Two days ago I headed out with my Isuzu Trooper across the
As I headed up the steep highway into the mountains steam began to pour out from under my hood. An overheated radiator soon forced me to pull over, high in the mountains far out of cell-phone range. Still a good hour from my destination and barely on time without this inconvenience, I grabbed my backpack and began hitchhiking. The first car stopped and dark-haired Native looking woman motioned me in. I squeezed into the back seat as the driver’s heavily-tattooed arm moved piles of clothes off my seat. He was headed right past where I needed to go, and soon we were off, throbbing rock music blaring out of speakers tirades against injustices. “System of a Down” she said.
Since I had been worshipping and praying the whole way to that point I continued to pray, now for this couple. All I could see most of the time of the driver was his long pony tail. Occasionally I caught glimpses of his eyes in the rear view mirror. They looked like pools full of pain and sorrow.
Thirty minutes later we crossed
“Yeah, fairly often. Beautiful isn’t it?” I said.
“So what do you do for a living?” he asked.
When I told him I was a pastor he kept asking several more times, like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. I told him I minister to inmates in Skagit County Jail and to others on the margins. I told him how much I enjoy working with people who feel like they’re damned, like no one cares, like they’re too bad for God to want to help. I told him how I am convinced that God has special affection for violent men, and then asked him what he does.
“Tattoo artist,” he said. “Just did one for this young lady who I hardly know. Now we’re off on a drive for a few days. Maybe we’ll head on down to
“Where did you learn how to tattoo?” I asked.
“In prison,” he said, knowing now that I was at least somewhat safe. Turned out he’d been out 2 ½ years after doing 21 years, beginning when he was 17.
“Been through every prison in the State,” he said, and went on to tell me how “effed up” the whole prison system is. “Doesn’t do no good for nobody,” he said. “I taught classes for ten years to new inmates on how to survive doing time.”
I told him how I longed to see churches welcoming ex-offenders, helping them when they get out, like we try to at TN’s
“Not while I’m in the car,” he said, half joking. It seemed to me he really wanted prayer but didn’t want to look weak in front of his new girl friend. I blessed them and ran up to my meeting, only 15 minutes late!
That night I taught on Jesus’ ministry of welcoming outcasts, preaching life and healing, focusing on Acts 10:38, where Peter tells “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” At the end many people came up for prayer for empowerment by the Holy Spirit for the ministry of Jesus. A number of people received healing for different physical problems too.
The next morning my friend Patty drove me back over the pass with radiator patch and gallons of water to my car. It started right up and she took off. A few minutes later it was overheating again and died. Unable to start it, I was once again stranded in the mountains, until a Forest Service worker stopped by. He arranged for a tow truck already in the area to tow me home. Then we talked for the next hour all about how much damage methamphetamines had done to his community. He had seen a lot of good people bite the dust and was moved by stories about of how Jesus is finding and healing broken, hurting people. He’d once been an idealistic hippie and seemed still quite open to a big but realistic vision like the one Jesus preached and practiced.
The tow truck driver finally arrived and we were off on another adventure began. This guy had worked security in a casino for 16 years, taught karate and was a lead guitarist and singer in a rock band. I sensed he had lots of physical pain and after telling him a few stories about healings in the jail he told me he too could use some healing for his right shoulder, left elbow, and neck. I prayed as he drove and he kept checking himself out until he dropped me off, saying the pain had all gone away. Though he’d been outside the church since he was a kid, he knew he needed to forgive lots of people and wanted peace and joy in his heart to replace resentment and anger. “I’d like to come to your church he said,” as he dropped me and my Isuzu in the Tierra Nueva parking lot.
Now I’m home again and excited to see what God wants to do next. Please keep us in your prayers:
where I’ll be teaching in Heidi Baker’s Holy Given School. Pray for our protection and Presence with us on our journey. Mozambique
- Finances for New Earth Refuge—we’d like to finish construction on our prayer center but still need $125,000.
- Finances for Tierra Nueva for our May payroll—still need $14,000 in the next ten days.
Blessings in Christ,
Blessings in Christ,