How has your summer been so far? This month has been so busy! Just as I sat down to write this, I thought “how long has it been since the last newsletter?” It seems like it’s been a whole season!
As I was reading the other day, I started writing down scriptures that the Lord was bringing to my attention and I had the feeling God wants you to be encouraged. I don’t know about you, but a lot of members in our church and others I know have been going through a lot lately. Don’t give up Saints! We press on because He is our Living Hope! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” His power keeps us, upholds us, protects us, and strengthens us. We rely on His power. You never have to worry about if your own strength is failing. That’s why He says “Come to Me all you who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. If your load is too heavy, it’s because you’re not supposed to be carrying it, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7).
I Peter 1:6-7 goes on to say, “In this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” How genuine is our faith when it’s easily shaken? We either believe that He is God or He isn’t. We believe all of His Word or none of it. He is Who He says He is, or He’s not. My vote is – Let’s Believe God! That belief is so precious to Him. God can create anything He chooses for His pleasure. The one thing that is more valuable to Him than anything He possesses is our belief that He is God.
What have we got to lose? We can be miserable with no hope or we can be miserable with hope, (choose hope!). When you grasp Who He really is and what the whole picture is all about, your misery begins to fade away, even when your circumstance doesn’t change. I found this scripture in Psalm 127:2, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.” How great is our God! Doesn’t that make you want to sing a little bit? He’s saying it’s a waste of time to lay awake at night worrying and eating the bread of sorrows. Wouldn’t you rather be eating sweet bread ? “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8. “More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold, sweeter also than the honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10. The Word of God fills your mouth and your spirit with sweetness. He lifts you above sorrow. Because you are His beloved He gives you sleep. He wants you to rest in Him.
So what do you do in the long hours? You go to Psalms and read them out loud. “Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; Lord hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.” Psalm 130:1. Keep going… “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, Yes more than those who watch for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6. Sometimes we need to express to God how deep our anguish is and verbalize that no matter what, we are going to keep waiting and watching for Him. It’s not in vain. He is coming for you! Read Psalm 18, all of it. I’ve read it out loud a few times this week. Yesterday I couldn’t hardly walk when I got up, but life doesn’t stop because of pain. I started reading Psalm 18 “I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.” And that’s just the first 4 verses! I realized it wasn’t a human enemy I was up against but a spiritual attack against my health. As you read the rest of that Psalm, you’ll see how God came and defeated the enemy when David was being attacked. The mental picture is ferocious. God doesn’t fool around! Some of the passages are “For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.” “For who is God except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength,” “The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.” If that doesn’t fire you up, take your pulse, because as my dad would say, “you might’ve already checked out.” By the time I got through, I got out of the chair, straightened up and headed off to church to help prepare food for 200 people. Not by my strength, but by His, & Hallelujah, my back did great! It works! His Word is more powerful than a double-edged sword and the enemy cannot withstand against it. Before I run out of room, I guess I should tell you what’s going on with the ministry but it’s hard to focus once I start speaking on the greatness of God. Which is better- His Word or mine? You’re absolutely right – His!!!
Our schedule changed a little bit this month. Dad actually preached at Friemann Square to the homeless the last Sunday in June and has made it there almost every Sunday this month, as well as going to the parking lot where we feed the homeless on Saturday morning. He is an amazing man of God. I’m so proud to be his daughter. If determination were gunpowder, he’d do quite a bit of damage! You certainly can’t keep that good man down.
On July 15th I was at the Roederer Correctional Facility where we fed hamburgers off the grill to 1200 men. It was quite a day. Every hour they sent 150-200 men to the yard. While we gave them their plates, there were musicians and speakers giving the Word. At the end of every hour, it was such a blessing to see all the hands that repeatedly went up to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. By the time I made the 4-hour drive home that night, every part of my body hurt. But I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing I’d rather be wore out for than the gospel of Christ.
On July 22nd, by a chain of events that only the Lord could orchestrate I ended up at the Madison Juvenile Facility for girls. It was both a blessing and heartbreaking. Heartbreaking because we see with our human eyes and hear with our ears the abuse and trauma these young girls have been through. A blessing because we see the hand of God reaching for them, restoring them, refreshing their young spirits, and embracing them as only He can.
On July 29th, I was supposed to be in a men’s prison in Lagrange, Ky. Unfortunately the chaplain there is against a lot of opposition and they shut down the event. Pray for the chaplains in the prisons. Because of “political correctness” they are not allowed to preach or speak against homosexuality or same sex couples coming into the chapel to spend time with one another. The chaplain also has to allow Muslims, Hindu’s, Indians, and Wiccans (which is witchcraft) to hold services in the same chapel that the Christian men worship God in.
We so appreciate those of you who have been faithful to support this ministry. If you’ve wondered what your donation dollars are spent on; our expenses include gas, paper supplies and certificates to take into the inmates,(for the last women’s prison we went in, I had to have more than 600 pages printed for Bible study handout sheets and the certificates for completing our seminar), snacks for the prisons which allow us to bring them in and depending on the number of inmates also costs hundreds of dollars for one weekend. For instance for the women’s prison we needed 600 candy bars. But at the end of the service when all our volunteers were lined up in front of the stage and lines of women were standing there to be prayed for, tears everywhere as they were encountering the living God, how do you put a price on that?
The snacks and certificates are the bait that brings them to the service. We have had inmates tell us repeatedly over the years that they only came because they knew our ministry brings snacks, but that they got much more than what they came for. The reason we give certificates is that when inmates are locked up they are judged on performance by how many certificates they complete while incarcerated. This helps them show the judge or their parole officer that they are serious about their rehabilitation. There are a number of things they can get certificates for; substance abuse classes, educational classes, vocational training, parenting or anger management classes, and religious services like ours.
We also need money for feeding the homeless and for motels when we’re traveling. There are some prisons where we know people in the area and it’s always a blessing when a volunteer takes us into their homes. We try to travel as economically as possible. One time dad and I had been driving for more than 12 hours and we finally stopped at a Days Inn. When we got to the double room we shared, there were big holes in the curtains and you didn’t dare walk across the floor barefoot. I was so exhausted, I crawled into bed and told dad, “if you hear gunshots, wake me and we’ll go somewhere else”, and off to sleep I went. We pack snacks and sandwiches and try to be the best stewards we can possibly be. We do what we can with what we’ve got, and truly depend on God for all. This was probably more information than you felt like reading right now, I just felt like we should give you a description of what we actually do and let you know why your support is so valuable to us. You are investing in the kingdom and making a difference in the lives of hundreds of inmates. I know we literally encountered a few thousand inmates last year and it will be same this year, but don’t want to sound like I have the big head. 🙂
Thank you for getting through the longest newsletter ever! Remember “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” I John 1:5 When your situation seems overwhelmingly dark, bring God into it. When He shows up the darkness has to flee!
Be blessed in Jesus Name, your sister in Christ,
- August 5 – Meal for homeless
- August 6, 13, 20 & 27 – Friemann Square church service for homeless
- August 7, 14, 21 & 28, Substance abuse class at Allen County Jail with women inmates
- August 12- Kentucky Women’s Prison, PeeWee Valley, Ky
- August 13- Men’s Work Release, Fort Wayne
- August 18, 19, 20 – Northpoint Correctional Center, Burgin, Ky