by Frank Zeidler, Jr., Executive Director
As the impact of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 continues to unfold before our eyes, I keep hearing the same voice in the back of my head. A former teammate of mine, and a friend to many in the Saints family, offers the same deeply held belief every time the ministry (or he personally) must face a difficult situation… “God’s got this!”
As a child of the King, that is our reality; and those words bring comfort and peace in a plethora of situations. Yes, this virus is nasty. Yes, we must exercise caution and be part of the solution, not the problem. Yes, the situation is unprecedented for most of us. But none of this changes the fact that “God’s got this”.
As I have reminded you many times before, my chief concern as the Director is guiding this ministry as God is leading it; never to force my agenda or ideas, but diligently trying not to lag behind His plans either. I am more committed to that than ever, and through this “crisis” I have felt God’s Spirit guiding our staff and Board at every turn.
Recently, the prisons have begun closing their doors to visitors and volunteers. As news came out that state after state was taking this necessary step, our staff took the initiative to contact the prisons where we had softball games already scheduled. As a result of taking this action, we were able to shift the opening of our softball season back from April 25th to June 4th – while only losing a couple of events! Will the doors be open by June 4th? I have no idea. But clearly the Spirit was leading this decision, as evidenced by this email received from a Recreation Supervisor in IL:
“Thank you for reaching out to us to reschedule. You are the only one that has so far, and I think most are just waiting to see what happens. Look forward to seeing you guys again sometime this summer”
Or this phone message from a Chaplain in Delaware:
“Thank you for taking the time to call me. I just assumed we would lose the games because I didn’t think rescheduling would be an option with how busy you guys always are.”
Given the unknowns of the next few weeks and months, it is important that you know we continue to serve those behind bars as much as we are able. The other aspects of our ministry (birthday cards, follow up discipleship, fall scheduling, etc.) go on as always. We have taken necessary steps to be ready for mandatory work-from-home announcements and our Board has reviewed our budget for potential modifications should the current financial uncertainty of some become a prolonged situation.
As partners with us in reaching men and women behind bars, you may rest assured the Saints Prison Ministry remains committed to our mission and we value your partnership as much as ever. For understandable reasons we will have no personal interaction with any of you soon, but there are two things you can do to continue working side-by-side with us.
First, include the inmates we serve in your prayers. In grim times we all suffer from tunnel vision a little bit, so I’m going to suggest a way to be intentional about this. Think back over the stories you’ve heard or articles you’ve read and come up with one item: a crusade, a prison name, a Missionary-Athlete’s name, a program like Birthday Cards or the Glove Exchange, maybe even an inmate’s name. Make that single item the focus of your prayers for the ministry over the next few weeks. Thank God for His providence and pray for His direction.
Second, if you are able, please make your regular gifts online instead of mailing in a check. Obviously, we want to make supporting this work as easy as possible; if you are not comfortable online feel free to continue to use the US mail. But in the interest of caution, the less mail our staff handles at this time the better. Who knows – you may find you like it! In case you’ve never used it, the link to online giving is available below, or just visit our website directly.
“God’s got this” – and He has all along. It is the greatest comfort I can offer you and at the same time the only comfort any of us should need.