It all started just a year ago. The school in which I teach English and stress management was approached by a prison in the region with the aim of expanding their training offer to male prisoners, who want to expand their knowledge and practices in the diversified fields and thus increase their chances of social and professional reintegration as soon as they get out.
I accepted the challenge because of what it was at first, convinced that God was offering me a special opportunity to serve even more. The news having arrived a few weeks before the beginning of my teaching activities, I prayed a lot: “That the participants to the courses will be thirsty souls for God,” “And that I may be an instrument of his peace and a channel of his love by which God manifests himself and will be manifested.”
The days before the beginning of this activity, I was overwhelmed by multiple emotions including the fear of confinement and the doubt of my ability to see prisoners as sons of God. To be conscious that the person is not his behavior and that everyone is indwelt with a divine fragment which is the individualisation of the Father’s love for his creatures, was of great help to me.
On March 6, 2017, the experience begins. I enter this place devoid of human warmth, harmony, comfort, sweetness, joy, tolerance and love. This place is an obvious consequence of the failure of an entire society that neglects the core values of family and education.
I immediately realize the will of God being with me, working through me and in me to humbly serve my fellow men. Fear dissolves instantly giving way to the reception, without barriers, of these men between 20 and 45 years, eager for evolution.
Very quickly this course of forty hours of stress management becomes the learning ground for self-knowledge and self-awareness on a human level, favoring and increasing the moral values essential to acquiring and developing the birth of the morontial man. Regularly I repeat to them: “The doors of the prison are closed, however you can open the doors of your conscience and observe the effects.”
I tell them that I pray for them and that others are praying too; namely the members of the Dakar group, the members of the circle of conscience I have been leading for fifteen years, and Guy from Canada. They all accept these prayers with great enthusiasm, surprised by all this devotion to them, as they no longer feel worthy of any consideration!
The stress management course takes, in less than three meetings, a turn that I did not expect: God is really at the center of our sharing. Muslims, Protestants and Catholics agree: God lives within them and they want to know Him.
On June 14, an additional step is taken. People participating and working in the circle of conscience and trust, relying on the incomparable teachings of The Urantia Book, accompany me to the prison. This meeting creates a real shift in everyone. The external actors—these strangers—experience the immediate dissolution of their prejudices relating to the prisoners and they realize how much these prejudices exist in their minds and hearts. They realize that with God, in God and by God, we are truly all brothers and sisters in the spirit. The two and a half hour session is held in an atmosphere of joy, peace, harmony, mutual respect and conviviality to the point that we all forget that we are in this place called prison.
Since then, the prison director has given me permission to maintain the circle of conscience and trust on Sunday mornings as a voluntary work and to be accompanied by anyone wishing to participate. Guy from Canada has been with us since the end of October, and his presence enhances, through his experience, the quality of the exchanges. Our Senegalese brothers shared written prayers that deeply moved our brothers in prison and deeply touched them in their beautiful and goodness-expanding souls.
A fraternity has been created and is evolving. Thank you, God for living within each one of us, and by your divine presence, making this morontial brotherhood possible.
lazaragnescarla at gmail-dot-com