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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Forty-Two Souls

By R. Duane Gryder
May 15, 2011

You could barely hear the inmates hooting and hollering over the roar of the bikes as we rode through the broad hallway, but you could see smiles on every face.

Every cell, every day room, the educational wing, the administration wing, the cafeterias and the gymnasium — everything connected to this hallway. Only a wall of bars separated us from the blocks and the day rooms.

Correctional officers cleared the way and opened every gate as our little procession from HonorBound Motorcycle Ministries, Christian Motorcyclists Association and Bikers for Christ made our way to the far end of the hall. I love it when we can have several Christian groups represented, working together.

Once in the gym, we lined our bikes up across the front, and the Texas Praise band set up its equipment from a small trailer pulled in by a trike motorcycle. The residents began to file in and talk to the riders, admiring the motorcycles.

One of the residents asked about frail-looking Wanda Helsley. She had been battling cancer for some time, and it had taken a toll on her. He wondered why she was there, but when she put on her headset and sat down at the keyboard, he was amazed. (Wanda, a member of First Assembly of God in Kaufman, Texas, would live to do one more prison outreach before she went to be with the Lord two months later.)

As the music began, residents joined us in singing and encouraged us by shouting, all the while remaining on their feet enjoying our time together.

Testimonies filled the pauses in the music. Ted Helsley shared about his prison experiences before God changed his life. James “Rev. Smurf” Murphy, who pastors a biker church in Mexia, Texas, and HonorBound member William “Catfish” Sanford both presented gospel truth in a way residents could readily apply.

I preached a brief message, the Holy Spirit worked on the hearts of the men there, and 30 men responded to the altar call. The men on our team prayed with each and every resident who came forward to commit his life to Christ.

After the service we rode out that long hallway past cheering residents.

Later that evening one of three Muslims who attended the service found his way to one of the believers in the unit. The man dropped to his knees and, with tears in his eyes, said he needed to get right with God.

The next morning, my wife, Janet, and I returned to do the Sunday morning service. Many of the men told us God had done a wonderful work in them the day before.

After the prison band and choir played that Sunday, I shared a message explaining salvation and how Christians need to share that message with others. Eleven more men responded to the altar call to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.

Forty-two new Christian brothers in one weekend! What a great weekend, and what an awesome God we serve!

R. DUANE GRYDER and his wife, Janet, are AG U.S. missionaries serving HonorBound Motorcycle Ministries. Duane is also a board member on the Christian Unity Council with the National Coalition of Motorcyclists. They are based out of Aubrey, Texas.

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