The Heart of Texas Foundation
May 2010

Diary Update After Angola, OH, VA, NC, and Texas

May 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Dear Diary,

It’s been a supersonic 3 weeks, and I’m good with speeds above the mach.  Ignition at those velocities tends to blow the flame down into the belly, where it belongs.

We did go back to Angola, and then up to Ohio for the Out

4Life Conference sponsored by Chuck Colson’s organization, Prison FellowshipI was a plenary speaker, and was honored to be able to meet and visit with Mark Early, former Senator of Virginia, and now the new President/CEO of Prison Fellowship, having said “yes” to Colson’s appeal for Mark to take the helm.  I made lots of good contacts among wardens and volunteer organizations in prison ministry, and met Lorraine Whoberry, founder of Stacie Foundation.  Lorraine will join me in some Texas events in July of this year, coming out to be with us from Cincinnati.  She will share her testimony in women’s prisons with us.

From there I went to Washington, DC area– to Fairfax VA, .  I spoke in prisons there, to men and women, and in two services in the Barcroft Bible Church.  What a great church, and what great leadership— thoughtful enough to house me with a real, honest to goodness fighter pilot (F-15 Strike Eagle, no less), Milt Clary and his wonderful wife Karen.  It was great to hear phrases I had not heard in years… we fighter pilots have really cool ways of expressing ourselves.  It’s a language only we can understand.  We do that for reasons we’re not sure of.  But nevertheless, we pulled the chocks, spooled up and rotated into many FPR’s (“fighter pilot reveries”).  Got to see old friends Joanna and Loran Ambs, and their precious daughter Elizabeth, just married.  The Ambs used to live in Fulshear and were neighbors.  Loran is a genius scientist who holds patents and a heart that loves the Lord Jesus Christ.

The next week it was into North Carolina Prisons with Scottie and Jack Barnes, founders of Forgiven MinistryDuring about 5 days we were in 7 different prisons, speaking to hundreds of men, and teenagers in a prison where they were down to 14 years of age— and some of them doing life in prison.  For the first time, I learned pastors must feel like when they preach to hearts of stone.  Hard ground.  Baked and crusty soil.  I remembered my goal, to see them as sons, and that helped me love them as I spoke to their hardened, hurting hearts.  The teens warmed up later, but were tragically seared shut as we started.  It takes time to melt a heart, but God is in that business, too.  That’s why he can have the furnace turned up 7-times hotter than normal.

Then it was back to Texas in a breathtaking dash from Charlotte, North Carolina to Houston to make an 8pm meeting in Houston at Second Baptist Church, being introduced by Senator Dan Patrick as I ran into the auditorium from the parking lot!  Paul Koby managed to get me from the airport to the church in what seemed like ten minutes.  Dan handed me the wireless mic and I was so out of breath I could not have whistled Dixie.  The crowd enjoyed it as much as we did.  Thank you Lord for helping me get home in time!

If you care enough to read this far, then know that I am thanking God for you as I write this.  I thank Him that He has brought you to us, to learn more about what some simple, cow-town folks like us are doing to reach out to America’s most despised people.  Before my first visit to a prison, I had no idea how hungry their hearts are to know that somebody can still love them– in spite of their terrible mistakes and their stupid choices.    May God find a way to help these men, women, teenagers, and– yes, even young children–through you.  Whether it is through your prayers for us and them, or in other ways, I thank God for bringing you to this page.

Cordially yours with Great Hope,

Grove Norwood

The Texas Prison Seminary Task Force Saddles UP!

May 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Today is Friday, and we’re hustling out here in the country to get ready for the trip, which begins tomorrow.  About 20 men will be going with me to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.  Warden Burl Cain has extended his hospitality to

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allow The Heart of Texas Foundation to coordinate this trip so that these men, all hand-picked by God, will be able to spend 3 days with the Warden, and to witness the Graduation of the Class of 2010, from the Angola Bible College.    Here’s an email I sent out to a few of our supporters yesterday, and wanted to share with everyone– click on the links, turn your speakers on, and roll the volume up.  Listen to Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and me as we talk about our joint effort; done in two separate interviews with Dallas Talk Show Host, Jim Wilson of KCBI!

Hi, Friends of the Foundation,

This is a recent interview with Dr. Paige Patterson, who is the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of America’s largest Seminaries, in Forth Worth.  This was conducted about 5 weeks after I had meet with him and his executive faculty on April 1, and was held in Dr. Patterson’s office on the campus, by Jim Wilson, talk show host and newscaster, KCBI Radio, Dallas.Click on the link below to listen to the interview with Dr. Patterson. Turn your computer speakers on, of course, and volume up(I was interviewed by Jim this morning at 7:40, on KCBI, also.  Jim is going to go to Angola with us, and will broadcast in a special arrangement, from inside the prison grounds while we are there.  You can listen to our interview this morning by going to KCBI Interviews.

Thanks so much for your encouragement and support.  Help us keep on helping those who cannot repay.

Grove.

A lot is going on, and if you keep checking here, I will try to keep you posted as we head to Angola with this great team of men!  The goal?  To return to Texas with a total committment to waste no time in establishing a scholarly chain of Accredited, 4-year Bible Colleges in Texas Prisons, and begin the total moral rehabilitation of our incarcerated men, women, and teenagers.  The answer lies in the human being’s “moral compass”— and it takes education and a true change of heart to swing the compass toward living a productive life, instead of a descructive life.  Stay tuned, and thank you for your prayers and support!  We continue to schedule prison and church events, and you can stay up to date on at our Travel Schedule.

 

Grove Speaks to Cherry Tree Republicans Club

May 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Cherry Tree Republicans Welcome Dan Patrick and “The Heart of Texas”

by Edith Gibson
Cherry Tree Republicans

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none”>The Cherry Tree Republicans’ monthly meeting for April was held Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at Wyndehaven Terrace on Cutten Road in Houston. After a brief business meeting, the attendees were privileged to view a screening of “The Heart of Texas – The Movie.” Executive Producer, Senator Dan Patrick, made a round-trip flight from Austin just to introduce the movie. A crowd of almost 200 attended this event that had advertised a special “mystery” guest to appear at the end of the movie to discuss what they had just seen. There had been a teaser that it could possibly be the Governor or Chuck Norris, both big fans of the movie. Since “The Heart of Texas” has been out for quite a while, it was interesting and exciting to find that when Senator Patrick asked for the hands of those who had NOT seen it, approximately 75% were about to see it for the first time.

For the next hour, the audience was intently and quietly focused on the 9×12-foot screen. After the movie, there was hardly a sound when Senator Patrick went to the podium to introduce the “mystery” guest. Although many people had guessed it would be Chuck Norris who lives up the road from Houston, when Grove Norwood (whose story was the subject of the movie) was introduced he was received with a standing ovation. There was tremendous excitement at who the “mystery” guest turned out to be. After cheers and applause, Grove was handed the microphone and stood in the center of the room (which for some events is the dance floor) and spoke of events surrounding the tragedy that was the devastating loss of his four-year old daughter, Joy. He shared this phenomenal and incredible story of friendship, loss, grief, faith and a forgiveness that most people have difficulty in understanding. “The Heart of Texas” is a true story that happened to a family in Fulshear, Texas – Grove Norwood’s family. Throughout his presentation, Grove’s voice was filled with conviction, with faith, with understanding and assurance, and with all the emotion and empathy you would expect from one who had lost a child

Not wanting to give away details for the few people who have not yet seen this movie, Grove spoke of how grief gave way to tender understanding and a forgiveness that is remarkable, and how this tragedy lead the path to what he is doing today. As this story spread and people sought him out to see if this really happened, he was asked if he would consider sharing it, and he said yes to Senator Patrick. He suggested that some in the audience might have personal stories of their own, and perhaps they were holding on to issues from which they need to forgive, let go and move on. You could tell by facial expressions and nods of heads of some that he was right. Grove encouraged everyone to embrace faith and hope and that would get them through anything.

Grove told of how he heard many times from people who had somehow and surprisingly seen “The Heart of Texas” while inmates in prisons and that the story encouraged and caused changes in their lives. The audience was told that today Grove Norwood has his own faith-based prison ministry and that, as President of The Heart of Texas Foundation, he takes this film to prisons around the state, and through the incredible story of the Norwood Family, lives are being changed. He takes the gospel to inmates and reminds them of God’s love for them and His forgiveness is waiting for even them if they will just ask for it.

As Cherry Tree Republicans are aware of the cost of food, gas, lodging, etc. in taking this message to the State prisons and Penitentiary in Texas, there was a desire to help in some way. Baskets were passed to the attendees for donations and they responded very generously and many heart-felt dollars were collected to help in this ministry. Grove and the three friends who accompanied him were surprised that this was done and amazed at the generosity. The Club is very proud of the way everyone stepped up.

Both Grove and Dan stayed for longer than I think they planned. Although a plane was waiting to take him back to Austin, Dan very graciously listened to concerns of some of his constituents and Grove listened intently to individuals who did have stories of their own, both posing for photo ops. He gave encouragement and passed his card for people to contact him personally. He even came up with a few volunteer recruits for The Heart of Texas Foundation!

I first met Grove Norwood several months before at another event at which he spoke, and as VP of Cherry Tree Republicans, I knew then that I wanted to have him share his story with us. I was extremely happy that he said yes to my request and very proud that Senator Dan Patrick was onboard to introduce him. For a few days before the meeting, it looked as if Dan wasn’t going to be able to come because of some last minute Senate committee meetings that were scheduled for the entire week. Words cannot express the gratitude for his efforts and going over and above to fly in and make it there just seconds before his introduction of Grove. Thank you, Grove and Dan, for making that night a memorable one for all of the attendees.

~ Edith Gibson
Vice-President, Cherry Tree Republicans