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windham, Maine State Prison

Aug 16 2016

A couple times a year, I have the blessing of doing a program at the Maine state prison in Windham.  most recently, I was there last week to do a show on one of the men's pods. The chaplain there, Marian Zimmermann, is a nun who has the overwhelming job of meeting all the spiritual needs of the near created population, and it is cool and humbling to be part of her ministry there, even if only occasionally.

when I arrived at the prison, there was a lot of confusion at the front desk, and they hadn't gotten word about my show.  Dealing with state institutions, this type of communication breakdown is not entirely unheard of, but I could tell this time was different.  I was soon informed that the facility was having a special memorial service for an officer who had died earlier that week in a car accident.  He was not on duty when the accident occurred; in a sad irony, he was on his way to a coworkers retirement party when the accident happened.  

I told the lady at the front desk that I assumed they would want to cancel the show, but, when she couldn't get hold of Sister Marian, she suggested I come back in half an hour.  Upon returning, the parking lot was full of mourners preparing to leave, and, of course, Marian was right in the middle of the crowd.  I approached her, again saying I was fine with rescheduling things, and, in fact fully assuming that's what needed to happen.  "No," she said," It would probably be good to go ahead as planned."  So in a short time, my props were unloaded and they were being inventoried by a couple of curious officers.

once in and set up, I decided to have some fun with the men before getting too far into the Gospel part of the program.  I did a couple mind reading tricks that got their attention quickly.  As I  moved more into the message part of the show, their attention held, and I ended with my long time story-illusion about the repentant thief who died next to Jesus on Good Friday.  As I brought the message around to Gods grace and unmerited forgiveness, there were some tears eyes among many of the men.  God was clearly moving in that common room.

It amazes me sometimes that God would use something as foolish as a mediocre juggling and magic show to touch people who might not otherwise consider spiritual things; people who often put on tough outer disguises to avoid vulnerability.  Many people immediately assume our show is a kids' ministry but I have always maintained God has used it more with teens and adults.  I don't get it, but it sure is cool and humbling when He does.


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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  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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