July certainly went by in a blur. The first two weekends Patty and I took a small group into the Blackford County Jail for a Friday night service followed by a Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon service. The first weekend was for the men, the second for the women. The weekends went completely different but were completely phenomenal. Pastor Pat Haskins was our speaker. At the end of one of the sessions, he called the men up for prayer, 8 to 10 men came forward (I’m never taking count, so afterwards I’m always trying to figure out the numbers, but who can count when the Spirit is moving?!!!), this was after them saying the salvation prayer, and now they were coming up for healing and deliverance. The very first thing he says is, “Someone needs delivered from lust, whoever this is step into the middle of the circle.” My brain froze! I thought no one is going to admit that! A man immediately jumped into the middle of the circle and I mean, he leapt into the circle! I was so grateful for a man of God who is not ashamed to call out what needs to be called out. It was a great lesson to never underestimate the power of God and what He wants to set men free from. While we’re worried about offending someone, God is wanting to deliver them from the things we are ashamed to name. By the end of the 2nd day, most of the men who attended were truly changed. You could see the impact God had made on their hearts. Our joy when we left there was overflowing!
The weekend with the women had some interesting disruptions to say the least. While Pastor Haskins was speaking one of them would throw out random questions, meant to cause confusion, but he was not shaken. He’d look up scriptures give her Godly answers and then continue on. It ended up that what was meant to disrupt, caused their attention to be more intent because they could see that there are answers in the word of God. We prayed over all of them individually afterward. The pastors wife, Judy Haskins, had gotten her guitar out while we were still praying and the ones who’d already been prayed for, went and formed a circle around her and were lifting their voices in worship. The atmosphere in that place at that moment was heavenly! On the drive home, we ourselves, could not quit praising the Lord!
Again, we cannot thank you enough for how you support us in this. We were able to take food in for the inmates each session and pay for our travel expenses. Because of how you bless us, I always leave town knowing the van is reliable because for once in my life I have a vehicle where the maintenance is able to be kept up to date. Last weekend I drove by myself to a men’s prison in Kentucky. At those times I’m especially grateful to be a in a reliable vehicle. But even for all the trips during the week of driving around and picking up women who are still struggling with life and all the issues that come with drug abuse, being able to take them by the van full to meetings is such a blessing. I thank God for all of you and how you have supported our family so we are free to minister as God has led us. A couple weeks ago I spent a Sunday evening with a homeless man who said he hadn’t eaten. I went through Lee’s drive-thru and got him a chicken dinner. We sat in the park while he ate. The way he attacked that food broke my heart. Sometimes we talked and sometimes we just sat in silence. And then I drove him to a place where he was going to go into the woods and find a place to sleep for the night. I was frustrated at first because I was supposed to be somewhere else and the way I ran into him, I couldn’t possibly just drive away knowing that he needed to eat. At those moments James 2:15-16 seems to hang over my head, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one says to them, ‘Depart, go in peace, be warmed and filled’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” It didn’t feel like I accomplished much that night, but He’s a son of God and God wanted him fed.
Something our ministry needed this summer was a couple more canopies, which we were gratefully able to get with your donations. Last Sunday in Kentucky, when it was about 100 degrees and we were out there for more than 6 hours, there were a lot of volunteers, prison staff and inmates who were very grateful for that shade! This month we will be taking those same canopies to the Northpoint Correctional Facility in Burgin, Ky. We will be there for a 3-day event, for which we have already prepaid for cookies and chips for more than 1200 inmates. It may seem silly to spend that much money on snacks but in order for them to get the snacks, they have to come out of their dorms and walk across the yard, where we have music and testimonies going on, as well as volunteers who can interact with them and speak life into them. Mom and dad attended this event for many years. It’s a blessing for me and Patty to go where they have gone before us.
Speaking of mom….At the beginning of July she was diagnosed with lung cancer, which they thought was stage 3. This past Friday we found out it is actually stage 4. It was a pretty devastating diagnosis for us. Through that night and early Saturday, the Lord spoke to me and mom both. He gave mom Hebrews 10:35-38 “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward…” and told her not to shrink back. She says she is going to say what He says about her. The scripture he gave me was Isaiah 43:26, “Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; State your case that you may be acquitted.” So I proceeded to state mom’s case to Him and although His word says for us to put Him in remembrance, He is so gracious to us that He actually brought all the scriptures to my remembrance that I needed to remind Him of! How awesome is that! Our flesh is quick to jump on the sinking boat. And true, it has been an emotional struggle but at some point we have to decide if we want victory, how can we walk in the shoes of defeat? How can we walk and talk as if we’re hopeless, when Hebrews 6:19 tells us “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…” We have this hope! An anchor keeps something from drifting away. So this anchor of hope holds us steadfast, unwavering, not drifting off into the murky waters that our thoughts would try to take us into. A dear friend sent us this scripture, Isaiah 46:4-5 “Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs, I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you. God’s promises are lifesaving. We stand on them, cling to them, and rejoice in them. When we think things don’t make sense, Mom has told me before that “God has more at stake.” Isaiah 55:8,9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” He knows what He is doing and what will be accomplished. It’s up to us to trust Him. “What can we say then, If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31. He promises us that although our afflictions are many, He will deliver us out of them all, and tells us not to fear because He is with us and He will strengthen and help us. His ways are perfect, His word is proven. He is our shield and our staff. I’m finding myself wavering back and forth like a flag in the wind trying to find my footing when I know she is in pain and there is nothing physically we can do to help her. And I can’t imagine what those moments are like for her. That’s when your thoughts start swirling and you have to tell yourself, “Wait, We have this Hope!” And once again you secure yourself to the anchor, start rereading the promises and pick up the shield of faith that a moment ago you forgot you were holding and had dropped to the floor.
In Romans He tells us that we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. In Isaiah He tells us He will uphold us with His righteous right hand, and that when we wait on Him He shall renew our strength, and we shall mount up with wings like eagles, and we shall run and not be weary, and we shall walk and not faint. He goes on to say that when we pass through the waters, He will be with us, and through the rivers, they shall not overtake us, and when we walk through the fire we shall not be burned and that the flame will not scorch us. In Psalms He tells us to look up to the hills because our help comes from the Lord, the One who made heaven and earth! In Hebrews He tells us to come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Your sister in Jesus,