Published May 12, 2015
One of the joys of doing what we do each week is hearing from listeners about ways something heard on the broadcast has positively touched them in a special way. "God's little attaboys,'" I call them. Such is the case with the letter that follows, actually edited from two letters from this same individual, who asks to remain anonymous. It's a wonderful testimony of God's saving grace and restoration in this man's life.
"Dear Mr. Heil, I wanted to share this email with you, brother, and tell you a story [about how] your program touched my heart and still does today.
"Over fifteen years ago I put myself into a bad situation where I was sentenced to prison. Now, my friend, I grew up in the church knowing Southern and contemporary gospel music for years by listening to the likes of the Gaither Trio, the Imperials, the Cathedrals and many others. And I knew who the Lord was but was such a hypocrite. I was trying to live a Christian life on the outside but was not serving Him on the inside.
"As time went on I put myself into an unfortunate situation where I committed white collar crimes' and what I did became an addiction. Little did I know that what I never expected was to come after that. I had four consecutive sentences and was to be in prison for six years in one of the worst prisons in the state of Indiana. Never having been in the prison system in my life, this was all so new to me and I didn't know what to expect.
"To make this story short, I realized that I didn't want to spend any more time in there. So I decided to put my life back to where it should be and that was to ask for forgiveness from the Lord and to start my path anew. As I was going through this ordeal my life started to change on the inside and I started to take some college classes and after 2-1/2 years of time I received four different degrees from Indiana University and Purdue University, too.
"You are probably wondering why I am telling you all of this. During the times that I was in the prison system every Saturday evening we could listen to The Gospel Greats' on the local radio station. One of my favorite songs that you played during that time was by Greater Vision called We're On a Journey.' That song help to keep me going along with listening to you on a weekly basis.
"Since I have been out [of prison] my son ... was in the US Army and four years ago this coming July 5th he committed suicide. This was another very hard thing to deal with also. My father died of skin cancer in 1974 and was buried on July 5, 1974. So you can see July 5 is a very hard time to deal with.
"The main reason I am sharing this with you also is that not only has God helped me through the prison ordeal He has also helped me through the death of my son by allowing me to share with others the love of Jesus as these others have lost a loved one through suicide. You see, Mr. Heil, my son's favorite Southern Gospel song [also] was We're On A Journey.' ...I do know that we have a loving God in Heaven who helps us on our journey.
"All of this being said, I just want to encourage anyone and everyone to take a look at their life and if you think you are down to your last desperate thing in life, don't give up because God is and will always be there for us. I am not here to put my name on the map but to tell everyone out there that God can and will work with you if you only accept Him as your personal Savior. If I can make it, then anyone can make it. All of us are on a journey.' And our destination is Heaven!!!"
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