Saturday, May 24, 2003

A revivial in a Florida prison:

Michael A. Baysen is at Martin Correctional Institution, serving two life sentences for armed robbery. And it's a good thing, he says, because it was in prison that he found God. "I was predestined to come to the penitentiary," said Baysen, 40, of West Palm Beach. "If I hadn't come to the penitentiary, I still would have been asleep spiritually."

In an attempt to "awaken" more inmates, dozens of Treasure Coast Christians held a tent revival May 17-18 in the recreation yard of the maximum security prison.

In six two-hour sessions, the evangelists attracted more than 700 of about 1,000 inmates, including some of the state's most dangerous murderers, kidnappers and rapists. The hope was that they, like Baysen years earlier, would accept Jesus Christ as their savior and escape the bonds of spiritual imprisonment, said the Rev. Paul Smith, revival organizer and pastor of Miracle Baptist Mission in East Stuart.

...Each of the weekend revival sessions was led by a different church or ministry. Churches that led the services or whose members participated in some way included Friendship Baptist and the Love Regeneration Center in Fort Pierce; Lighthouse Baptist in Port St. Lucie; St. Joseph Catholic, Miracle Baptist and Abundant Life Ministries, all of Stuart.