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 Fellowship. I 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 Ministry. During 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,