If you ever had an experience where you go in with cautious expectation and it becomes more than you ever hoped for, you’re going to love this story. It all started when Charles Anderson, the TUMI mentor at a Houston prison, told us his students were enjoying my book, Jesus Cropped from the Picture, and they asked if we could visit them some time. Since my latest book, Think Again is a sequel of sorts to Cropped, Cathy and I sent the 20 students a copy as a gift. Charles gave out the books without telling them we were coming, and told them they could get extra credit if they prepared a report on it for the next week.
When we got to the prison, the enemy clearly didn’t want us to get in. The guard thought Charles had forged the warden’s signature and refused us entry. As we sat waiting outside, I asked the Lord to remember all the prayers lifted up for us to get in, and then suddenly, the shift changed and a new guard waved us through.
As we walked into the hallway, the prisoners could see us through the glass and we heard a buzz. As we walked in, one brother came bolting across the room and exclaimed, “I hoped I would meet you someday and now here you are!” For the next 2 hours we received blessing after blessing, hearing the men explain how much both books had meant to them. On brother said he started reading Think Again at bedtime, read all night, praying, journaling, reading, and crying. Cathy and I ministered to the men through a Q&A time, where Cathy has a special anointing. God uses her in a powerful way to speak life into prisoners’ hearts. I could see the change in their demeanor when she spoke to them. It was one of the most moving moments of our lives.
And if that wasn’t enough, a few days later our colleague Mary Flin arranged for us to visit five classes at the Topeka Kansas women’s prison, with the same kind of experience. One woman, with tears in her eyes, said, “I’ve been in an out of this prison 7 different times, and you are giving me hope for the first time.” Glory to God, we can report to you He is moving in surprising places to accomplish His purposes.