Brothers and Sisters,
Yesterday, two of my fellow elders and I made the trek down to Lawrenceburg, TN to visit a former member of Hickory Grove. This man came to us as a graduate of Harvest Prison Ministry and left around 2016 to eventually get closer to family.
Some of you may already know who I’m talking about. For privacy’s sake, I’ll hold back the details. Let’s just say this gentleman made a few serious mistakes that ended up costing him in terms of his freedom (he was in prison for 8 years), family (most disowned him), and future prospects (bye, bye, opportunities for gainful employment).
But what I saw yesterday was not a man who’d been chewed up and spit out by life. What I heard was not a sad song about failure and a life poorly lived. Much the opposite. We spent a solid two hours praising God for the grace that has flowed both to and through this man.
I’ll condense that two hours down to two highlights for you:
First, this gentleman used his experience in prison to start a correspondence program that, to this day, provides free Bible training to inmates. Somehow, a bishop in Africa got wind of this program and the two have worked together to translate it into Swahili. As a result, more than 500 Africans are going or have gone through the program!
Second, this brother has become a pastor to the 44 residents of his assisted living facility. He visits them in their rooms, provides daily Scripture readings and prayer, and holds a weekly worship service attended by about half the population—including a few family members.
This is just a small sampling of the many things God is accomplishing through this ex-convict. I share them with you, first, so that you can praise God for His goodness and grace.
But it also does us good to remember the magnitude of God’s grace to us. No matter how far we fall or how hard, the grace that lifted Peter out of the pit of shame and Paul out of his murderous rebellion is the grace that can restore you, me, and our brother down in Lawrenceburg.
If you get a few minutes, praise God for the work He’s doing through this man. Praise Him for our brothers Rick and Richard and all the good work He’s doing through Harvest Prison Ministry. Pray that He would supply all three of these men richly. And pray for those who’ve been blessed by their ministries, that God’s grace would multiply in their lives and beyond.
Your Brother in Christ,