Lamar, Colorado …Bonnie Guder, a member of the Lamar Church, attended the first prayer meeting with her new pastor, Ted Williams, and upon hearing about the work being done in prison ministries, asked if she could volunteer. Soon after, she witnessed God’s work with prison ministries in the Rocky Mountain Conference.
On the first night of Guder’s volunteer service, she witnessed the hunger of the women for the gospel message when several asked if they could have their own Bible. Williams promised to get them one and Guder had a front-row seat for what transpired.
The following week on his way to a ministerial alliance meeting in Lamar, he stopped at the local Christian bookstore to purchase the Bibles. Entering the store, he noticed a man standing in a corner near the back and felt moved to share a “Ticket to Heaven” with him. He often uses these tickets as conversation starters which can lead to some meaningful dialogue. It was then that Williams discovered the man had met Jesus in prison.
Afterward, the proprietor happily showed him Bibles ranging in price from $20 to $40. “Too much,” Williams said. “I need something more cost effective.” She directed him to the only three large-print, paperback Bibles she had for $5.75, exactly what the three women had requested.
Then she said, “I have a case of 32 Bibles in the back that I haven’t been able to sell I can give you for one dollar each,” the proprietor said. “If you’ll step back until I take care of these people, I’ll be happy to ring you up.”
Williams waited somewhat impatiently, knowing the delay would make him rather late for his scheduled meeting, but also knowing these Bibles would be useful. While the proprietor was ringing up items, the man who’d received the ticket, the man now being waited on, touched the box of Bibles and said, “Put this case on my bill.”
After the transaction was complete, he and Williams prayed together by the cash register and Williams headed for his car. The man followed saying, “When I saw you come into the store, an electric shock went through me and I knew we needed to talk. I want to give you my contact information so you can help me get involved in prison ministry.”
Taking the information, the two prayed again and Williams, knowing he was decidedly late, headed to his appointment.
Following the meeting, he drove by the jail to drop off the Bibles. As he handed the three Bibles to the prison guard, he asked for the total number of inmates in the jail. “Thirty-five” the guard responded. “Well, I have 32 more Bibles in this box and with the three I just gave you, we have the exact amount needed for everyone.” The box changed hands and Williams left knowing that every inmate in that jail would receive one.
Williams thought about Guder’s interest in volunteering for prison ministry; he thought about the man who paid for the Bibles who also wanted to volunteer with prison ministries, and he considered how he had found the exact number of Bibles needed to cover every inmate in the jail. “Only God could’ve done that,” he thought.
—Carol Bolden; photo Ted Williams