Fall 2013

December 07, 2013

Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8

An update on what has happened over the last couple of months (October and November):

TDCJ:
• Juan is currently in the Tarrant County Jail. I plan to go see him soon. Please pray that the Lord will give me the right words to say to him to get him back on track in his walk with the Lord.

TYC (McFadden Ranch):
• Chuck Grice continues with me in leading Bible study at McFadden Ranch on Monday nights. The Bible studies have still been attracting about 9 faithful young men each week! We still have the most faithful group of young men in quite a while. Chuck is a great help and teacher. We are going through the book of Matthew – on DVD – the youth really like this and are really learning.
• We were able to make some additional trips to get state IDs for some of the youth. This helps them when they get out, to readily be able to get a job.
• We were able to take an additional 6 youth for their GED lunch at Golden Corral. This “treat” is designed to encourage the youth to continue their education.
• As you can tell, not much has been going on at McFadden the last couple of months. There is a new superintendant and it may take a while to get things going. I HAD planned on youth from Countryside going to play them in a sport and share the gospel on December 1st, but that got cancelled. Also cancelled was a trip to go to Countryside with me on a past Sunday in November. Please pray that things would get going again!

Youth Village:
• Bible studies (group and individual) continue at Youth Village. We are going thru the book of Matthew. Please pray that God would speak to their hearts and that it would make an impact on them. Please pray that more of the young men will start attending.
• Praise! The staff at Youth Village have been more accommodating for us to continue the Bible studies. Please pray that they will continue!
Hope Inn Christ (Decatur, TX):
• One youth came to Hope Inn Christ right before Thanksgiving. They are expecting up to 4 more youth before Christmas! Please pray that we would be able to encourage them and help them grow in their relationship with Christ.
• Two youth that I work with at McFadden are planning on going to Hope Inn Christ after their stay at McFadden. Please pray that they would do well there and would grow close to God.

Methodist Children’s Home (Waco, TX):
(Inside Waco: about 150 youth in all, 8 to 10 per home; can come from abuse, neglect and other circumstances; ages range from 13 to 18; Outside Waco: Boys Ranch with 40 youth)
• I started working with a group home of 8 youth in August. This has been a real struggle for me. Some of the youth are not open to the gospel and some youth are not interested at all. But there is one youth who is trying to live for the Lord! Please pray for him (Enzo).
• Please pray that more of the youth would have open hearts and minds and that I would speak the exact words the Lord wants them to hear.
• As you can tell, this still seems to be quite a struggle in getting the guys to come to Bible study. But the one and sometimes two are making progress – asking questions and at least are open to the gospel!

And again, THANK YOU for your continued prayers and support. Below are some areas of prayer needs that are on my heart at this time. Some requests you may have seen before.

ONLY in HIS strength,
Ernie Black

Prayer Requests:
• For Enzo and Matt that they would truly give their lives to Christ – MCH
• Keep praying for patience and faithfulness as the times change in both TYC and Youth Village. The youth are a lot wilder than what we used to see. Pray that we would be able to make a difference in their lives. Also please pray for the superintendents!
• Pray that when we share the gospel that it would be accurate and with the love of God, that we would speak clearly, and that the hearts of the young men would be open to hear God’s Word.
• Please pray for the incoming youth at Hope Inn Christ that they would have the right mindset and that they would be willing to learn and apply all that is taught there. Please also pray for the leaders who work with them!

Praises:
• Matt at MCH finally got a job!
• Able to see some fruit in the lives of some of the young men at both McFadden Ranch and Youth Village.
• For Chuck Grice who continues to help with Bible study at McFadden. He is a great encouragement to me!

A Tale of Two Filipes

I met Felipe #1 in one of the facilities that I frequent regularly where I had the chance to work with him for many months during his stay. At first, he wasn’t very interested in the things of God, but as time went on, God opened his eyes and softened his heart. He went through many ups and downs, but toward the end of his stay, he became a believer in Christ. Praise God!

Instead of returning to San Antonio, where he was from, he chose to go and live with a very godly man and his wife not far from the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. I was able to go and see him many times. I tried to encourage him each time I saw him. He got a job, but it didn’t pay too much. He started cosmetology school to become a hair stylist. He met a wonderful young lady who was to later become his wife.

He also went to church and got involved with the youth program. Since he was a little older, he became one of the youth leaders and soon began teaching Bible studies on Wednesday nights.

Felipe #1 and his wife had a rough time making ends meet, and so he decided to join the Army. Pray that Felipe #1 will maintain his testimony and walk with Christ while in the Army and pray for his wife and young son.

Felipe #2 is a young man in a different facility. I have only known him for a short while, but he is VERY interested in the Bible and the things of God. I have been able to spend a lot of time with him and have gotten the chance to explain the difference of what he has been told with what the Bible really says.

In showing him these things, he came to me a short while back and asked me how to “denounce” the church he goes to now. God was really opening his eyes and his heart, but he got transferred to a different facility. I was able to see him a couple of times in the new facility, but now the administration has restricted me from going there.

I really hope and pray that Felipe will continue in his present course. Please pray that while we may not be able to see each other now, that I will be able to stay in touch with him when he gets out of this facility. And pray that God will continue to work in his heart to draw Felipe to Himself.

Meet Frank – A Story of God’s Grace

One day when I was doing a Bible study with a youth in Gainesville, Frank appeared at the door and asked if he could join us. I said “sure.” Frank became a regular at the weekly Bible study and came armed with many questions. I could tell that he was sincere. A few weeks later, he came after the study and told me he was ready to place his faith and trust in Christ. He continued to come to the studies and came armed with more questions. Those that he had in between studies, he wrote down and mailed to me. I could see the change that Christ had made in his life, and I got to know Frank more and more. Frank had done well enough to transfer to Cottrell House (a halfway house in Dallas), where I continued to meet with him. He finally got a furlough and went to his neighbors, friends, and gang affiliations and told him that he now had placed his faith and trust in Christ. This was very bold, especially with the gang he was in. The gang pretty much left him alone, but Frank continued to let them know of his conversion and his new life with Christ. Frank continues to read his Bible, even on the bus, at work during breaks, and has joined a church in Dallas where he lives. He tries to share the good news with many people on a daily basis. I am proud of Frank for all that he has become and his sincere faith. He is a growing Christian and I am thankful for the opportunity to continue our relationship and to encourage him. Thanks be to God!