Matthew 25:36– I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me
“Wait ’til next year”–The Unknown Cubs Fan
It is hard to believe that I will be beginning my fourth full season with The Saints Prison Ministry. As I am beginning the process of getting organized for this season, I am finding myself just as giddy as I was getting ready for my first Saints trip to Ohio in 2011. My support letters are getting out to various parts of the country, I have been running 4 times a week, and our guys are stoked and talking about how excited they are to return to places like Danville, Terre Haute, and Greenville.
Prison ministry elicits quite a few emotions from people. For some, it may be a feeling of fear of being involved with inmates who have a proven history of harming others. For others it may be resentment or anger about “wasting time” with men who have harmed society.
My emotion that I take away is joy. I can take joy in the fact that we can play softball with a group of inmates and help them forget that they are in prison for a few hours. That is a huge blessing to have someone hug you after a game and tell you, “It was nice to forget that I was locked up!”
I also get joy out of the fact that men come to a saving knowledge of Jesus because of our visits. In 2014 our Central Illinois team handed out 1,422 Gospels of John and saw 47 men make professions of faith. That is incredible to think that God used a normal group of everyday volunteers and the game of softball to bring people to Him.
Finally it is a joy to know that God is pleased when we visit the prisons. In Matthew 25:34-46, Jesus tells His disciples about how God expects believers to treat others. Included in this list are people in prison.
While most emotion (and perhaps conventional wisdom) suggest that we shun and stay away from the prisons, God’s Word tells us that He is pleased when we obey and reach the lost behind bars with the Gospel!
1/30/15 Prayer Requests
- Pray that more Illinois prisons will invite us to come in this year.
- Pray that God will provide needed finances and material for our Arizona Crusade in March as well as our 2015 season here in Central Illinois.
- Pray for a former inmate named Keith that we have some correspondence with locally. Pray that he finds employment and for continued growth and protection.