by Frank Zeidler, Jr., Saints ED, and Tim Hester, FFBC missionary-athlete
The first week of March, as America began recognizing the coronavirus as serious, I accompanied the team from Fayetteville First Baptist Church in conducting a softball crusade to Central Florida for the second year in a row. A mix of veterans and first-year MAs on Tuesday afternoon, not knowing what the week would hold.
Four prisons in four days, all of which asked us specifically to spend the entire day at the facility. In that time, we experienced the darkness that is expected in Satan’s stronghold, but shone the light that can only be found in the presence of Jesus!
The darkness was summed up for one our new MAs while walking into the yard one morning. As two Saints were discussing wearing a visitor’s badge on the field, a voice from behind offered this sobering commentary: “I’ve been wearing a badge for 63 years…”
The light was reflected in how much these men were looking forward to our return visit. At Hardee CI, the inmates spent four days preparing the field for our arrival. It was impressive to see Jn 3:16 was printed on both the 1st base and 3rd base side of the field, SAINTS across the area behind home plate, and a large cross outline encompassing all of the pitcher’s mound. It was even more impressive to discover that the white substance was not lime or chalk, as these items are not in the budget, but rather a mixture of corn starch and flour provided by the kitchen! And the fill inside the cross on pitcher’s mound…wood shavings from the workshop!
At Marion CI, we discovered the inmates began working on the field six weeks before our visit, using coffee cans as scoops to remove all the grass from the infield until the proper tools were made available to them!
You can read the results of the crusade elsewhere in The Insider Online, but the results that really matter is that God was glorified through our time in Florida. Even if that proves to be the last softball we play in 2020, the season is a success because the name of Jesus was lifted high!