Ecclesiastes 4:9-12– Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
On our way home from the trip to FCI Greenville in May, I sat in the front seat of the bus trying to take off my baseball shoes and get settled in for a long 3 hour ride home. After calling my wife I took a long look at the back of the bus.
Almost three years ago, I had thought about what that exact moment would look like: To look at the bus and see an Illinois Saints Prison Ministry team.
August 11 will be three years since I had come back from my first trip with the Saints Prison Ministry. Shortly thereafter I decided to start a team in Peoria. I had a few friends that were interested but I honestly had wondered what it would look like to see the team that God might supply someday if we went through with starting a team.
Looking at the back of the bus I saw a group of guys, (several I didn’t even know when starting the team in 2011) who were tired and exhausted but sharing stories about what they just participated in.
I saw guys who were telling their wives that they missed them.
Other guys talking to their kids about how dad hit a double but ultimately told a guy named “Big Hurt” about how Jesus died for him too.
I saw guys who found Strawberry Quik and Nacho Jalapeno Slim Jims as a suitable meal until we got to Springfield for dinner.
I saw a group of Chicago Bears fans who won’t forgive me for using a Vince Lombardi quote in this blog!
I saw guys who when they weren’t teasing one another, were encouraging each another and were already talking about our next trip.
I saw guys who went way past “stepping out of my comfort zone” who stepped into Federal Prison.
I saw guys who were encouraging each other go back to teasing each other.
I saw a group of guys who used their Saturday to use a game they loved that will soon be forgotten to reach out to inmates with the Gospel which will have an impact forever.
I saw a group of guys I would be willing to go to battle with anywhere.