Day Four was spent between two different facilities: Bibb County Correctional Facility in Brent, AL and FPC Montgomery which is actually located on the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL.
To get to Bibb County in time for a 7:00 start time we had to be on the road by 5:00 am. This is always a struggle but this is a solid group of missionary athletes on this trip that understand that sacrifice is needed for any kind of trip like this so we went down the road with sleepy softball players.
At Bibb County our primary audience was mostly the team that came out to play that morning. One of the cool moments was a guy named Dave who brought out a Saints birthday card to the field and thanked us for sending him a card every year on his birthday. The birthday card ministry that the Saints do is a powerful tool that encourages the men and makes them feel loved. I have had men tell me before that the Saints birthday card is often the only time all year that their name is called during the mail call time.
We won the first game and dropped the second one but both games were very competitive. In between games Kevin Greene and Kirk Smith shared their testimony and the Gospel. I had the chance to meet with a gentleman (I forgot his name). He had indicated that he accepted Christ that day. Anytime someone marks that on a blue card that I get, I always try and do the best I can to make sure they understood what they checked. This gentleman understood that Jesus died for him but explained that doing better was what would ultimately save him. I really struggled in this conversation as he really was somewhat disinterested in what I had to say and struggled to understand where I was coming from. I wish I could have a “do over” in explaining the Gospel better to him. Please keep him in prayer as God knows who he is.
Kirk Smith, Kevin Greene and myself had the opportunity to pray with two men scheduled to get out in the next two months. Both men were excited yet scared of what is next in their lives. Both men were Christians and we prayed for a church family and mentors to come along in their lives.
The final prison of the trip was FPC Montgomery which was located on Maxwell Air Force Base. This was a cool setup as the Air Force Base is basically its own little city. The prison yard itself was probably the best I’ve seen in the four years I’ve been serving with the Saints. In regards to softball the day was rough. We were very tired and were defeated by a team that hit several home runs and played almost flawless defense. Fortunately, most of the crowd stayed and heard Dave Cogliano’s testimony and a great Gospel message by Johnny Adams. We gave out a few hundred Gospels to a large crowd. Getting beaten badly is always rough but it was worth it as we saw 25 men between Bibb County and FPC Montgomery indicate that they wanted to follow Jesus.
Our team devotion that evening was about being “All In” on prayer. This was a tough devotion for me to lead as I often fail to be the prayer warrior that I feel I should be. The two passages we covered were Luke 18:1-8 and Nehemiah 1. In Luke 18:1-8 we see Jesus using a parable about a persistent widow who continually pleads with a judge about receiving justice against her adversary. We talked about how persistent we should be in our prayer life. We also covered Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah 1. We discussed how Nehemiah got a high view of God, confessed the sins of his people, and asks God to intercede. We also discussed how he prays God’s promises back to God. That really facilitated a really cool discussion about some of our favorite promises in scripture. We also had really good discussions about our favorite times and ways that we all enjoy praying.
This was my fourth time leading the team devotions and this was by far my favorite to prepare, lead, and learn from. I really appreciate all of my teammates and the way they opened up and poured into my life during that time.
Overall this was an awesome experience with its share of hiccups but there were moments when normal men stepped outside of their comfort zone to share the Gospel with as many men as they could.
Thank you again for the financial and prayer support that I have received this season and for this Crusade. I am looking forward to the Spring Crusade and the blessings that come from that!
In the meantime I will be posting some more in depth thoughts from the devotions that we had and I will be posting stuff from my church’s upcoming flag football tournament, Turkey Bowl.