John Schmid Music

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A Redeemed Life

Sometimes, prison may be the best thing for you

Every now and then I hear a story that encourages me to keep going. I plan going to keep going, no matter what, but encouragement always helps. We received this letter recently:

Hello John and Lydia,

When I saw you last week, I really wanted to tell you about my ex-daughter in law. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison for theft of doctor prescription pads and impersonating a doctor.

She became an opiate addict because of health problems she had at age 17. The addiction destroyed her marriage to our son, but God has been so very good to her in prison, and a miraculous new person emerged!! She is now working with our local judge for the past year in a program directed for persons being released from prison. She is leading this group called Half-Way Home,* which the judge is mandating they attend before they get the final release by him.

God has answered so many prayers I prayed. I am in contact with her regularly, even though she is my ex-daughter-in-law.

I stand amazed in the presence of God, how he works in His mysterious ways. I thank you both for the ministry you do.

The Kairos group in the prison is a much needed ministry, and we continue to support them.

God IS in the prisons, but these persons really have to work hard to change their lives and many of them do not have the people like my daughter-in-law had to help them during and after their release. Most of her roommates have been re-admitted to prison due to the difficulty of making it on the outside. Most of them are from families with many problems, and they try to find love and acceptance from all the wrong groups of people.

Thank you again and may God Bless you as you continue you ministry!

Joe and Mary*
*Names have been changed, but the story is real.

After talking with this couple, I remembered that we had visited this ex daughter-in-law in prison. We saw her during a chapel service – she knew who we were and we knew she was there, but we didn’t know her. I hope to meet her now that she is out. It sounds like God did a great work in her life.

Thoughts on Education

Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes (Per contra, Scientia est Potentia).”

Translation: “If you can read this, you have too much education.
(On the other hand, knowledge is power)

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

– Albert Einstein

Education Versus Learning

I’m reminded of the story of the Harvard professor who informed his class that he spoke five languages. “For example,” he said, “the word “horse” in Spanish is ‘caballo;’ in German, it’s ‘Pferd;’ in French, it’s ‘cheval;’ in Italian, it’s ‘cavallo;’… and of course, in English, ‘Horse.’ ” Just then the bell rang and class was over. As the professor walked out into the court yard among his students, a loose horse galloped by. “Oh, my goodness!” cried the professor. “What sort of beast is THAT?!”

Maybe I’m thinking of this because I have coffee in the mornings with very successful businessmen who didn’t go to high school. I live in a community where education is looked on with a degree of suspicion. For instance, my board is made up of very successful businessmen who love the Lord. None of them went to High School. If I would sit here and think, I could name 20 successful businesses in this county started and run by men with only an eight grade education.

Hundreds, maybe thousands of local people are given employment by men who can’t even be labeled “dropouts” because they didn’t go to high school to drop out of! I often ask, “If not for the folks who didn’t go to high school in Holmes Co. who would hire the college graduates?”

Don’t get me wrong. I think education is very important. I’ve got a bunch of it. When we lived in Central America, education was about the only way out of a life of poverty. In the prison system, lack of education, and especially lack of ability to read, is directly proportional to a person’s chances of ending up in prison. “Readers are leaders.” And by inference, non-readers seem to be losers. I always encourage an inmate to study for his GED. An ex-con has two strikes against him. An ex-con with no high school is almost an automatic “out.”

So… is education the answer? I guess it depends what the question is.There is in this country today an educated class who wouldn’t know what common sense was if it came in wearing a name tag. You know the type. They’ve never had a real job. They’ve never lived in the real world. They don’t know the challenges of everyday living that you and I face. But they have a diploma. They are the plumbing inspectors who never really “plumbed.” They are the milk inspectors who never farmed. They are the lawmakers who don’t have to follow their own laws. They are in government and tell us how to live our lives. They teach where our children go to college.

I guess I’m also thinking of education because college debt (school loans) has passed credit cards as the number one debt in America. Young people are graduating with six figure debt and they discover that their degree is not useful in the real world. They are prisoners of debt. That young person who cooked your Big Mac may have a degree in history or English or philosophy and a debt of $90,000. He’s been tricked! So… what are my thoughts on education (learning?) I agree with the farm wisdom I heard at the Moreland Feed Mill when I was a boy: “It’s what you learn after you know everything that counts.” Or Edwards Deming: “Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival!” Or eighth grade graduate, Ray J. Miller: “When you don’t have any education, you have to use your brains.”

So, every morning, I “study to show myself approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim. 2:15) Now and then I take continuing education classes in the form of seminars, correspondence courses, classes on CD…I want to be the best I can be. But, I am aware that “knowledge puffs up (makes arrogant). Love builds up.” (I Cor. 8:1)

When you quit learning, you’re old, no matter what your age. – Henry Ford