Why do I, do you, do we involve ourselves in things? There are many reasons; some selfish, while many are because you are driven by passion, a calling, something bigger than yourself. It is not so much the what, when, where or how as it is the ‘why’. Once why is settled, these other questions will take their course, mainly to fulfill the object of why.
For me, one of the ‘whys’ in my life started when I was 32 or so. Christ had become real and personal. The word began to shape my thinking. As I was discovering this new life, I was led early on to the scriptures where Jesus was discussing the subject of ‘the least of these’. Among other things, he said “I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Mt. 25.36 NKJV). And Jesus went on to say that if you did it to any of these, you were doing it to him. I soberly said to him; I would go to prisons if that was your choice for me. One week later a couple invited me to be the teacher in Seagoville federal prison. That was 47 years ago. And rarely have I missed a week when I was not in a prison of some nature. He does the calling and determines the timing! That’s my ‘why’ I go.
Occasionally, he gives you a clear view of what he meant. And the overwhelming joy you receive leads to unbridled praise to him. Many of you reading this have supported me, and Abiding Fathers. You have given, prayed, served and encouraged. You deserve to get a glimpse of what God is doing in the lives of the ‘least of these’, thus to him. We wanted you to be blessed along with us. Read this short testimony by Clay who got to see and hear up close and personal the joy in one inmate’s life.
I went to the Powledge Unit last night to start a new book/chapter series.
As we were getting organized to form our small groups, an inmate at an adjoining group came up to me and asked if I had two minutes? At first, I thought he wanted a favor or some type of prison advice, and I was thinking maybe we could visit after the small group session.
Instead, (through God’s intervention) I said “let’s talk”. He wanted to tell how much he appreciated the material, the discussions and the volunteer involvement in the Abiding Fathers study. Further, he said that he absorbed several new ideas on how to reconnect with his children, which he had not seen in 4.5 years. For the first time since in prison, he decided to write letters to his children telling them how much he missed them and how much that he still loved them.
This past Saturday, he told me that his children came to visit him. He was able to see and talk to them for the first time in 4.5 years. I nearly started crying when I heard this story; all I could do was give him a big bear hug. I am going to pray for his continued reconnection.
I still do not know his name but this one story alone made the past five months worth it, and I am sure there are other similar stories of which I am not aware.
I want to thank you and your ministry for the many ways you made this possible.
Clay M. Smith”
Thank you, Clay, and all the others who in some way are ministering daily to Christ through the incarcerated. Yes, there are many other stories, 17 of which are on a dvd recorded at a recent graduation ceremony, and are being featured on www.bethedadmovement.com. And to the readers; thank you for standing with us in so many ways. But, if you really want to experience boundless joy, come with us some time. But I warn you, it is addicting!
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn. 15.11 NKJV).