April 15, 2010
Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
Letter #131: Fresh Holy Spirit Fire!
Hi! Thank you for your continued prayers and letters of support! We are involved actively in a battle for men’s souls. At times, we see great victories, and at others times, we experience major setbacks—but we press on! Your encouragement and fellowship are sources of great strength to me, as I realize we are in this together and “in it to win it!”
Our chapel services got a boost of fresh Holy Spirit fire this past Sunday as Andy Eden came and brought the Word of God to us. Many of you know Andy, and those of you who haven’t met him yet at least know of him. He is the man who met with new-parolee Sammy Summers on the day of his release and showered Christ’s love on him, committing to call him every day as an accountability partner and challenging him to give up the old man.
I was at visit during the first service but came in the back of the crowded second service and was met at the door by the chaplain, who told me to go up on stage and hug Andy—something he knew I’d been looking forward to doing for some time. Years ago, when I was traveling with my brothers as a quartet, Andy Eden and Maximum Security Prison Ministries had invited us to join him at a few prisons. Our schedule didn’t allow it, as we were back East at the time, though I did meet Andy at a concert we did in San Jose.
Time passed, and events in Andy’s life and mine both caused us to cease the ministry endeavors God had led us to do years ago. Next thing I know, Andy Eden wants to visit me and re-introduces himself in a letter. I insist that I not be so selfish to hog him in a visit—he should come and do a chapel service.
Well, long story short, he got approved … and here he was. Nearly a decade since we’d first thought to do ministry in prison together, I began my own prison “ministry” … and invited Andy to join me this time.
So, the hug was a long time in coming, and well deserved. True to form, Andy was praying and didn’t see me coming as I grabbed him. Also true to form, Andy, not knowing who was hugging him but just that it was an inmate whom Jesus loves, hugged back. He cried as I told him who I was and then joined my worship team for the final songs before Andy preached.
You are lacking a blessing if you have never witnessed Andy bring the Word, but you are lacking a massive blessing if you have never seen him share amongst the neediest of the needy—broken men with no hope. As he begged men who had “never before stepped forward to give their lives to Christ” to join him at the front, I played the piano, praying for God to touch hearts.
No one stepped up. Andy was on fire and spoke words of truth, knowing God’s Spirit was drawing men to Himself. What a joy, as five men gave their lives to Christ!
It isn’t an easy road ahead for any of them, so please pray that they grow in the Lord. We all are looking forward to Andy’s next visit on May 16th, part of his now monthly ministry among us here. Please lift him up in prayer!
Sammy had a lot going for him … he’d given his life to Christ, decided he was done going in and out of prison, chosen to live at home with his parents, landed a great job with my parents, created healthy relationships with a support team—including Andy Eden!—and it all sounded good. Except for one small thing: he didn’t want to lose his old friends he liked to “hang out” with—the same friends he’d always done drugs with.
A week and a half after leaving prison, he removed his monitoring bracelet provided by his parole officer, and he is currently on the run. It’s only a matter of time before he’s back in here, of course. It makes me sad—not because of the hours I spent or the hours others spent—but because of the lessons that must be learned the hard way in this battle for men’s souls.
Thank you for praying! Together, I pray we can reach guys at the heart-level and walk them into a deep relationship with their Savior.