A Very Memorable Birthday

Often in ministry, things don’t turn out how we expect! What was going to be an ordinary T24 pick-up turned into a cake delivery expedition! But we know God uses everything and even the setbacks are part of His good purposes.

 “We received the referral at short notice. Josh* was going to be released [from prison] at 9am on his birthday,” volunteer Graham says. “I had to preach that morning but could be at the prison to pick him up by 12.30, and the prison said that would be fine. When we got there, we couldn’t find him! He seemingly didn’t want to hang around the prison after he was released.”

Graham and Marg went to reception to ask where Josh was, and they were informed that Josh had left a few hours earlier with his remaining belongings. While they were glad to hear Josh had been able to find his way to his accommodation, Graham and Marg had a dilemma.

Knowing that Josh was to be released on his birthday, Graham’s wife had baked him a birthday cake! “My only part to play was to go up to the shop to buy the freckles and smarties for the top!” Graham declared.

Cake in hand and not entirely sure where to go, Graham and Marg decided to “take a punt and take it to where we were going to take him.”

When they arrived, Josh wasn’t available, but Graham and Marg left the cake and some extra essentials at reception. “The receptionist promised he wouldn’t eat the cake!” Graham laughed.

A few days later, “Josh called to thank us for the birthday cake and the duffle bag of basic things we left for him at reception. He said he had tried to ring me but had copied my number incorrectly. He said he was looking for a church but wouldn’t know his location until after he met with a housing worker,” says Graham.

A few weeks later, we received an email from the prison’s Family Liaison Officer:

“Hi Prison Fellowship,

I am writing this email to thank you and the volunteers who picked up one of our men recently.

As you may recall, when we requested a volunteer to pick up [Josh], we mentioned over the phone that the day of his release also coincided with his birthday.

When the Prison Fellowship volunteer attended the prison to pick Josh up, not only they provided him with clothes, toiletries, and also some food for the weekend, but Josh was also provided a cake for his birthday.

This was such a kind gesture, which meant so much to Josh, and that’s the reason we are writing to Prison Fellowship as we would like to thank your organisation for such an act of kindness and emotional support.

I read recently this quote and would like to share with you: “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” – Barbara De Angelis

Can you please share this message with all involved parties at your organisation, especially those who assisted Josh and made his release and birthday so memorable?

We thank you very much for your ongoing support and assistance.”

Graham and the famous birthday cake

Joanna Mann, Staff Writer
*Names have been changed