By the time police arrested him for the 22nd time, John Sala knew that he had reached the end of the line. This time he was guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and grand theft. When the prison gate swung shut this time, it would be a long time before it reopened.
Jail was the best thing that ever happened to him. When he went to the prison in Avon Park, Fl., John met Chaplain Warren B. Wall, who shared Christ with him. John dove right in, receiving Christ, and, under the Chaplain’s care, growing in Christ.
It wasn’t just about teaching and learning, however. It was also about serving. John went to work in the tape ministry of the chapel. As he organized and labeled tapes, he’d listen to Bible teachers and through the work, he began to grow. The chaplain found someone who was willing to underwrite a seminary correspondence course for John and he became a passionate, disciplined student of the Bible. "God was birthing something new in me," he says today. "Before, I wanted to take. Now I wanted to give, love, encourage, and nurture.”
When he walked out of prison in 1983, he said, “I’m not coming back!” But that’s exactly what he did, only not as an inmate, but as a minister. He began the ministry known as Little Lambs, Inc., with the mission of loving inmates into the minsitry’s family and ultimately into God’s. Through in-depth Bible correspondence courses, visitation, counseling, services, concerts, and classes John Salas and his wife Eileen now minister to 2,750 students graduating 250 every year.
Why am I telling you John’s story? Because I want you to see how much serving helped John to grow. He came to Christ, yes, but that’s not where it started. His hunger to learn sprung out of his service in labelling and cataloging tapes for that chaplain, and because he served, he not only grew, but he has an impact on over 2700 prisoners each year.
You see, when I serve, I grow. When I serve, I fulfill my place in the body of Christ and the whole body grows. When I refuse to serve, my growth gets stunted and so does everyone elses!