Newsletter December 2016

Hello friends,

I hope you are well and enjoying this special time of year. Susie and I are all prepared for the Christmas stuff and looking forward to time with family. I hope that is true for you as well and that you are not experiencing any stress from the hype that has also been attached to this wonderful time of celebration.

It has been a somewhat tough year for me. As many of you know I have been experiencing some severe low back pain since last fall.  I went through so many different doctors, chiropractors and physical therapy with no correct diagnosis. I had some time last winter where things were done that gave me relief for a time, but eventually they won’t continue those things. The spring and early summer found me home bound much of the time, or very limited activity. Thankfully just before I was to have a surgery to implant a device in my back, that I know now would have not helped me, I tried another type of doctor and found out the source of my problem in late July. It was still a process to go through but on November 30 I had laparoscopic surgery on both SI joints in my pelvis and I am on the mend.

Although my activity has been limited primarily to the County Jail in downtown KC, the work of the ministry in other facilities has continued.

  • Our ladies at the women’s facility in Chillicothe recently had four women complete the Discipleship Program. I believe they plan to move forward with a study called Blueprints.
  • Our guys at Crossroads have been going through Daniel on one of our days there and Hebrews on another.
  • Ron and some of the guys are still in the Diagnostic Center in St. Jo every Sunday morning and doing Chapel services on Thursday nights. Cornelius took over the one Sunday morning per month that I had been preaching in that facility.
  • At JCDC some of our guys are involved doing a class every Monday morning and then distributing requested materials to inmates in their living areas and doing small Bible studies.
  • God blessed us with the opportunity to do a special Bible giveaway in the facility in St. Joseph, MO as well. We posted fliers offering a Scofield Study Bible III, bonded leather and indexed on the side. All the inmates needed to do was fill out some paperwork in the facility and then write to us to request one. We gave away 300 of these Bibles! There was much excitement about this. We pray it impacts individual and group studies among the inmates to expand on what we and others do there with them.
  • Last Thursday we sponsored the Christmas Banquet at WRDCC as we have done for the last few years. It was the first time I had been in that facility all year because of my health issues. We had 47 inmates who are regular members of the Christian programs in that facility attend. The inmate band led us in worship to begin the evening. I cannot explain how precious the time was worshiping our Savior with those men. Then we all ate pizza, which was a sight to watch them go after food like that which they never get, then Corn laid out some truth from the Word. For me it was like coming home for Christmas.
  • I recently gathered all the information from our female inmates at JCDC about their children from whom they will be separated this Christmas. The Midtown Baptist Temple, as they did last year, is adopting those kids. We are doing our version of the well known Angel Tree program that is done in prisons. Jails have higher turnover so are not normally included. MBT adopted 31 kids this year. Last year I think we had about 80, but lower numbers is a good thing.
  • I continue to spend most of my time in JCDC as mentioned. In truth my position here is more that of a supervisor over all of the religious volunteers and the programs they are doing, plus dealing with the religious issues of our 1000 inmates. I facilitated three trainings on Saturdays in October alone. Although I miss the personal part of teaching or preaching God’s Word to groups of inmates, I think what I am doing here is extremely important. My job is to make sure as many opportunities for ministry as possible are available and then find good people to do them.
  • Last week I picked up 1000 goodie bags put together by a Lutheran Women’s Auxiliary group. They put cookies, candy and tracts in small paper bags. Today I received 1000 apples, 1000 oranges and 1000 Hershey Bars from the City Union Mission. Tomorrow a group of our volunteers here at JCDC will bag one of each of these items all together and distribute them to all the inmates here. One more way to show the love of Christ and His Church to inmates.

These are just some of the things we have happening. Through the years our support has declined. I am not available, or really inclined, to spend a lot of time seeking support. Since we began fifteen years ago I have largely left that up to the Lord. But I would ask you to consider us. We spent thousands of dollars on those Study Bibles this year. None of what I do is compensated by the County Jail or any other means. Only by the faithful giving of believers do we continue, what I believe to be, a critical ministry. Please consider supporting us both financially and in prayer.

Have a Merry Christmas!!

Gene