June 2016 update

Hello friends,

It has been several months since I sent out an update. The truth is, unfortunately, I have been having some health issues and have been limited immensely in my personal movements. Some of you know, but I have not made a lot of public notice of the  the fact that I have been having some serious back issues since last fall. Through the fall and winter I saw a couple of doctors that gave me some temporary relief, but the spring has been pretty difficult. I have now seen several doctors and am at a loss for the real root of my problem. I am coming to understand that this is not uncommon with back trouble. At the moment I am doing physical therapy a couple of times a week in a pool. I did not leave the house for several weeks but am now trying to get into JCDC at least a couple of times a week for a few hours. Truthfully, I am still in severe pain most of the time when standing and walking, but trusting God for his help. So many members of our team have picked up the slack for me covering things I could not. I would appreciate your prayers for me and our gang. I will list our Keys Team at the end of this update.

We were able to be instrumental at Christmas and Easter in facilitating special banquets for inmates on the “Christian Callout” in two prisons, WRDCC and CRCC. It is a blessing to fellowship inside prison walls with men who love our Lord, over food they never get from the outside and without a specific agenda accept that very fellowship with believers.

Since getting back into the office at JCDC these last couple of weeks I have been able to make some headway on something we have been working on for several months. In August a group of young men from the Midtown Baptist Temple will take over one of the Sunday morning services in the County jail. This is something I have been praying about for three years. We need more young godly men teaching, preaching and interacting with young men whose lives have not allowed them many of good examples of a true relationship with Christ. I’m pretty pumped. Please pray for this new group in JCDC.

This month is Ramadan for the Muslim world. We had over 100 inmates at JCDC sign up to participate in this fast. I have little to do with this at the beginning as the Chaplain there, but when it ends in July I will need to work with their volunteer to schedule their Eid al-Fitr. This is a big banquet that they have to celebrate ending the month long fast. Although I will not participate obviously, I will be there at the beginning while the food is brought in and the inmates are moved to the room where they will have the banquet. One hundred will not participate because many will break the fast and take regular food trays at some point during the month. Each year during this time of set up I meet men I have not interacted with in the jail before and God often opens doors for later conversations. Many “Christians” have said harsh things to me through the years because of my comments about interaction with people of other faiths. I struggle a little bit with that from people who are supposedly followers of Jesus Christ. Did he not die to save the lost? Are we not saved from eternal damnation only because someone shared that truth with us? Didn’t Peter tell us that the Lord is not willing that any should perish? I will talk to any man about Christ regardless of his purported faith or what crime he may have committed if he comes to me with true questions in sincerity.

Please pray for our team, many of whom travel many miles each time to spend an hour or two with men and women behind prison walls.

Rickey P., Ron G., Chris B., Aaron D., Cornelius C., Darryl J., Mike R., Tom R., Guy D., Gene S., Herschel C., Tracie G., Janna W., Karen N., Dan S., Paul L., Cynthia L., Ronda M.

Hopefully I will have more to share in the future as I, prayerfully, will become more mobile and able to get back into the swing of things.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. This year makes twenty years since I became the volunteer Chaplain at MCI and fourteen years since I left my secular job and started The Keys. Please continue to partner with us. Literally thousands of men and women in Jails and Prisons have heard the gospel clearly presented during these years, and many, many have accepted Christ. Help us to keep up the work with your prayers and financial support.

Gene