Last night, blue sky nine found our way back into Ellsworth Correctional Facility in Ellsworth, Kansas. We had played here over the weekend of April 24th and 25th, working in partnership with the great folks from Bill Glass Prison Ministries, and had a great reception. Since we were in the neighborhood on tour, we hooked up a return visit.
With the Bill Glass outreach, we were just a band playing as part of someone else’s program. This time, it was all us, and in addition to playing our music, I shared my story and how my relationship with Christ has changed my life.
We played for about 200 guys, and as always, they were very receptive and excited for us to be there. Not always for the right reasons, but we’ll take whatever chance we get to share with them. ‘On the inside’, the guys feel very much forgotten by the rest of the world, and any contact with someone from the outside is welcome.
We had a great time, and saw many dozens of the guys indicate interest in talking more about spiritual things or studying the Bible. And a small handful indicated they either made a decision to begin a relationship with God, or re-dedicated their lives to following Christ. Cool. We had lots of good one-on-one conversations afterward, and we used some comment cards to get feedback that we could leave with the chaplains there. Below are a few quotes from those cards…
- “Thank you- I’ve never been a religious person- but some of your words really got to me today—Thank you.”
- “I have had some hard times in my walls and your music and talking helped me with some of my problems.”
- “My wife left me today, so your concert was God sent. Thank you for lifting my spirits.”
- “I really don’t know where I am at, with my relationship with God, Jesus Christ . . . I’m not for sure . . . Yes, I pray, I read my Bible and all. I believe in God & that Jesus is God’s son. I’m not for sure if I am saved or not’?”
- “Really enjoyed & appreciated your concert & all you shared. Been having relationship issues & you all were right on time.”
- “I was inspired on April 24th, 2009, to walk the path with Jesus. Thank you for everything that you have done…”
- “You have no idea how much we all love your group… Please please please please come back!”
- “I love your sound. It helped me forget where I was. But I got right with God. Thank you for helping brighten my day!”
Play music. Tell stories. See lives changed. Still can’t believe this is my job.