new neighbor, Kathleen Skaar, asked me if I would volunteer at CLI answering letters from inmates. She asked me 3 times before I thought I should see what this was all about. I had declined, at first, because I did not have any interest in inmates nor did I know how to write letters to them.
But God opened the door to a ministry of His Work that blessed me more than I ever could have imagined. The operative words are “blessed me”. As I read letters from inmates they became real people to me. Children of God. Their testimonies were full of sorrow and contrition; but most of all joy in their faith in Jesus Christ. Often it was like reading letters from the Apostle Paul. It wasn’t long before I started to look forward to my volunteer day each week because I knew I would be blessed and lifted up by those inmate testimonies! Answering the letters didn’t take skill; only love. The love we share for our Savior.
When CLI began the Leadership Bible studies, my twin sister, Mary, started coming every week to review them. She also felt the blessing of encouragement, both received and given. She went to be with the Lord in 2010. The last couple years of her life were filled with chemo treatments and doctor appointments. And the weekly appointment she kept as she came to CLI to review Bible studies. The last time she was physically able to come to the office, she brought a check to Kathleen. It was a donation of seed money for the Large Print Study Bibles; given to the inmates who complete the Leadership Bible study.
After Mary died, I updated my will and added CLI as a beneficiary of my estate. I also wanted to leave a legacy for CLI. God took me from disinterest in inmates to a profound realization of His great love and work in the hearts of broken men and women who are just like me. Saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ!
I look forward to someday rejoicing in heaven with our brothers and sisters who were behind bars; and meeting them face to face with Christ!
It is my sincere hope that many more people will remember CLI in their wills. What a blessing it has been to see how God is adding to His kingdom through the hearts, hands, and financial blessing of supporters of CLI who are loving one another in Jesus Christ our Lord!
If you are interested in learning on how you can use your legacy to sharing the love of Jesus Christ, you can read more about including CLI in your legacy here.