Today is a cold, rainy day as we travel through Virginia on our way to Pennsylvania. As I’m reflecting over the past few weeks, I am grateful for many things. A relationship with God. For my wife who desires to love God above all else. My daughters who are seeking God’s face, and for the amazing privilege to point people to a greater faith in our Father. I have many reasons to rejoice.
In preparation of taking the “From Pain to Purpose” message to a deeper level, Cindy and I took in a Marriage Intensive a few weeks ago. It was powerful as we took the time to look deeper into each other’s lives and God’s word, growing closer to Him and each other. It was a blessing to connect with three other couples during this time, and we came to love and care for each of them. God certainly had a purpose in bringing our journeys together, and it’s exciting to see how God has made a way to redeem pain, difficulty, and ugliness in each person’s life.
Last week, our family participated in the Gospel Express South Carolina Prison Crusade. Our faith was encouraged and challenged as we met the ministry teams, volunteers, inmates, and prison staff. It was also a blessing to have Brackin and Lindsay Kirkland and their family (SoundsLikeReign) join us for these services. It was their first time inside the prisons. They describe their experience in their latest vlog.
I am always challenged by inmates who have come to the place of facing their pain and wrong choices, but are now choosing to trust and live for God.
In 1979, a man in his early twenties was sentenced to prison. Last week, I met this man and he exclaimed, “I will be released in 19 days!” Think about it…he has been in prison for 39 years. In 1979, Jimmy Carter was president and I was in the 7th grade. (If you’re old enough, think about all the events that have happened to you since then.) He went on to say that he met me first in 1985 when I was singing with Nelson Coblentz’s family at the Central Correctional Institution.
I rejoiced with him, and I also explored his plan for when he’s released. He has a great Christian organization who will be providing him with a place to live, assistance in getting a job, helping him obtain a driver’s license, etc. As you can imagine, this will be absolutely vital to his success in living on the “outside”. While at these prisons, I also met two other men who have served thirty year sentences.
Not including those with life sentences, the average sentence for the state of SC is 4.5 years. The experiences of these years are vital and impact an individual’s course in life. I am praying that as we begin the “5 Days of Purpose” in prison, it will be one of the keys to impact their time there and move them closer to Christ.
In looking ahead, we are praying about a Mexico tour and a visit to a number of Texas prisons. Please pray for us as we seek God’s direction as to which doors He is opening for us. We desire to be in His perfect will.
Thank you for partnering with us. We are deeply grateful for the many people who tell us they are praying for us on a daily basis. This means more than we can ever express. We praise the Lord for the power of prayer!
Because of Jesus,