Spiritual awakening is taking place at a prison in Adrian, Mich.,
where chapel services are vibrant, and the inmates carry a burden
for lost people inside and outside the prison.
In a corner of the prison compound is a chapel that serves the
Gus Harrison Regional Facility and the Adrian Temporary Facility,
which sit side by side. On Sunday mornings, 160 men from ATF gather
for a 50-minute service.
Layman Jim Yeutter of Bethany Assembly of God in Adrian (Richard
Clay, pastor) began ministry at the twin facilities in July 1996.
He says hunger for God has been there from the start.
"[When I first came], the Holy Spirit was there and you could
sense it in their worship time," he says. "The level of
praise and worship would rise to the level I experienced in my own
church. The guys were pressing in and inviting the Holy Spirit there,
knowing that without Him the rest of the service wouldnt be
effective. We have to press in quickly to leave time for the Word.
Week by week, the level kept increasing. I started hearing them
talk about how they felt God was going to use them to bring revival
to this city. They felt, and I did too, that it would start in the
prison. They look out the windows of the chapel, and the wires are
there; but, they dont see them because theyre free by
the blood of Jesus. They feel bad for the people they see drive
by who dont know Him."
Services include Communion, water baptisms and ministry by a 20-voice
choir. Yeutter says the gifts of the Spirit operate often.
"Its not uncommon for guys to come up and give me a
prophetic word about things in my life they wouldnt otherwise
know," he says. "They are hungry for more of what God
At [some services] weve had tongues and interpretation,
which some of the guys had no clue about. I see the Holy Spirit
moving, building a remnant of guys who are on fire."
One prison minister tried to drum up interest for a Bible study
series on the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Bemused by the lack of
interest, he finally learned that most of the guys there were already
baptized in the Holy Spirit, Yeutter says.
"What I see happening here Ive never seen anywhere,"
says Wayne Zirzow, prison chaplain at ATF, who has been in prison
chaplaincy work as a volunteer and professional for 32 years. "The
enthusiasm for the gospel is unbelievable. The Holy Spirit is at
With such limited service times (a Sunday morning service and a
Friday night Bible study), inmates must make the most of their opportunities
to minister. Rules forbid them from gathering in groups of greater
than five in the prison yard; so to practice during the week, choir
members stand in small groups a little ways apart and sing.
Recently, the inmates decided to help provide for families on the
outside. Through a volunteer they found several needy families;
and, though the inmates make only $10 a month, they gave almost
"They gave sacrificially," Yeutter says. "They gave
weekly reports; and, the more the amount rose, the more excited
they got. Even unbelievers got involved.
[The guys] feel
they are setting the pace and that God has something planned. Weve
got something inside here thats not going to be held in by
the wires. Its going to break out. They carry a burden for
those on the outside who dont know Him."
One ATF inmate wrote in a letter to the Evangel, "Weve
adopted Isaiah 58:10 as our example: Feed the hungry and help
those in trouble. Then your light will shine out of the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be bright as day. "