By Frank Zeidler, Executive Director
By my own admission, the headline is eye-catching but deceptive. “Miracles” might be a little strong, but it is a title we’ve all come to appreciate as students of Scripture. If you would rather I started by saying God of Divine Intervention or The Master Planner, I’m okay with that. The important thing is that you read on!
The America’s Heartland Crusade is now complete, and I hope you were praying for that team. But this message isn’t about the crusade; it’s about God leading the way… again!
You know crusades are planned months in advance, and you also know that we see our share of hiccups, wrinkles, hurdles, and blatant obstacles in the way. Our staff is used to dealing with most of these, but sometimes the obstacle can only be described as God-sized!
On Monday, two days before the team was flying to Indiana, I opened my computer to an email from the only prison we are scheduled to visit on Thursday of the crusade week. The email stated, “we regret to inform you we have to cancel this visit due to expected elevated temperatures that day.” Like most prison systems, there are policies that address the circumstances around inmate recreation, and one of them is to close the recreation yard if the temperatures pose a danger to inmate health. After a brief discussion with prison administration, it was clear this was a final decision.
We now had a hole in the schedule – a full day of no activity. With only 72 hours advance notice, scheduling a new prison seemed like a long shot at best… a God-sized obstacle to be sure!
Since we always make the effort, I reviewed past crusades to IN and I remembered a specific prison that we had found to be especially cooperative in 2018. In desperation, I called the contact person we have on file. Post-pandemic, would he still be there? Will he laugh aloud at my request?
Mr. Kitchen was still at the prison, and in the same capacity he had been in 2018. Not only did he not laugh at my request; he offered to go to the administration and see what they might be willing to do on short notice. I sent him all the paperwork we had – including the gate memo from the since-cancelled prison showing our men were all cleared.
On Tuesday he sent me an email… with the new gate memo already written, admitting our team just two days later, to play in the morning and afternoon against two distinct groups of the population!
I would normally say “that doesn’t happen” …but it just did!
At Westville CF on that Thursday, four men made a decision to turn their lives over to Jesus Christ! That is why we go, of course, however my takeaway from the experience is more philosophical than that; it is just one more shining example of Isaiah 55:8,9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Just wanted to make sure everybody knows who is really in charge!