At the end of November we headed south to participate in a prison crusade. This was the second time we were able to be a part of this particular outreach. Prison ministry is something we enjoy and SO look forward to. And especially since January was the last prison outreach we were involved with, we were excited to be doing it again.
On our way down we stayed in Kentucky with some friends of ours, who always are amazing hosts when we are passing through. And since this was Kentucky, guess where our family had to go…?Yes, the Ark Encounter! (Starting about here we lost some of our trip pictures, so they will be a little sparse.)
It’s a great place to visit! The inside of the ark really helps put into perspective what it may have been like, and the displays give good reasons for the credibility of the Bible. (And while you are there make sure to visit the kangaroos in the zoo there if you want a few good laughs.)
Next, it was off to Tennessee for Thanksgiving with our grandparents and family. We always love seeing them.
From Tennessee we went to North Carolina for a few days for Dad to do some ministry recording. We were able to stay at a camp that has very graciously let us use their place a number of times. We have gotten to know the people associated with camp and enjoy great times of fellowship when we stay there.
And the Cherokee, North Carolina, area is such a beautiful place!
After North Carolina…Florida for prison ministry!
The first prison we went to was a different experience. When we arrived and came up to the gate, we tried to check in but discovered we were not able to enter. Most of the volunteers were able to, but something had happened with processing our family’s information, so we had to wait outside the prison while everything was being sorted out. Of course we were praying that it would all work out, but we were unaware of who else was praying. After sitting under the pavilion for probably at least an hour, we were cleared to come in, and by the time we made it through security and to the chapel it was well past our scheduled starting time. But the prison worship band was up on stage singing for those gathered while they waited! And when we walked in, one of the inmates said, “Praise the Lord! This is what we prayed for!”
At our second prison we held two services, and in at least one of those I know that between the volunteers and Dad, they were able to individually pray with most if not all the inmates. Dad preached the gospel in both of the services. The chaplain told us later that one of those groups of inmates was being moved soon, so it was wonderful that the last thing they heard in that chapel was the gospel message.
In the third prison there was a man who represents a lot of the inmates we encounter. Just by looking at him you could tell he had a tough background…but he had been saved and made a new creation. When he came forward during the invitation Dad had a chance to talk with him. He’s getting out soon, and life is so uncertain, but he really wants to trust God in all of it. Pray for people like him, for men and women whom God has gotten a hold of, whether they are getting out or not.
Sunday morning was the last service and it turned out we were going back to a prison we had been in last year. It just seemed like such a joyful morning, with the inmates excited to be in the chapel to worship God. After we sang we sat in the back row of the chapel, and when the invitation was given, a number of inmates went forward to respond to however God was working in their hearts. Seeing them kneeling in prayer, and one standing with his hand raised, made me think of what a day that will be when all of us who are redeemed will be kneeling around the throne, worshiping Jesus.
Thank you so much to everyone who was praying for us. You got to be a part of this too!
On our way home we stayed with our cousins…
…spent a couple nights in the Wisconsin Dells with friends…
…and kept in mind we were heading north to Pickle Lake a few weeks after that!