2014 Support Letter

People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

– Rogers Hornsby

 

Dear Friends and Family,

With the winter half over now, it is now time for me to start looking forward to baseball and softball season!  I am starting my 3rd season with the Central Illinois Saints Prison Ministry softball team.  As many of you know, our softball team will travel to prisons and play 2-4 softball games against the inmates and preach the gospel between games.  We not only have the opportunity to preach to the men on the prison softball team but also to the men in the prison yard. 

The Saints (www.saintsprisonministry.org), beginning their 27th year as a ministry currently has teams in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Colorado, and Illinois.  God has enabled them to play in over 3,200 prison games, to visit over 400 prisons, 32 states, and to see 26,000 inmates make professions of faith.  The ministry corresponds with over 29, 500 inmates. 

This past summer the Central Illinois Saints team was able to play six dates  FCI Pekin, FCI Greenville, FCI Terre Haute (Prison and Camp), Danville CI, Illinois River CI (Canton) and FCP (Camp) Pekin.  We were blessed to preach to over 1,300 men, to hand out over 2,000 Gospels of John, to collect over 700 response cards (This means over 700 men had the opportunity to have a pen-pal or correspondence Bible study.  Everyone who turns in a response card will also get a birthday card in the mail) and to praise in 126 men indicating that they trusted Christ as their Savior!

In March I participated in the Preseason Crusade in Florida and Southern Georgia with the Southeast Region of the Saints Prison Ministry.  We visited 3 prisons and were able to hand out over 1,100 Gospels of John and we saw 49 men make professions of faith! In October I was able to travel to Central Florida and participate in the Citrus Country Crusade.  We visited 6 prisons, handed out 2,004 Gospels and saw 76 men indicate that they were saved that day.  I was able to travel with a teammate from the Central Illinois team on each trip.

After participating in The Saints Prison Ministry the last few years, I have been getting some feedback from the men we visit. 

“I continue to read the Gospel of John, an act I wouldn’t be doing had God’s team not come into this Prison shaking my hand and giving it to me.  That was a special group of men and I appreciate and respect them.  I will now continue to read John and the rest of the Bible.”  Shane, FCI Greenville

“I thank Him daily for all He has done, and continue to do in my life, for the change He has made and continues to make in me all for His Glory.  Thank you so much for being my friends and my family.  It means so much know you all care.”  Ronnie, Danville CI

“The birthday cards y’all send, mean a lot to me and they go a long way in my book.  When I received them unexpectedly one day from ya’ll they made my day a whole lot brighter and put a smile on my face from ear to ear.  I really appreciate the thought and knowing that there are good people like y’all that take the time of y’all’s normal day’s life to at least try to make a difference in someone’s life behind these prison walls.”-Christopher, Danville CI

When leaving a prison at the end of a day it is very rewarding to hear things such as, “Thank you, it was nice just to get away from it all for a few hours” or “For an afternoon I had so much fun that I forgot I was in prison”.  It is also common to hear things such as “The worst thing about being in prison is never having a moment’s peace” or “Please pray for my kids on the outside!”  The most encouraging to hear things such as “Getting locked up was the best thing that ever happened to me because I met Jesus here. I am very thankful that this ministry is more than a 7 inning softball game but it has life changing and eternal implications! 

As a Saints missionary athlete I am asking for your support in a couple of areas.  I need to establish a team of people who will pray for me, the Central Illinois Saints team, and the inmates we will be ministering to on a regular basis.  I would also like for you to prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible offering to help support the Central Illinois Team this summer.  This money will cover travel, literature, study materials, and softball equipment needed for our 2014 season.  We are going to participate in 7 events this summer.  I will also be participating in a Crusade to Louisiana this spring and a Crusade to Kentucky this August. 

I will be sending out regular updates about how the season is going.  I will often posts updates on Facebook so please add me as a friend if you haven’t already (www.facebook.com/tgibson62).  I will also be blogging again on www.tgibson62.blogspot.com.  If you tweet, you can follow @tgibson62.  I would also encourage you to check out the Saints YouTube channel. 

 

 

 

Thanks again for your support and Go Saints Go!!

In Christ,

 

Tom Gibson

  www.facebook.com/tgibson62                     @tgibson62

 

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