How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? –Romans 10:14
“Awards mean a lot, but they don’t say it all. The people in baseball mean more to me than statistics.”- Ernie Banks
*France has a population of around 64,000,000 people.
**They have a prison population of around 52,000 inmates.
***Illinois has a population of around 13,000,000 people.
****We have a prison population of just under 54,000 inmates.
By my own admission, I don’t have a good stance or magic pill solution on where I stand on prison reform or how we ended up with the same prison population as France and be 1/5 the size. My short answer is, people need the Gospel. I firmly believe that inmates are still created in the image of God and that Christ is capable of changing anyone, they just have to be given the opportunity to meet Him (See Romans 10:14 above).
On a GREAT day we will visit and meet 500 guys in a prison yard.
Even if we see 500 a visit it will still take us:
- 108 visits
- An extra 56 days of vacation time away from work (Assuming we use all 52 Saturdays for playing softball!)
- To 51 different facilities
- Approximately 324-432 softball games
- 180 cases of Gospels of John
- Approximately 672 softballs (+/- 208…you get the picture)
Granted there are several solid prison ministries in Illinois who are preaching the Gospel but statistics such as these really put it into perspective that we have a huge undertaking to tell men and women about Jesus Christ here in the prison system here in Illinois. The visits that we do get are precious!
Please continue that God continues to open doors here in our state and continues to provide opportunities for the Gospel to go out into the prison system.