It arrived in an envelope.
We always wonder what Jesus will do in our church during the week that will turn into a blog post. And, being such an incredible and creative God, He usually surprises us. This week, however, "surprise" doesn't even begin to describe how we felt. We were completely dumbfounded.
Getting checks in the mail isn't all that unusual.
We always deeply appreciate those who mail in their tithe, contributing to the ministry taking place here at Calvary. In the case of those who continue to give through the mail or online even when they can't make it to church on Sunday, we want you to know how much you bless us.
So getting checks in the mail doesn't usually shock us. But never in the history of this church has a check arrived from a penitentiary.
In case you didn't know...
Prisoners usually make 12-14 cents an hour. They can spend this money on items they need which the prison doesn't supply. (Things like deodorant, toothpaste, or shaving cream.) Sometimes, if the inmates work very hard, they might have a little money left to buy something to supplement the often inedible food. Ramen Noodles become a delicacy.
You can imagine how long it takes to earn enough money to buy anything at the 12-14 cent/hour rate.
One prisoner has been receiving sermon transcripts and a hand-written, personal note from Pastor Lee each week.
This inmate has developed a ministry behind bars of sharing Pastor's sermon with others who are incarcerated. The communication is minimal, but from what we can tell, God is doing great things in that prison.
You can imagine the tears in our eyes when we opened his letter yesterday.
This prisoner wrote a note of heartfelt thanks to Pastor Lee for the transcripts. There was also a check enclosed for $25. That gift represents about 178 hours of work at 14 cents an hour.
What else can we say? We're humbled today, Calvary. So it's with a lump in our throats that we share this story with you. Perhaps you'll remember this man in prayer. We can't reveal his name for obvious reasons, but God sure knows who he is. We pray that his story will inspire us all to love more, give more, and share Jesus more this Christmas season... and throughout the year to come.