In spite of the fact that I love gardening and the fruits of my labors that result in the spring and summer, fall is still my favorite season. Not only do I enjoy hiking in the mountains, sweater weather, college football, and the vibrant colors of the changing leaves, but I also look forward to sampling the fruits of fall along the way—muscadines, figs, pumpkins, and best of all—north Georgia apples! There’s just something about a plant, vine, or tree producing fruit that reminds me of the bigger picture—God’s ultimate design for His creation and the many times that Scripture refers to fruit metaphorically in reference to our Kingdom work.
When Crosswalk first began touring 28 years ago, we knew that God had called us to a seed-planting ministry. We resigned ourselves to the fact that the fruit of our work would likely mature after our visit and many times without our knowledge. We trust that God’s Word does not return void, and we often remind ourselves of Ezekiel’s call when God tells him he is being sent to a stubborn and rebellious people who might or might not listen, but they would know a man (or woman) of God had been among them. And so we planted…
For almost three decades we have planted, but it seems more and more the LORD is showing us glimpses of the fruit, some recently grown and some that has been growing for years. I want to briefly share two such stories with you to encourage your hearts and solicit your continued prayers for these young men.
In late September we did a birthday party and Bible study at the juvenile detention center in Clayton County as we do every month. Afterwards a young man named Rhyen, who had been in our party in August, asked to see me. He told me he wanted to start a Bible study there at the facility and might need my help to plan it. He was hoping to see his youth minister from his church that weekend, but because of clearance issues, he could not visit him. So when I saw Rhyen again earlier this month, he and a new intake named Nico asked to see me again. I met with them and they told me the Bible study had been approved and they had planned the first one but would like me to help them plan the next ones.
The following Friday I went back and took them some materials and some Bibles. We spent about 45 minutes together and I helped them plan what they would discuss for the next few weeks. They said they had 6 or 7 young men signed up to come. It was to start yesterday. To see these two young men so excited to share Jesus with their cellmates is such a blessing. Would you pray that they will not get discouraged and that the Spirit would empower them with the right words so that they may be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in them?
Then just last night I got a message from a young man we knew several years ago in lock-up. His name is Quadarius. He sent a photo of himself in a uniform—a state police officer’s uniform! Now 25 years old, he is on the good side of the law and loving life! His message to me was as follows:
“A lot of people were praying for me, and it’s proof that prayers never go unanswered. I really appreciate all the prayers you said for me and for all the other people you met and prayed for. I’ll never forget when we first met at the RYDC, and ever since then God has been listening and planning this. He knows everybody’s calling and purpose in life. I really thank you so much!”
Please know that your continued support makes a difference in the lives of these kids. We may never know when our work comes to fruition, but there are those times like these that God reminds us there is a fertile field just waiting to have seeds planted so that it can produce fruit for the Kingdom. May you continue to serve the LORD with gladness and come before Him with thanksgiving!
The harvest is great, but the workers are few. If you have any desire to serve alongside us in the DJJ facilities, please email us at [email protected].