Sometimes God gives us a glimpse of the fruit we have sown to encourage us.
One day, a letter was sent to my church from the minimum security section of a nearby prison. Sensing a plea for help, I went to visit the inmate. Upon meeting Tom, I learned that he had written many churches in our town, and I was the first person who had responded or come to see him. He began to ask many questions about what I believed. We started Bible studies together.
As we studied, he asked about the references mentioned at the bottom of the quotes in the Bible studies. These references were for books like The Desire of Ages, The Great Controversy, and Patriarchs and Prophets. I told him that the books belonged to a special collection called the Conflict of the Ages series.
“I want to get them all,” he exclaimed. “How much do they cost?”
I told him that I would find out.
However, the next time I came to visit him, I found out he had been transferred to another prison. The sergeant at the gate did not know which prison he’d gone to, and would not answer any questions.
Since I was new at prison ministry, I didn’t know where to go to find the answers. I started praying because I was worried he might end up in a prison where he would have no contact with Seventh-day Adventists and he might lose interest.
Three years later, after a conference meeting, a woman stopped me as I left church.
“I heard you say that you were in prison ministry. What is your name?” she inquired.
When I gave her my name, her face lit up. “Oh!” she responded excitedly. “I do prison ministry, too, and Tom said that he studied with you!”
Yes, it was the same young man. As it turned out, Tom had been transferred to a prison where she was doing prison ministry, and when he had told her about the books he wanted, she had gotten them for him. As a result of the studies, he had been baptized and was now a strong believer.
In 1 Corinthians 3:6 it says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
I praise the Lord for this miracle! Even when we don’t see the answers to our prayers immediately, we must remember that God is still at work. Truly He works all things together for our good.
Glen W. Ballard writes from Dana, Illinois.
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