Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pickin' & Grinnin' behind bars?

What happens when you put a doctor, a preacher, a social worker, a broadcaster and a weathered old prisoner advocate in the same room? Well, they make some of the neatest gospel music one could ever imagine.

It all started at a funeral service, where John Mulder and I were asked by the widow to play and sing some tunes that were favorites of the deceased...a very nice man who was big into prison ministry. We did our thing.

One of the persons in attendance said, “That music must be heard by others.” So John and I decided that we would continue pickin' and grinnin' by staging a fund-raiser for HFP. And along the way we added some more musicians: John's brother David, a preacher on the other side of the state; our son-in-law Lee Ingersoll, who is a social worker with the Spring Lake School system; and Cal Olson, veteran broadcaster in Grand Rapids.

The gig is officially called Pickin' & Grinnin' now, and we get together a couple times a year to raise urgently needed funds for HFP.

This fine team of singers and instrumentalists also made an album of gospel favorites, hoping that sales of the CD would also benefit our organization.

But the story gets even more interesting this week.

A woman in prison heard about our music, and wondered if we would come to share it. On Friday, June 13, the five of us will be appearing in the auditorium of the prison for women in Ypsilanti for four consecutive concerts! They can be only one hour in length. We must work around tight schedules, because the inmates must be counted a couple times a day, and all 2,000 women must be fed lunch. But thanks to the fine work of Deputy Karri Osterhout, who is in charge of special events like this, and the cooperation of Warden Millicent Warren, the gig is still on.

Women in the prison are praying for success.

We are, too.

And we'd like your prayers.

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