The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed. -Luke 4:18
Our team does a lot of ministry–ministry for which the impact is sometimes hard to measure in the here and now. This past weekend was a rare exception as we got to see very visible and tangible evidence of what our Father was choosing to do before our very eyes. Because the majority of our time was spent in prisons, we were unable to photograph so I will do my best to help you see what you have been a part of by sending us.
As many of you know, I had an accident last week where I suffered a torn MCL (Knee), was in severe pain and unable to walk. After praying about it, Colton and I decided that if he went, we could still give this a try with the Lord as our strength. We also requested emergency prayer from you, our supporters. We KNOW you prayed. Thank you, both for praying and your many notes of encouragement. This is a lengthy update but we want you to be encouraged at how the Lord mightily and specifically answered your prayers.
For the first 3 services, the Brown family provided an amazing concert/worship service and then I shared in a time of teaching.
Keep in mind Father’s Day in prison is generally not a good day. Most of these men live in torment because of the damage their fathers did to them and also because of overwhelming regret that things are not right between them and their own children.
Our Father met them. It was very clear and obvious that these men were in desperate need of a Father that knew how to love them. Jesus was the sacrifice necessary for these men to know God as a Father.
In each service, nearly every man stood with tears streaming down their faces and said “Yes. I receive the gift of forgiveness that Jesus has provided and I open my heart to you God to be my Father.”
As my pastor, Andy Taylor taught me, “If God wanted anything other than a family, He would have called himself something other than a Father.”
At the end of each event, I stood and gave great big, loving, and compassionate hugs. I could feel the stress leave their bodies as I prayed and embraced what the world mostly sees as hardened criminals. One man told me while weeping “That was the first real hug I have ever had from a man.”
The next day was the one I was most concerned about. We had two horse breaking events to get through. Colton and I were at a loss for how to do it. By now, I could hobble around with lots of tape and a brace. Within 10 minutes of getting through security and setting up, The Brown family was playing. The horse and I were in the arena and the prisoners flocked around the pen to watch.
As the horse ran and I watched these Fatherless men, I felt like the Holy Spirit reminded me that the only way to the Father is through the Son. It was then that I knew how this whole thing would go down. The horse was the picture for these men to see so I invited Colton into the pen with me and told the horse that if he wanted to be free, he would have to receive my Son. Colton quietly walked up to the horse and got on. Although the horse bucked around a bit, he quickly settled and was quiet. The men saw how the fear that separated the horse from me was cured by receiving my son. Once again, I spent the next hour giving Hugs and praying with what once was condemned men.
That evening, we traveled to LaGrande, Oregon for a citywide outreach that was dreamed up and brought to pass by an 18-year-old autistic student who accomplished this as her senior project. Four years ago, she decided she wanted to have me come to her town and help her community learn how to love better. She said that just because she was different, she didn’t want people to be mean to her. She said that God could help them, and she was right.
The community showed up big time. The horse was spectacular. She was a three-year-old beautiful, well-bred black beauty. Despite her pedigree, she was nothing but a prideful, rebellious filly that bucked and kicked to express her strength. Once she realized her way wasn’t working and she saw that I was waiting, she received my son and was made new. The Brown Family Music was anointed and the response was overwhelming. People saw the Truth and were set free.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts both for praying us through these events and sending us to these prisoners…not just the ones in jail, but also those who are prisoners to sin. We pray that you felt the love of God as our Father this Father’s Day.
Photo courtesy of Powder River Correction Institution