We had a great visit to Danville in June but due to the rain, we had to play wiffleball and dodgeball in the gym. When our Regional Director announced that we were going back there in July we were excited to go and spend some actual yard time with the men there! The engagement we get with the men is always a little bit better when we play outside and present the Gospel on the field.
We carry 17 men on our active roster but due to a couple of pre-planned family trips, a birth of Missionary Athlete’s baby, and another Missionary Athlete’s wife being ready to give birth at any moment, we had to travel with 11 guys. Playing two doubleheaders with 11 guys meant that it would be a grueling day but everyone did their job well despite the heat and fatigue.
We split the first double header of the day, losing a close game in Game 1 before coming back and winning game 2. In between games, Jeremy Test did a great job of sharing his personal testimony. Jeremy has a really cool story about being introduced to Jesus by former Peoria Chief (Single A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals) Tim Lemon. Darrell Pine shared the Gospel with the men there. Darrell is a veteran prison/jail minister who has a huge heart for the men who are incarcerated.
After a quick lunch of prison cheesburgers, we went back out for our second doubleheader. We followed the same script of losing the first game in extra innings. A inmate player named Ryne hit a 3 run homer in the 8th inning to win the game for Danville. I don’t like to lose but if we are going to get beat, at least it is by someone named after Ryne Sandberg!
Robert Cook shared his personal testimony with the men in the second half of the day. Robert is actually one of our “Saints in the Stands” who focuses more on hanging out with the inmates on the yard and getting a head start on handing out literature while the rest of the team is playing. It is a real blessing to have him on our team! I was excited to share the Gospel the second half of the day. It is always an honor to do so!
Since this was our 2nd visit to Danville in two months, we had several guys to follow up with from the previous visit. One guy was a man named Benny. Benny indicated during the June visit that he accepted Christ as his savior. A couple of our guys were able to talk with him, follow up, and encourage him.
I also had a good conversation with another man who is doing life without parole. He shared how God got a hold of his life in prison and how he has used his sentence to grow in Jesus and tell others about Him. He viewed his prison sentence as his mission field and not as the end of his life. He also participates in the Seminary classes offered at Danville. It is always encouraging to know that there are men there who will encourage and “water” after we leave.
Overall we saw 29 men indicate that they made a decision to follow Jesus on Saturday. Please keep those 29 men in prayer! God worked in a huge way in Danville over the last two months and it was a blessing to be there for it!
Our Saints team did a good job of getting up, meeting at 4:30 am, and going above and beyond all day long to tell inmates about Jesus! Two doubleheaders is a lot to ask out of a team but everyone who was on the team Saturday has a story to tell about how it was worth it!
Thank you again for your prayers and support!