I had heard of Nick the Greek ever since I started in prison ministry (32 years ago), but I had never met him. He was a gang leader, a drug addict, a hit man, a thief, an all-around thug who got radically saved not long after he started his 20 year sentence at Mansfield prison. I met him last Fall at, of all places, an Amish funeral! He came to funeral of Dan Schlabach, a supporter of the Greek’s Inside Out Ministries. Dan’s son, Dwain, was a CGM board member.
Nick gave me his book, Too Mean To Die. What a story! I want to share two of the craziest witnessing events I have ever heard. It could only work in prison and only with a newly saved former corrupt, vulgar gang member. Let me summarize from Nick’s book:
“You really believe that stuff, Greek?”
“Yeah, I believe it,” I said, and I tried to show him some verses to back up what I was saying.
But he just brushed me off and started cursing and using God’s name in vain.
“You keep talking like that, and you’re going to have to deal with me,” I said.
Now, it’s not that I used the best language myself. It was taking me a while to clean up my foul mouth. The first English words I learned when I came to this country were curse words. But I couldn’t stand this man cursing the God who had just saved me from a life of destruction.
He kept on spewing forth this nonsense, so I reverted back to the old Nick. I held my Bible up like I was reading it, and when he was distracted I hit him- pow!- right on the nose with my Bible. His nose collapsed, his eyes closed up and they had to take him to the prison hospital.
A day or so later I walked up to my cell and this same guy was lying on my bunk with his head all bandaged up. He looked like a dead man. I feared big trouble, but when I walked in ready to fight, he said, “Greek, if you believe in God that much – to do this to me- I want to know your God!” Long story short: I led this bandaged former enemy to Jesus!
Not long after this, I was assigned to a cell with a man who was not too sympathetic to any religion, especially Christianity. “No problem. You leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.”
But this guy was on my back from the moment he started bunking with me. I think he assumed that anybody who was into Christianity was a weakling. He kept riding me, making fun of my Bible reading and of my belief in God. I tried to ignore him, but it got harder and harder. I didn’t want another situation like the broken nose, but one day he finally went too far. I grabbed him around the neck and stuck his head in the toilet in our cell and started flushing away. Everytime the guy came up for air, I’d push him back down in the water. When I saw he had enough, I stood up and said, “Now, you ready to listen to God’s word?”
He said, Yeah, he would like to know more. I couldn’t believe my ears!
The whole social setup and “street” rules in prison present problems for a Christian inmate. Jesus taught that we should turn the other cheek. It’s a fine line to walk…
Folks, I love these stories, but please do not use these methods in your local church. I recommend The Four Spiritual Laws or The Roman Road. Be passionate to win people to Christ, but broken noses and swirlies may only work in prison. And then, only on special occasions.
He who is wise wins souls. Prov. 11:30