Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From the road, behind the prison walls and into the light

Volume 5, Issue 7
From the road, behind the prison walls and into the light

Our summer project bands have had the INCREDIBLE privilege and opportunity to actually go inside prisons around the U.S. Yes, to take the Gospel message to the prisoners. Those who may actually never see sunlight or at least as much as you or I do. Their world revolves around steel bars, concrete slab scenery and matching orange outfits. This summer Keynote partnered primarily with Prisons/Juvenile Detention Centers, Military bases and other key cities where Campus Crusade hosts a summer project.

We’ve compiled stories from the road for you. May they encourage you. Your partnership makes these opportunities possible to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Swerve-Fort Knox army post in KY -basic training camp.This concert was for ~1200 soldiers from the ages of 17-23. soldiers loved the music and messages and were enthusiastic in showing us through their awesome participation. later, we discovered that out of 386 comment cards (only about a third of our audience), 101 soldiers indicated a decision for Christ and an additional 76 wanted to talk with someone. One soldier, Andrew, who wanted to talk with someone more, explained that he was raised in an atheistic home, but had a “change of heart.” It was so encouraging to know that, even though a decision may not have been made today, a seed was planted.

Young Isaac-Panhandle of Florida- We have just been BLOWN AWAY by all that God has done in the last five days! We’ve played 8 shows in 4 different prisons, and have had such an unbelievable response from the inmates at every location. These guys are just STARVING for the new life and hope that Jesus offers. Despite sick singers, stickler security guards, shows in 100% humidity and 100 degree heat, and the general atmosphere of oppression that hangs over these institutions, Christ has claimed 103 hearts for himself. And beyond that, we’ve had a huge number of men request more information about knowing God, and have had countless conversations with inmates that are still wrestling with, yet intrigued by Him.

We’ve noticed a recurring theme in our conversations with these men: the feeling that their lives are not yet presentable to God, that they have to clean up their act before falling at his feet. One comment card read, “Does God save prisoners? Do we even deserve it?” What a privilege it is to be the one to break the good news that Christ’s love transcends who we are right now; we don’t “fix” our lives before coming to Him, but rather, we invite Him into the mess and heartbreak… then HE is the one who changes our lives! I had one special conversation with a guy my age named James. I asked him what was holding him back from giving his life to Jesus, and he told me that he didn’t want to “make a decision I couldn’t follow through on.” He was scared of giving his life to Jesus and then failing later. I promptly informed him that I’ve been following Jesus for 17 years and that I still fail on a pretty regular basis, but I told him some of my story, and my similar struggle with inviting God into the messy parts of my life. One thing led to another and we ended up getting to go through the Knowing God Personally booklet, and at the end James invited Jesus into his life—as did Joey, the guy in front of us who had eavesdropped on the whole conversation!

* For more stories, band photos, and prayer requests visit the post below on our blog:

Stories from the Road

What the summer project students have shared from the road as they were on tour with their Keynote Summer Project bands:

I know tired and busy are my new favorite adjectives while being on tour, but it has been so worth it!- Cory, bass player for stop on green
It was nice to bring a little light and a little hope to an otherwise disheartening situation. – Danielle, Tattooed Planet

I feel so blessed to be a part of that and just to get to pray over people.-Danielle, Tattooed Planet

It’s a good thing we didn’t cancel that concert! Sometimes you play for 1200, sometimes you play for 12, but God can work just as well in either circumstance.- Lauren, Swerve
, vocalist It confirmed what we’d learned this summer about how our past, good or bad, can be used to bring glory to the Lord.-Lauren, Swerve

Stories from the Road:
Swerve- Pennsylvania at the North Hampton Correctional Facility for two different audiences, each of about 60-70 inmates. We were not allowed to pass out comment cards for security reasons, but we were hopeful to get to share afterward. Many of the inmates were hurried out before we got to talk with them, but we got the chance to talk briefly with the women from the first group. Several of us agreed that our first experience playing in the prison was one of the most humbling so far. It was easy to walk into that prison with a stigma about what to expect. One of the women asked me what we thought about playing in prisons. My initial thought was “it’s terrifying!” Luckily, instead of saying that, Allie and I told her how we were all sinners and on equal footing in God’s eyes despite how “good” or “bad” society considered our sins. The girls around began to agree, but unfortunately, they were ushered out at this point. But for Allie and me the conversation provided good perspective and a heart-check: we were no better than the inmates, and they need Jesus just as much as anybody else. At one point during tear-down, Allie had an officer approach her. He told her that he has a daughter named Angel and that he used to sing the song that ties in with her testimony, Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel). He explained that he’d never thought about the words to the song in the way that Allie presented them and it really made him think. When telling us about this encounter, Allie expressed how she had somewhat forgotten that we could be ministering to the officers too. She said she had been so focused on working with the prisoners that her conversation with the officer reminded her to always be open to ministry.

Swerve-Christian Haven- at-risk youth home, where we played for ~55 students. at the end of the concert the students were so appreciative and we found that 12 of them made a decision for Christ. An encouragi
ng comment card from Tom said that the concert “just made me think about how great it is to be alive.” Our host informed us that Tom came from a home where he was unloved and was hard to reach since being on the campus. Tom has been struggling with depression problems and he expressed how encouraging it was to hear the music and Allie and Nate’s stories. This concert taught us that even though our audience doesn’t seem to be engaged it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit isn’t working.
Summer Project Dad Who Received Christ

My team had been praying for my dad for the last few weeks of rehearsals. He was the only member of my immediate family that had not accepted Christ and God had really been putting that on my heart. My parents started to go to a community church and he started asking a lot of good questions about it, even that last weekend before the dress rehearsal when we went to a local church, together he was asking a lot of God questions. He asked, “People keep talking about giving their life to God but how do you do that?”
Both of my parents came to the dress rehearsal. Afterward I went over to them to hug them and see what they thought and I saw that my dad was crying. I asked him why he was crying and he said he was so proud of me. Then I asked him if he prayed with me and he said yes! He cried some more and I held him. He said, “Sorry I’m such a slacker” because he was the only one left in the family who hadn’t made the decision to start a relationship with God. I told him I was so proud of him! I feel so humbled because I knew God would get a hold of my dad but I really didn’t think he would do it through me.