I really, really, dislike explaining why I didn’t get something done on time. I am usually the first person to roll my eyes and glare when other people do it. This follow up really should have been down a couple of weeks ago, but here I am getting it written up about 30 hours before we board the bus to our next visit to Danville Correctional Center! It has been a busy stretch. When we left Centralia I personally finished a stretch of having Saints events in 5 of the last 8 weeks, including two Crusades. This coupled with the kids going back to school, a teenager learning to drive, a really busy stretch at work, and watching the Cubs late season roller coaster ride in the standings has really made it a busy late summer! Nevertheless, the day at Centralia was a good one and should be shared before writing the next chapter of the 2017 season in Danville this weekend!
Our day started early in the morning as we met at the Morton McDonalds at 4:45 AM. The McDonalds was closed but for the record, greasy breakfast food usually doesn’t sit well at 4:45 AM! After praying, we departed and headed for Centralia. I was fully expecting to sit in the dark silence until the sun came up an hour later but our bus was chatty with guys talking about how the Bears would do and some general talk on how families were doing. This is a 3 hour drive and our bus successfully made the journey. We arrived, and, just like last year, we had two, one hour slots to play softball and share the Gospel. We played two one pitch games against two different teams. After a slow start we won the first game. In the early morning the sun is directly behind the pitcher so we saw some awkward looking swings from both teams! After the game I shared the Gospel. We handed out around 15 Gospels and we saw 2 men make decisions to follow Jesus. We quickly hit the reset button and were back on the field for game 2! We won the second game fairly easily. Ben Morrow shared the Gospel while we handed out Gospels to the team and the spectators. Another two men made decisions to give their lives to Jesus.
After the second game was over, we went to the local Wendy’s for every athlete’s favorite refuel meal: Baconators and Frostys! This is really the first time all year that we had the chance to get lunch on the road. Anytime we can dine with the inmates is huge no matter what they are eating but it is often nice to eat as a team where we can relax and laugh it up before heading back to play softball and share the Gospel.
We arrived back at the facility and played Centralia’s All-Star team. We had an additional 30 minutes, so we were able to play a normal 7 inning game. We started out a little sluggish (maybe Baconators aren’t the best lunch for playing three softball games!) but we held on and won the game. Ray Koonce shared the Gospel with the men there. It was a blessing to hear him share for the first time!
After the preaching time was over, we hugged the men and headed back for the bus. This was a fun ride home full of football talk, a bad dad jokes competition, and lots of talk about God and what His Word says. I am so thankful for this group and what we have had the chance to be a part of this season.
Overall on the day we saw four men make decisions to follow and we handed out around 50 Gospels of John.
Saturday, we are heading back to Danville Correctional Center to play another four softball games and share the Gospel twice. Danville is one of the most fun groups to minister to. They pull out all of the stops and make the day as special as they can. Please pray that we present the message clearly and that God would draw the men we see closer to Him! Kurt Hand and Josh Frederick will be sharing their life stories with the men on how God changed their lives while Darrell Pine and Drew Aberle will be sharing the Gospel.
I am looking forward to getting home and writing about what God does in Danville!