By Christy Hoagland
There are so many wonderful things, services, happenings, divine appointments Sing for the King encountered recently that it is hard to know how to start or where to begin. Seeing God move never gets old.
Let’s start with a sweet baptism service at Algoa Correctional the Wednesday before Easter. 36 men were baptized this night, yes, 36! Every one of them was special but one that was especially precious was a short little man, a little older in years with a cane that hobbled up to the baptismal. The chaplain and some others helped him climb the stairs to get into the water and then afterwards 4 fellow offenders lifted him out and set him on the floor, it reminded me of the men that lowered their crippled friend down through the roof so Jesus could heal him. What love! That same love was evident in these men who lifted our friend out and in all of the men in attendance at the baptism.
A couple days later we were back at Algoa for our regular Friday night service but today was not just another Friday, it was Good Friday. Two of the chapel workers (offenders who work in the chapel and help with our service) presented the crucifixion scientifically and with scripture. It was so beautiful and so moving and so heartbreaking all at the same time. Men were weeping at the altar during and throughout the rest of the night. As our chapel workers walked back to the back I sang “Lamb of God” and it was considerably silent especially compared to how these 100 men worship and praise the Lord in song. They were thoughtful and intently thinking about this Jesus who came, who died, who rose again so they could live. Meanwhile our chapel guys in the sound booth who spoke clung to each other and wept. It was a night to remember.
Two more days later – it was Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday! We go to JCCC every third Sunday and this month just happened to fall on Easter. We arrived almost a half hour earlier than normal and Johnny stated, ‘we are here early for a reason, I believe there’s someone in the lobby that we need to talk to’. Well, it turns out that there was. Two women who had just finished visits with their loved ones were chatting in one corner of the lobby. A conversation was struck and as Johnny began to share these ladies poured their hearts out to us. One woman was the wife of a man that Johnny had been incarcerated with, so Johnny told her to let him know that Johnny was praying for him and to sign up for our chapel service. She said he hadn’t wanted to attend any chapel services but that she would tell him and meanwhile we would all be praying for him. The other lady had come to visit her son, she beamed through tears that today was the first day she was able to physically touch her son, to wrap her arms around him in 8 years. He had been in trouble and in the hole and all of her previous visits were behind glass. She was rejoicing in this sweet embrace that we so often take for granted. We circled up with our new friends and prayed Spirit-filled powerful prayers interceding for these men and their loved ones.
The next day was Monday and we were asked to come hold a Community Celebrate Recovery service in Golden, MO. If you don’t know where that is…it’s a stone’s throw away from Arkansas. You can actually see Arkansas from the church. A six hour drive to spend a few hours with these precious people. I sang, James preached a powerful message, Johnny testified and God moved. God was moving before, during and after this event! People at the altar throughout and at the invitation 2 women and 1 man surrendered their lives to Jesus. Another man rededicated his life, stating how he had let things get in the way of his walk with the Lord. We were gleeful all the way home knowing that this 10 hours of our day spent doing God’s work is so worth every minute, every hour, every mile. And we are thankful and grateful for the next chance, the next opportunity to see Him move.