August 2021 Newsletter
From Showing Up, pg. 3 by John Schmid
“I don’t even know where my children are…” said Sue from her prison cell. Volunteer Brenda Duvendeck was trying to strike up a conversation with her during the Bill Glass Prison Weekend of Champions in Northwest Ohio back in 1994, but Sue was not in the mood to talk. To get a conversation going, Brenda asked if she had children.
“Yes, I have children, but I don’t even know where they are. They’re in a foster home somewhere.”
“I used to keep foster children,” Brenda said. “What are your children’s names?”
“Desiree, Lavon and Miranda,” said Sue.
“I kept three children with those names last year! We went to Lake Erie several weekends and the Cleveland Indians games,” Brenda offered.
“YES! They wrote to me that they went fishing! Are you Brenda?! Do you have any pictures of them?!”
“Yes, on my refrigerator! I’ll bring them tomorrow.”
“Please do,” Sue almost shouted.
The next morning Brenda returned to the NW Ohio Prison with the photos. She hurried through security went directly to Sue’s cell and showed her several photos of three happy looking children sitting in Brenda’s front yard after a fishing trip. Sue burst into tears.
“Oh my children, my children! Desiree, Lavon, Miranda! How big they’ve grown. They look so happy. Oh, my children, my children…” and then more sobs.
Coincidence? No. A divine encounter. God set this up so that hardened, depressed, down-and-out Sue could reconnect with her children, and who knows? Connect with God.
I never heard what happened next. Did Sue commit her life to Jesus? Did she become a Christian? Where is she now?
Twenty some years after this happened (2015?) I was singing at an outdoor event in Shipshewana when I noticed a woman in the crowd who looked like Brenda. I took a chance, and from the stage I said, “Brenda?” She looked up. It was Brenda, the prison volunteer! “Did you volunteer with Bill Glass in the ‘90’s?” She nodded.
Before I sang another song, I said, “Folks, let me tell you a story about this lady in the third row,” and I went on to tell about inmate Sue and how volunteer Brenda talked to her through prison bars and discovered that she had kept her children. When I finished the story, I asked, “Sue, did I get it right?” She nodded yes, that was real close. “Have you kept in touch with Sue?” I asked. She shook her head, ‘no’ with a touch of saddness. I still pray for Sue every now and then, when I think of this incident (like right now as I write this).
Bill Bright said, “A successful witnessing experience is when you present the claims of Christ to a person and then leave the results up to God.”
Since we don’t know what happen to Sue, we have no choice but to leave the results up to God. I think He can handle it. But He wants to use you and me to share His love and salvation with the world. “Go into all the world… and I will be with you…” Matt. 28:19