(Note: Written on 7/16/17 and published on 7/24/17)
For whatever reason, day five of the trip is always the earliest. We have to be awake earlier than normal. We have to run down our uniforms from the laundry guy early. We have to make sure we are not only packed for the day but that we are packed for the trip home. There is a tension between loving what we do (traveling by bus and getting to play softball while telling others about Christ), and wanting to be home and seeing your family. Today meant enjoying the last day of our missions trip but also meant being home to see my family!
We arrived at 8 am at Ohio State Penitentiary. The team we played was a younger team but they weren’t near the level of competition that we played yesterday. I got another start in right field which didn’t go too badly. We put up 30 runs and won the first game. During the ministry time, Duane Adler (affectionately know to his teammates as Du-Du), shared his testimony of how he came to know Jesus as his Savior and the impact that made on his upcoming marriage. I talked about the recent trip to Louisiana State Penitentiary and seeing the actual electric chair that was used. I shared that to tell them about the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. (You can read my message that I shared here)
It is always a blessing to share the Gospel in prison. I am not a great speaker but I have gotten a little better over the years but I really do count it a privilege to talk about Jesus to these men. We saw 8 men make decisions to follow Jesus and we handed out a few dozen Gospels.
The second game didn’t go quite as well and the inmate team really hit much better and won the second game. We made the last out of the game and we had to fight the urge to focus on travel plans, airline itineraries, and bus routes because we still had to shake hands and circle up with the guys on the yard one last time. We had to leave pretty quickly because their yard time had been called early.
The staff at the prison purchased some Pizza Hut pizza for us and it was fun eating pizza in the prison chapel/assembly area.
It wasn’t long before we were finally en route to Pittsburgh to catch a plane back to Chicago and then ultimately, Peoria.
This was a great trip that I really hadn’t planned on going on. I was so blessed to meet so many new friends and be around men who really put the faith in action.
Thank you again to everyone who prayed and supported this trip. I am so blessed to get to do this!