Saturday, July 19, 2014

Biggest Blessing of the Day - When a Man Stranded at Bus Station with a Life Sentence Crashes My Meeting!

My friend Laura Headley has inspired me to blog again. I love writing, but just get so busy with life. But she wrote something inspiring and then we had a chance to talk about it and I realized I've missed putting thoughts down on paper.

So today I want to write about something that happened on our Kairos team meeting today. Those who have read for a  while know I am very involved in Kairos prison ministry.  See for some of my earlier thoughts about this ministry.

Well, we are gearing up for our Fall 2014 weekend Sept. 11-14 and I'm serving as the leader of this weekend.  I'm sure I'll post again later about ways you can help.  But today was our 2nd team meeting.  I had just had team members pair up with their prayer partners and they were spread out across the room sharing and praying together.  And I noticed a man on the side of the room.  He caught my eye and looked like he had something to say.  So I walked over there.  This is his story.

His name was "Bill" (I changed his name since this is a public blog).   He used to be at a maximum security men's prison in our state, where he had a life sentence.  He was nearing parole and had been moved to a transitional program in another area of our state.  It's kind of like work-release, but not exactly.  The transitional program is a more minimal security facility.  And long story - he was out on a weekend pass for some family reasons.  And he ended up stuck at the  bus station downtown with no money. He was trying to get back to the transitional program by tomorrow. He stayed at the bus station for over 24 hours when he decided to approach the church we were meeting in.  When he first came and saw that there were a bunch of women meeting inside, he left. A couple of our team members saw him leave. But he says he felt like God was telling him "Go back. Those are your sisters".  His answer? "My sisters! God, that's a bunch of women and most of them are white!" (He was black). But he came back, scared.  And he stood in the back of the room while I was speaking and heard the word "Kairos".  See, Bill had experienced a Kairos weekend when he was at the men's prison. He said it changed his life.  He told me he was muslim before that weekend.  (and fyi..our "goal" is not to convert anyone. Simply to love them like Jesus loves. Any changing of hearts is done by Him). But Bill's heart was changed.

I introduced Bill to the rest of the team and he shared with the team some very encouraging remarks about his life, what God had done for him, and he encouraged our team members in carrying out this ministry.  He told them to keep believing that God can change lives.  We invited him to stay for lunch and we collected a donation to buy him a bus ticket.  After lunch, a couple of our team members walked him to the bus station and got him the ticket.  He didn't want to leave!  I'm not sure who was more blessed - Bill or our team.  We so often get to plant some seeds.  But we don't always get to see the fruit of those seeds. Today, we were incredibly blessed to see the fruit of those seeds.

(And if my mom happens to read this - do not worry! It was a room full of people.  And we did have a few men present with us as well. We were all safe, I promise!)

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