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September 23, 2017
 
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Long Creek Youth Corrections

Sep 10 2017

Our first show at Long Creek Youth Corrections (formerly, the Maine Youth Center) was in 1987, thirty years ago. At the time, Sue and I had no kids, my hair was still dark brown, and I was 25 pounds lighter. There was no such thing as the internet, Ronald Reagan was President, and the football Cardinals were based in St. Louis, not Arizona. A lot has changed.

But one thing that hasn't changed is the special place Long Creek has in our hearts. The chapel there is truly one of my favorite churches anywhere. Two or three times each year for the past 30 years, we have gone there on Saturday mornings to share the Gospel through juggling and illusions. We have known four chaplains at LCYC during this time. But the Spirit's presence in this place has never lessened.

Part of this is the chapel staff and volunteers. Chaplain Doug is currently the pastor, and he has so much love for these kids. He shared joyfully that, when the new administrator addressed the staff and teens, she told them it was time they started to have fun sometimes. While this may seem like a strange statement in a correctional facility, Doug realizes that these are kids they are working with. The average age is around 16, and some are as young as 12. Overwhelmingly, they deal with addiction, mental illness and/or extremely dysfunctional families. More than anything, they need a stable 'family' situation, even if the family is Long Creek.

As I was setting up, Doug had to go down to the unit. While I was alone in the chapel, two teens came in who are on the highest level of privilege. One of the kids was especially amiable. We discussed some illusionists who are on YouTube, we discussed birds (I have doves and he had a parrot), and we discussed his hometown, way up by the Canadian border.

Once the whole group arrived, the service began. As usual, they were a terrific audience, and I have them the best I had. More importantly, I tried to give the clearest presentation of Gods grace I could, and it seemed to connect with many of them.

After the show was done, the girls' unit was the last to leave, and they asked to see Cotton, the rabbit I use in the show. He was passed around and loved by the young ladies, even though he is currently shedding.

I look forward to my next gig there, which is already scheduled for March, 2018, the start of year 31.

"I believe your ministry is more effective here than ever, Richard." - Chaplain Doug

A Few Testimonies Minimize

 

The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I just wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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