September 2019 Newsletter
Writing something to you is passed due. I pray you have not forgotten us in your prayers. We just continue to minister as God opens doors. I realize this letter is long. Please read at least down through the prayer request below.
We are still very active in four facilities and about to start in a fifth. We hold 8-9 chapel services per month plus many small group and one on one’s in the living areas.
In one of these small groups a couple of weeks ago Brian A. and I were in a module with several guys sitting around the table. Brian and I went back and forth between each other sharing with this small group of men while thirty other inmates milled around us talking and laughing and the tv that hung right above us on the wall blared at a high enough volume for everyone to hear. It was a blessed time of fellowship nonetheless. However, one inmate named Michael seemed to be hurting and really seeking answers about God. He really didn’t understand what this Jesus thing was all about, but he wanted to. Before we left that area, Michael received Christ. After he prayed, he broke down right there in the midst of that module and cried his eyes out due to the great relief and joy he felt. I have seen him since and every time he is beaming and eager to learn the Word. It often seems that some folks think prison ministry is not productive. I have been blessed to see many, many Michaels in my years.
Below are some things that have been going on since I last wrote, and things we are praising God for. But I need to get in a prayer request. Ron Green has been my faithful partner in ministry to jails and prisons for twenty years. For many years now he has been our main guy in the prison in St. Joseph, Missouri. He has faithfully gone there every Sunday morning and Thursday night for a very long time. He is known and deeply loved by many, many inmates. If you know Ron that won’t be a surprise to you.
Ron is at a point in his life where he needs to start pulling away from some of the physical labor he has done as a painter most of his adult life. He has such a heart for this ministry that we have decided to use him more and give him a part time wage. He has already begun spending every Wednesday in the prison in St. Jo as is mentioned below, but soon may be taking another day for the Reentry Center, also mentioned below.
We are trusting God to supply additional giving so that we can afford to do this and expand our possibilities inside the prisons. Please consider giving to this ministry.
Since I last wrote;
- The Discipleship program we have been doing through the mail has continued. We have nine men that have been faithful to study and communicate with our men. There have been struggles keeping others engaged, as we expected. Some just fall away. But there are also many things that happen during incarceration that makes it difficult, beyond the inmate’s control.
- Ron Green has begun doing the same lessons with a small group in the prison chapel on Wednesday mornings. This has been going well and is probably the way we will continue. After those doing the lessons through the mail have completed them, I don’t expect to try to push that any longer.
- Being there on Wednesdays has also given Ron and I the opportunity to spend more time in the Diagnostic Unit. He and I, and three other guys that rotate, are there every Sunday morning and now Wednesday afternoons as well.
- I have had opportunity to fill in for the Chaplain at one of the facilities many times over the last couple of months. In fact, I will be there doing that twice this week. This gives me the opportunity to help the inmates by keeping the chapel open, to minister to the Chaplain by helping to stay on top of some of his paperwork duties so they don’t back up and to meet men who don’t come to our services but do come in to talk to the Chaplain.
- The Electric Rev., Jimmie Bratcher visited the prison in St. Jo with us early summer. It is always a blessing for him to go along with us. He is so talented musically and has a special way of presenting the gospel. The inmates were impacted greatly.
- My brother Bob Weston also went into the prison with me a couple of times this year while he was in town from Jamaica. For many years now he has insisted on going somewhere with me when he is in town. He was anointed. As many of you know he passed away a couple of weeks later before he could return to Jamaica. I truly miss him. The heavenly choir is blessed.
- One of the first inmates I met when I started going into state prisons many years ago was a guy named Tim K. He led the small praise team in our chapel services. He has been out of prison for many years now. We have loosely stayed in touch. Recently he invited me to his home church to see him preach his first message to the church. In his message he took a moment to introduce me and talk about the people who come to prison to minister to inmates and what an impact it makes on so many. It is truly amazing to watch God grow so many of these men we met in prison into leaders in the Church.
- Ron, Dan and I will be meeting this Friday with the Chaplain of the Kansas City Release Center in the downtown area of KC. Pleas pray that God gives us wisdom on how we might minister there.
These are just some of the things that come to mind to share with you. Please pray for us.
In His Grip,