Wow! Last week God blessed us with the surprise of finding out that my sonographer from December 16, 2016, has been praying for me since that time. I wrote about it in my last blog.
This week, I received yet another blessing. My sister, Julie, has a music ministry and often goes to prisons to minister to the inmates. On Monday of this week, she sang for a volunteer banquet and appreciation night at Benner prison. The prison Chaplin, Henry Hansard, and the members of the Church of the Living Hope inside this secure correctional institution, were thanking and honoring all who come in to volunteer. When Julie got up to sing, they handed her a card and said they wanted to present her with a gift.
In January 2017, a month after Julie found out about my cancer diagnosis, she sang at the same prison. She opened her heart and told them about my situation and asked them to pray. The inmates assured her that they would be praying. When she returned in January of this year, the men were asking about me, and said that they were still praying for me. During her concert that night, she shared with them about “Gail’s Girls.” The Chaplain told the men that this sounded like a good mission for them to get involved with, and the men all agreed.
When Julie returned this past Monday night, the men again were asking about me. Then they presented her with the gift. Within the card that they gave to Julie it stated, “We are praying for your sister, Gail, and we wanted to give this love offering to support her work.” They signed it, “The members of the Church of the Living Hope at SCI Benner Township.”
Julie was told that the men earn a very small amount for their work inside the prison. They do not have outside sources giving them money for such things as an offering. When Julie opened the gift inside the card, it was a check for $1000! She began to cry and thank the men immensely for their sacrificial gift.
The following day, Julie began to tell me of their story. She then handed me the card to read and when I open the card and saw the $1000 check, I was overwhelmed. I cried then, and I’m crying as I write this blog now. I thought about how much of a sacrifice this was for these men, and the deep understanding they have come to know about generosity in God’s kingdom. The Chaplain and some of the men were also emotional as they presented their gift.
I thought about how these men were considered some of the lowest in our society by many, due to the mistakes and choices they have made. Then I thought about our Gail’s Girls and the communities where they are ministering. To many there, they are considered the lowest of society within the caste system. These men who gave generously, and the women in southern Asia that have given their lives totally to this mission, present quite a lesson for all of us.
This challenges me to continue to learn about Christ’s generosity to us, and how He wants us to show great generosity to others. I am still overwhelmed at the men’s ability to give as they gave. I am also overwhelmed by the dedication and sacrifice of our Gail’s Girls, along with others who are starting new churches and transforming communities through Enhance and Stadia’s partnership.
I am grateful for my sister, Julie, who so generously gives of her time and heart to lift up many through song and word. She also exemplifies this in her lifestyle of loving people in a very humble and generous way. Check out her website at www.JulieNevel.com. She recently released a new Album called, “Front row”. She continues to share about the Gail’s Girls ministry at camps, ladies retreats and churches where God takes her.
I am grateful for all of you who have supported Gail’s Girls, and challenge us all to give according to the example shown by the men in the members of the Church of the Living Hope at Benner correctional institution. God is changing lives on the inside of that prison. They in turn are making a difference by changing lives outside of the prison.
If you want to learn more or join these men with making gifts to Gail’s Girls, please go to www.GailsGirls.org, and help us to reach our goal of supporting another 25 girls for 2018. To support one girl for three years, it costs $6500. If men who make very little for their work can save and give such a large gift, what can we do?