Miraculous 28 baptisms at Butler County jail
Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2023
The Bible verse “God works in mysterious ways” comes alive through an event that took place in the local correctional facility on Aug. 30, as 28 Butler County Jail inmates, men and women, gave their life to Christ and were baptized by Reverend Wiley Thornton III of the Perfecting Holiness Nondenominational Church (PHNC).
Thornton explained a critical illness brought him to that moment and ignited his desire to see others come to know a relationship with Jesus.
“In March I was diagnosed with double pneumonia, sepsis, kidney and heart failure and I had Covid-19 three times,” Thornton said. “I was in the hospital for close to two months, but God healed me and I made up my mind that I was going to commit my life to ministry. Since then I started working with the jailhouse ministry and doing whatever I can in the community to show my gratitude to God.”
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Thornton explained that when he goes to the jail he has two objectives. First, to lead the inmates to the Lord and secondly, to give the wisdom and information needed to never return back to jail. He added that his personal testimony opens the door for a deeper connection with the men and women.
“I think a motivating factor for them is realizing that what God did for me, he could do for them,” Thornton said. “God can do the impossible. I taught the Gospel, offered salvation and they accepted and wanted to get baptized. I believe a lot of them made this decision after understanding that God had not given up on them.”
Inett Jackson, an evangelist, member of the PHNC and Director of His Hands and Feet transition house for women, has been leading jailhouse ministry with the female inmates since 2015. Jackson said she leads a Bible study and listens to the hearts and concerns of the women.
“Our goal is to help them transform and become productive members of society and to let them know that God can reach them no matter where they are,” Jackson said. “Even though they’re incarcerated, they can still be free on the inside. I do this every week, it is my passion, because once upon a time I was in jail and I was upset with God. I remember these church ladies coming in and they shared the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you’, and that was the beginning of my life changing forever.”
Since the baptism, Jackson said the inmates have an excited spirit. There seems to be an air of peace with them, she explained.
Thornton said he goes to the facility once a week, but due to the large number of inmates he may not see the same group of men for sometimes a month. He asks for any other minister or church that feels called to consider joining the weekly jail ministry efforts to help give the inmates the attention they need and are requesting. He also added that they are in need of donated Bibles. For any of these matters contact 334-322-6804.
Jackson said she currently helps make monthly care packages full of essentials, like soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and undergarments for the indigent community members in need. She asks that anyone who is willing to donate to this cause to contact her at 334-662-7606.
Thornton is also hoping to begin a Fatherhood Training for inmates to attend once they are released. He said that he is grateful and amazed at the local District Attorney’s Office for how committed they are to helping the inmates heal and get back on their feet.