Illinois Saints season comes to an end

Another Illinois Saints Season comes to a close.

The 2015 Central Illinois Saints softball season came to an end one visit early as scheduling for our last prison visit on September 19th fell through.  This season was challenging at times with cancellations, last minute changes, and rain (lots of it!).  Despite the challenges, this was by far the best season we have had in our brief four year existence as a team in Illinois!  Here are 5 of my reasons that I think that this was our best year ever!

1.  We finished with a winning record on the field

One of things we strive to do is to play hard and be competitive.  The more competitive we are, the more the inmates will respect us and ultimately stick around and hear what we have to say when it comes time to preach the Gospel!  Each year of our existence we got better but this year it really came together with timely hitting, much improved defense, and good team speed!  Big wins at Greenville, our first wins ever at Danville, and a 3-0 day at Jacksonville and Pittsfield were the highlights on the field this year!

2.  Missionary Athletes who got behind the microphone for the first time

Our guys crushed it with the speaking part of the ministry this year.  Several veteran guys such as Brent Gerber, Darrell Pine, Jeremy Test, and Ray Koonce delivered great prison sermons or great life stories during the testimony and preaching time.  Guys like Tyler Morrow, Ben Morrow, Bryson Stewart, and Robert Cook came up big with their first time behind the mic!  It is always difficult to stand in the middle of the field and talk to the crowd but each of these guys shared what Christ did in their lives and clearly communicated the Gospel to several prison yards this year!

3.  Team Unity

Four years ago this team was made up of several strangers who showed up at FCI Greenville to do something they have never experienced on a softball field before!  The last four years, our team has grown from strangers, to teammates, to brothers.  The guys on this team have been some of my best friends, best mentors, and best prayer partners that I have ever had.  I really have enjoyed seeing this group become friends and serve one another as brothers on and off the field.

4.  Whatever it Takes

One of the legendary sayings in Saints culture is doing “Whatever it Takes” (WIT).  Every visit this year had several “Whatever it Takes” moments.  When Greenville had water running off the field after several afternoon rainstorms, our team played on and had a fun evening playing softball in the mud.  The inmates at Greenville loved it!  When Danville cancelled softball for the day because of rain, we made up our best Dodgeball ministry team!  When Jacksonville said they only would play 16″ Chicago softball, we left our gloves in the vans and played on!  This group did a great job of rolling with the punches and doing “Whatever it Takes” to share the Gospel!

5.  Wait Til Next Year

As a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, that saying is something we always say while watching the Cardinals play October baseball. However, we are looking forward to going to prison next year!  Our Regional Director, Jimmy Cochran, put us in a spot to visit more state facilities next year. So far we have been limited to 4 Illinois State facilities during our four years of ministering in Illinois.  Lord willing, our state visits could go up and our cancellations could go down!

DSC_02731
Praises

  • 82 men accepted Christ during our season!
  • 790 Gospels were handed out in 5 different facilities!
  • I am very thankful for the prayer team that I had this season!
  • I am very thankful that I raised my full support in 2015.
  • I am thankful for the group of teammates that are passionate about spreading the Gospel behind bars.
  • Lots of progress was made for our 2016 schedule this summer.
Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for the upcoming Crusade to Alabama.  Saints from 3 different teams will be assembling in Atlanta, GA on October 6.
    • Pray for the salvation of the inmates
    • Pray for safety as we travel
    • Pray for the safety of our families at home
    • Pray for the speakers who will be sharing the Gospel
    • Pray for the endurance of the Missionary Athletes.
  • Please pray that even more Illinois and Midwest prisons will open their doors and allow us to come in and share our ministry!
  • Please pray for a former inmate named Keith.  He needs prayer for continued growth and for his transition back into a life outside of prison.  Pray that he gets a good community of Christian friends.
  • Please pray for the upcoming Turkey Bowl in November.  This is a flag football tournament that Calvary Baptist Bible Church uses as an outreach ministry.  I will have more details to come soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *