Dear Friends and Family,
With the winter of 2015 in full swing, I am more than ready to start thinking baseball and softball! 2015 will be my 4th full year of being involved with the Saints Prison Ministry (www.saintsprisonministry.org).
The Saints, beginning their 28th year as a ministry, currently have teams in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Colorado, and of course, Central Illinois. God has enabled The Saints to play in over 3,400 prison games, to visit over 420 prisons, 33 states, and to see 28,000 inmates make professions of faith. The ministry corresponds with over 31,000 inmates.
2014 IN REVIEW
This past year I was privileged to participate in a 5 event season here in Central Illinois as well as participate in two Crusades. A Crusade is a short term missions trip where our Saints team will visit 5-6 prisons over a 5 day span. We typically visit parts of the country that don’t currently have a Saints team. The team that we take on the Crusades is often a mix of players from various Saints teams across the country.
Louisiana Crusade- March 12-16
This Crusade team was made up of Missionary Athletes from Illinois, Georgia, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. This included several guys from my first Crusade in Ohio in 2011. We visited 5 prisons and handed out 1,950 Gospels of John. We also saw 112 men make professions of faith that week. The highlight of the trip was visiting Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. This is the Nation’s largest maximum security prison. It was a real blessing to spend a day with the men there and take a brief tour of the facilities. It was also a blessing to see how God is already working in that prison to plant churches and raise up men to be pastors behind the prison walls.
Kentucky Crusade- July 30-August 3
This was the most grueling Crusade out of the six that I have been on. The days were long and there was a lot of time driving the winding hills of Kentucky on a church bus. However it was worth it as we were able to hand out 1,398 Gospels of John and see 50 men make professions of faith in six different prisons. This was also a special trip as we had 4 members of our Illinois team represented on the trip. One of the highlights for me personally on the trip was talking to several men who about to be released in the near future. They were all excited yet very scared to re-enter society and adjust to family life again. Several of those men were believers and I was able to pray with several of them.
Central Illinois Team
This was another great year for our team as we bonded closer together and continued to refine our skills as prison ministers and as a team. We were able to visit with 6 different prison populations during the season. We handed out 1,422 Gospels of John and saw 47 men make professions of faith. We were able to take our first overnight trip as a team as we visited the Federal Prison, Federal Camp, and Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. The highlight of this trip was having the distinction of being the first outside group to ever come in to play in the new high security facility’s history. We were able to play a softball game in the rain and then present our ministry inside the prison chapel.
HOW TO PARTNER IN 2015
This year will no doubt be a huge year for our ministry! Our Crusade season kicks off on March 18 as we will be flying to Arizona to minister and play softball March 18-22. It’s been a long winter and I’m looking forward to getting back on the field and meeting the inmates there. Our Central Illinois team will also be looking at its biggest year yet as we continue to reach out to other prisons in the Midwest seeking the opportunity to present our ministry there.
As a Saints missionary athlete I am asking for your support in two areas.
1. I need to establish a team of people who will pray for me, the Saints team, and the inmates we will be ministering to. I am looking for a minimum of 10 people indicating that they will pray for me in 2015. Please email me at email@example.com and let me know that you wish to be on my prayer team.
2. I personally need to raise $2000 in 2015 to cover my travel, Crusade expenses, literature, inmate study materials, and softball equipment for the 2015 season. As a team, our Central Illinois team needs to raise $9,000 this year. I would ask you to prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible offering to support the Saints Prison Ministry in 2015. Please visit www.saintsprisonministry.org to give online.
I will be sending out regular updates about how the season is going. I will be posting results and general thoughts about our prison visits at www.blogspot/tgibson62 .
Thanks again for your support and Go Saints Go!!