Worthy is the Lamb, worthy is the Lamb, worthy is the Lamb! He is worthy of all our praise and adoration. Donut Days was a huge success and my heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for a God who is so merciful, so kind, so wonderful, and so faithful. The week was completely exhausting and completely wonderful. We ended up going up into five facilities. Each morning the donut trailer was set up around 6 a.m. at a different location. It was quite an operation. The dough was mixed, rolled, and cut into doughnuts inside the trailer. A big deep fryer was set up outside under an awning, along with two rows of tables under another awning for glazing. The first day we made over 3,000. The doughnuts were taken inside the prison and each inmate was given 2 of them with their supper meal. Four to five of the men who were with us were allowed into the chow hall to actually greet the men and invite them to our evening service. Us ladies had the blessed opportunity at that time to leave and shower! During one evening service, I went to rub my neck and found some sugar behind my ear that I’d missed! Mom can tell you, I cannot do anything without getting it all over me. If there would have been a prize for who wore the most glaze this week, I can guarantee it would have been mine. It wasn’t just on the outside of my shoes but my toes were glistening like precious crystals.
During the services the inmates were asked to share what the day meant to them, some of them had not had a donut in more than 20 years. That was a humbling moment. It made all the tiredness from the work fade away. Over and over we heard how much they appreciated it and how it made them feel loved, cared about. From a doughnut. Many of them came forward each night for prayer. I was surprised at how many of them I watched wiping away tears. Grateful hearts from such a simple act of kindness. How great is God. How wonderful are His mercies. He longs to soften the hardened hearts so His love can heal what our words can’t. As I said last month, we are only the conduit through which His love flows. God is a God of creativity. This whole donut truck thing is something that’s never been done here in the prisons, until 4 or 5 years ago, God put it on the heart of Carl Strite and his wife Miriam, donut makers from Virginia. Yesterday was our biggest donut making day, we made 6,000! It was a prison with 2,100 inmates and more than 300 officers. Out of all those inmates, only about 50 came to chapel. What overwhelming odds those men have against them in that environment. They are truly the minority. Yet this prison had scripture on the walls in the administration building we walked through. That was a rare site! Pray for it. It’s called Limestone Correctional Facility. God’s heart is for them. Can we believe that revival would break out in that place? Absolutely!
We walked through a big gymnasium to get to the small chapel. I was praying this morning for the gym to be needed for their church services as the body of believers in that place multiplies like wildfire.
The Strites are Mennonite by denomination but also born again Christians and they brought along a group of Mennonite volunteers with them. We slept at a shelter facility, girls in one dorm room, guys in another. It was one of the most joyful working weeks of my life! Without having ever been in a living environment with this denomination, I of course had my own preconceived idea of what the week would be like. I figured the best thing for me would probably be to stay as quiet as possible and try to get through the week without offending anyone. Little did I know how much I would fall in love them. They are a hoot! There wasn’t anything they’d be doing when their wasn’t outbursts of laughter. Even after getting up too early and working too long, they’d still be smiling. This group believes in community, fellowship, family, and hard work. And above that, they believe it should revolve around Jesus. We’d make it back to the shelter anywhere between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., eat supper, and then have group prayer for the next day. By this time it’d be at least 10 o’clock, usually later, the time any normal person’s brain is going into shutdown mode, and they’d still be smiling and would spend awhile longer talking to each other! Knowing the wake up time was only a few hours away! As if they hadn’t already been talking to each other the whole day and the day before and probably their whole lives. They enjoy endless fellowship. Craziest thing you’ve ever seen. J And guess how they wake up, yep, smiling. Eternity looks even better when you look at the beautiful variety of people we will get to spend it with.
At the Northpoint Kentucky prison in August the inmates put music to a rap song I wrote about the prison and it was a lot of fun. I told them when they get out of prison, we’ll go on the road and be famous. So at two of the prisons we were in this week, I asked if they had a drummer and each time me and the drummer would go over the song for about 5 minutes before the service and they’d play a beat for me while I did the song for the rest of the crowd. You’ll probably be surprised to find out I’m not really a rapper. But God has a great sense of humor and the guys seem to enjoy it. Dad always said if you’re not having fun you’re doing something wrong. We should be joyful when sharing Jesus.
As I was driving early yesterday morn to our last prison, an idea popped in my head. I was driving north and always think of north as being up. I thought what if we could drive all the way north through America, then Canada, and right at the top of the continent, we knew the throne of God was sitting there. I looked at my speedometer and seen it goes up to 120. My heart leaped as I thought about holding that pedal to the floor and driving straight through day and night to get there, just to run and throw myself at His feet and tell Him over and over, “I love You, I love You, I love, You, I love You so much!” And to thank Him a million times for saving me. My brain was exploding with joyful excitement! And then I thought, what if I seen someone walking on the side of the road, would I stop, or race by? That caused a tug of war in my heart. Wanting so desperately just to get there and yet knowing if I didn’t pull over, that one might never make it on foot. I could give you a whole sermon right here but I’ll just let you reach your own conclusion, as I did.
Be blessed in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.