Five rival gang members put aside violence to be baptized together in Coffield Prison, Texas.
Since Texas’s largest prison allowed Gateway Church to set up a campus at the prison grounds six months ago, the megachurch has seen incredible thing happen.
But last week’s incidence was the first in Coffield Unit prison history.
The warden at Coffield Unit in Anderson County, a prison that houses around 4,200 criminal offenders, invited Gateway Church to baptize a handful of inmates in administrative segregation.
Nile Holsinger, the campus poster at Coffield prison, reported that what he witnessed last week was “mind-Blowing.”
Five men from a confirmed gang were brought into the gymnasium, with shacked hands, foot, and waisted, and they had to clear the prison for safety concerns.
“They couldn’t lift their arms above their waist, each one has a guard on each arm, and wouldn’t leave their side until they were in the water.”
Two of the men were placed on one side, and three of them on the other. One guard told the pastor that it was because they were from rival gangs, and the only way for them to leave the cartels is through death.
The pastor spoke to each of the prisoners in solitary confinement. They all had a violent history.
One of the prisoners told pastor Holsinger:
“I have tried it my way my whole life, and it’s gotten me here.”
“I want to try it God’s way …we’re going to come out of the water as new men.”
All the men were baptized, one prisoner after the other.
“These guys from two different gangs professed the same Lord and were baptized in the same water together, and they walked out together, guards not holding onto their arms anymore because God had done something in their life.”
But what the pastor saw after baptizing them shocked him. The inmates were trembling in fear as water dripped from their clothes.
The pastor reported:
“These guys literally know they’re putting their life at risk and they’re doing it anyway.”
“Never one time in my life have I felt like my decision to follow Christ has put me in danger or discomfort…for these guys to come in and they were so humble and gentle…to see them walking out trembling, they maybe been afraid for their life not knowing what would happen, but they did not regret the decision they had just made. That was mind-blowing to me.”
After a successful baptism of five rival gang members, the remaining 14 prisoners in isolated confinement are expected to be baptized sometime in July.
The church, in partnership with a local radio station, KCBI, is also planning to supply Bibles to every individual in Coffield Unit prison.