Once a month on a Tuesday night I take Kingswood students to prison to do a chapel service and minister to the inmates. Last year my students lead one of the largest, scariest prisoners to Christ. I cannot tell you his name, but I can describe him. He is a former Hell’s Angel. He has tattoos all over his body, including three teardrops on his face, which I am pretty sure means he has killed three people. When we first met him he was very rough and full of anger. One night he wanted to beat one of us up, and was stopped by another prisoner. Over this year we have been watching God transform him from a hardened criminal to a tender-hearted disciple.
Last night at the prison chapel service he gave me a Christmas card. Part of it said: “Thank you, Mike, and all the students from Kingswood University for believing in me, for giving me hope, peace in my heart, the power to continue, the love of God and His light.” Best. Christmas Card. Ever.
He showed me five scribblers full of notes from his Bible studies, and told me how he had hugged his son and told him he loved him for the first time in his life. He said that prison was no longer prison for him, but a mission field where he was learning to minister to other prisoners who were as full of hate and as damaged as he had been.
He showed me a tattoo on his left hand: “SS.” He told me that use to stand for “Satan’s Soldier.” Now he says it stands for “Soul Saver.” He showed me a tattoo on his right hand: “ACMD.” He told me that use to stand for ” All Cops Must Die.” Now He says it stand for ” Accepting Christ Means Deliverance.” Finally, he showed me a larger tattoo on his chin: “FTW.” He said that use to mean “XXX The World.” Now he says it stand for “Faith the Word.” He still has a ways to go, but I don’t know if I have ever seen a better example of how God can change someone from the inside out.
Being a witness is not just telling people about Jesus. Sometimes it means witnessing first hand what God can do in a person’s life. It is having a front row seat to 2 Corinthians 5:17. If someone is in Christ, and He in them, they really are a new creation. The old has gone, and the new has come. Merry Christmas!