“Sorry for the long text, just happy!”
A TUMI (The Urban Ministry Institute) student sent this text to me after learning that he had been attending his class with an old friend. I met Aaron when someone recommended that he take TUMI courses. Aaron is a convicted felon. He turned to Christ while in jail awaiting his sentencing. His first act as a believer was to come completely clean about his role in a murder, and trust the Lord with the outcome. When I met him, he had been out of prison for less than a year, and the Lord was giving him incredible opportunities for ministry. He recognized clearly that he had a need for biblical and theological training. He was a little nervous about coming to TUMI classes, mainly because of his criminal history and his tattoos that clearly declared his former way of life. Truth is, he fit in perfectly.
Another student, James, has been a pastor for decades and currently occupies a leadership post at our local rescue mission. He has been coming to TUMI classes off and on for a few years. He is an incredible man of God who has helped thousands of people find and follow Christ. As it turns out, Aaron was one of the men James encouraged in his new faith in Christ.
You see, James was formerly the chaplain at the jail in Wichita, the very jail where Aaron turned to Christ. Aaron started reading the Bible and trying to learn what it meant to follow Jesus. James recognized his hunger for the Word of God and gave him a new Bible. This is the long text Aaron sent me recently:
“I meant to ask, was James ever a chaplain at the jail?”
“Yes, he was.”
“Wow Ryan…he came into the pod and delivered [a new Bible] to me and wrote a personal note attached to it. Wow. If he only knew (or maybe he does) what I was facing and how much that Bible meant to me. I still have it. [My Church] recently connected with the rescue mission and they mentioned him, and he said he remembered me. But I never had a chance to talk to him. I’m going to start to help at the mission with my church. Sorry for the long text, just happy!”
My response, “That is amazing! God is amazing!” And He is.