Kevin was the chaplain at the state prison where Alfred first began volunteering. He was a man who had the rare combination of being a theological scholar while still being outwardly warm and spiritually enthusiastic. He was the man who was responsible for convincing Alfred to become a regular volunteer at the prison. But he wasn’t satisfied with that and made it his mission to fan the flames of ministry in the heart of my husband, mentoring him, and helping to open doors to Alfred within the prison that would otherwise have not been available to someone who was “just” a volunteer.
Pre-Kevin there was a time when Alfred had two full time jobs and a part time job – all secular and all over an hour away. It was a period of loneliness for me and a period of mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion for Alfred. Post-Kevin, Alfred was instilled with the knowledge and confidence he needed to take the plunge and trust God to provide for our needs. He committed himself 100% to ministering at two state prisons, Ohio’s death row, and eventually at our local church. He had spiritual purpose and was no longer quenching the call that God had placed on his life. Were it not for Kevin, that may never have happened.
Today I learned that when Kevin was first converted to the Lord, he committed himself to following God “whenever, wherever, and however.” I also learned that he convinced many other people to make that same commitment. As I listened to people speak about the impact he had in their lives, it touched me to see how doing things God’s way not only shows immediate benefits, but also has ripple effects that extend beyond our limited vision. Kevin’s dedication to the Lord didn’t just help Alfred become a more effective minister of the gospel at the Ross Correctional Institution, it also made him a more joyful person, a better husband and father, and a bolder, more Spirit-led preacher.
So even though I didn’t know Kevin’s middle name, his love for a particular Bob Dylan song, or his favorite Bible passage, I reaped the benefits of his faithfulness on a daily basis. And for that I will be forever thankful.
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." Revelation 14:13