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  • Writer's pictureJoni Topper

Unexpected Joy

The refrigerator at the church went out a few weeks ago. The appliance was only 1 ½ years old but the warranty period had passed. After an assessment, the repairman suggested buying a new one might be a good choice.

Our kitchen queen extraordinaire Susan has been on leave from her kitchen post for a while due to the illness and passing of her dear husband Steve. Steve’s greatest joy and best friends were part of the Kairos prison ministry he served in for years.

Today the new frig was to be delivered between noon and 5:30. Then the window was revised to between 3:30 and 5:30. Later the expected time of arrival moved to 6:30 then 7:00 then 8:00pm. Needless to say, Ernest and I were beginning to feel like expectant parents waiting for labor to begin. As we drove back into town for the third time to meet the delivery man, he called to apologize and say that he should arrive about 8:15.

When the truck arrived, the two workers made the job look easy as they loaded up the old frig and unpacked the new one and slid it into the slot that would be its new home. One of the workers quickly headed outside to leave and one of them proceeded to level things up and complete the set up. He commented pleasantly that his friend was going to give him a speech about this job being a delivery only, not a delivery and set up appointment. He continued, “This is a church and I’ve got to give my best. After all, I was in prison and Jesus saved my life. He made everything good in my life possible. I was an angry drug dealer and he set me free. There is not anything I do that is good of myself, He makes everything good.” The man went on and on about how Jesus saved him and how he loved the man who turned him in and sent him to prison because that is where he learned to love Jesus. Just as expected, the coworker who had gone outside stuck his head in the back door and commented, “This is a delivery only. I’m really tired and I need some sugar.” The men had been at work since 5:30am. I noticed some cookies on the counter and said I would take him a treat. His friend told me to hand him the cookies and say, “This is a delivery only.” We laughed. They were thankful for the cookies.

Coincidentally, Ernest and I were planning a trip to the prison in Gatesville just a few days later. After sharing this with the delivery man, he shared even more of his story about how God had led him to a better life after his prison sentence.

The worker left his name and phone number saying we could share with anyone we might know who will need help finding honest work when they are released. He said sometimes they just need someone with whom they can correspond. He was willing to write them and explain that they can live an honest

life when they get out by the power of Jesus.

I called Susan when we left the church and shared this precious story with her and told her it felt like a gift from God and Steve being able to witness this man share his love and passion which came straight out of a prison ministry. The very kind of ministry to which Steve gave his heart. We cried and smiled and thanked God for his tender mercy.


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