Marci sat on a chair, facing an audience of eighteen young prisoners. She was about 90-years-old.
Speaking with the quiet, sweet voice of a classical grandma, she shared how important God was in her life. They sat in their chairs, hanging on every word. No one had to tell them how to behave. They just seemed to know that a person like her deserved respect.
For 14 years, I had the pleasure of going to that detention facility every Sunday morning at 8 o’clock. None of the youth there were compelled to be present. Teenagers willingly sacrificed an hour of sleep to attend.
During that time, I mostly taught Bible studies, encouraged the boys to memorize dozens of scripture verses (with sweet incentives), and had the pleasure of leading scores of them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. From time to time, we arranged for a special guest to come and share his or her personal testimony.
Marci jumped at the opportunity. When I pulled into her driveway, she was already waiting by the window of her humble home. She did not seem the least bit nervous about the appointment.
The main gate closed behind us and we passed through locked doors to enter into the meeting room. Her serenity, reflected on her face, provoked lots of friendly smiles as the young men saw her sitting there.
Marci’s message was simple. She began by quoting her favorite verse from Romans 8:28 in the Bible: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.”
She spoke for about 15 minutes on how that truth played out in her life. She had entrusted every pain, disappointment, frustration and loss to the Lord Jesus Christ. He blessed her with joy and peace, giving her long life a true sense of meaning.
When she finished sharing her story and answering a few questions some of the young men had, she passed the rest of the time to me. There was, however, one thing I needed to say before the teaching began.
“Do you know what Marci is?”
The question seemed to stump them. They looked at her and then at me, awaiting the answer that was most certainly to come.
I told them that Marci was a scout.
Life is like a road that goes on and on. She is a person who has already traveled a large portion of it. In fact, she has gone way ahead of them.
Now she can give them a good idea of what is ahead. Everything she talked about had to do with her walk with God. He had helped her, and he is certainly willing to help them, if they would let him.
Those young men, every one of them serving time for crimes committed, listened with respect and interest. There is no question that her words and demeanor impacted their lives.
Parents and grandparents, as well as other elders, can also function as scouts.
We have had many personal experiences with the Lord. We can share our stories of learning from mistakes and experiencing the joy found in victories. We, too, can blaze a trail through life that the younger ones can follow — and from which they can learn.
Rev. Richard M. Cary is a retired pastor in Pasco currently serving as an Elder in pastoral care ministries with Northwest Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.