June 23, 2008
Monday, 6:00 p.m.
Letter #37: The Lesson of the Lovebirds
Greetings! God is Alive and Well in Soledad, California! The prison population makes up over 50% of Soledad, and many of the guys I know here spend time with God each day. As one older guy said to me today, “I spent years running from God: I wanted to do wrong, but I’m finally listening to Him. I want to do right.” God brought many of us to our knees in order to bring us to our feet, marching for Him.
God gave me a special blessing yesterday, through a visit from Daddy. I’d just finished playing “Because He Lives” and another hymn for our worship time at church, when I was called to the visit. A collective “Awww …” was uttered when I got up from the bench, and one guy said, “Tell them you have to finish playing the piano first!”
I thanked the Lord for the honor of praising Him with the gift He gave me and thanked Him for an awesome one-on-one time with my dad. A fun note was that our church service increased from 150 to 200 guys (packed room!) this week. Praise God that several guys mentioned that they’d felt strengthened to invite someone else because of the music. Seeing how God works in each part of the Body of Christ touched me. I just want to remain humble and usable—He’ll do the rest!
God has blessed me through His creation recently, too. I actually noticed beautifully scented flowers on the sides of the pathway leading from my yard to the visiting room. Ahh! What a sight! What a smell! Funny, that I never have been the ooh-and-ahh at nature type, thanks in part to being wired to enjoy marketing, sales, technology, and the like. Well, I don’t see much technology here! And our yard, thanks to the well becoming polluted, no longer has water, so it’s dirt as far as the eye can see. So the flowers stood out with a welcoming scent and brought enjoyment and refreshment.
Late Saturday afternoon, the sky was strewn with puffs of clouds in tiny individual patches of brilliant white, as if God was playing with a feather pillow and got carried away. It wasn’t a wasted effort on His part—I loved it!
Walking to breakfast Sunday morning at around 7:30 a.m., the wind whipped the yard and made me wish I’d worn my heavy denim jacket to block the chill that cut through my thin over-shirt and T-shirt. Looking out at the yard as I walked I saw something I bet you’ve never seen. (Okay, granted, I’m sure I’ve seen a whole lot here you’ve never seen, nor would you ever want to) 🙂 This was an oddity of nature, for sure—two birds on a picnic table, cuddling up, facing each other, with their heads on the other’s neck, looking like they were hugging.
Not so unusual, you say? Ever seen two crows getting amorous with each other? You know those people who are married and you wonder how they ever get along—and they even have kids, proving they’ve spent at least a little bit of time together? Yeah? Those are crows! God wanted to show me that nothing is impossible with Him! The God-Creator who can turn ordinary crows into lovebirds because of a stiff wind can, with His Spirit, blow through the homes of troubled marriages and cause even the toughest old birds to have to lean on each other.
Thank you for your prayers and letters of support. God is faithfully using your urgency and passion to equip me for what He’s called me to do. He blesses me with everything that I need because of your love for me in prayer. In the days ahead, I hope to bring to you special requests, ways that you can also be practically involved in the ministry here.
Please pray specifically that the prison leadership here will have a change of heart. We used to be able to “check out” Christian CDs from the Chapel library. However, the leadership doesn’t want CDs “on the yard”—walked back to the buildings from the library. When you get a package, though, you walk your CDs across the yard back to your building, so it seems to just be a pressure against the Christians.
I believe God just wants us to be grateful for the privilege we have and cry out to Him to show His power. Many church sermons on CDs, as well as praise and worship CDs, are in that library of blessing. Please pray! I’ll keep you posted.
In turn, if there is a specific way I can pray for you, please let me know! It is a joy to lift you up to the Lord each day. I love you ALL!
In His service!