Helping and Enriching Lives Through Prison Ministry

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Lord Take Control


Dear Supporters, Brethren and Friends,

First, let me say thank you for all the prayers, financial support and encouragement from so many of you. This has been the most difficult quarter since I have been doing the prison work. Sadly, some of you have probably heard this before from me. I am late writing this report because I simply didn’t want to talk about it anymore and I have been putting it off.

Unfortunately, we had a brother at the house, Micah Azbill, die of a drug overdose. He was 42 years old. I had worked with Micah for eight years in prison and for eight months while he was in the transition program. We have never had something like this happen in the 12 years of working with men after release from prison. Initially we supposed his death to be of natural causes which was difficult enough to deal with. I had to call his parents the night he died and let them know, help them gather his belongings a few days later, and try to answer their “why” questions. Six weeks later the autopsy results revealed he had died from a Fentanyl over dose. It was quite a blow to me, the other men in the program and the congregation at Middleburg.

There is a song we sing sometimes in our worship services that finally snapped me out of the ditch I was in for several weeks. It is called Lord Take Control.

My heart, my mind, my body, my soul I give to You, take control I give my body a living sacrifice Lord, take control, take control

That finally is what it boils down to for all of us. If I am doing His work, then I must simply serve and learn to live with the consequences. I think that is what being a living sacrifice – Romans 12:1 is all about. It is easy for me to tell others to live that way, but harder for me to do it. I guess the difficult thing for me continues to be that I know these kinds of situations are going to continue. I clearly see the future pain and discouragement that awaits. There is no way out of it if I continue to work with men after prison. So many of you encourage me by saying “one soul is worth it”, “if you just save one.” I know that is true, but I also know that it will take many disappointments, failures, frustrations and maybe even deaths to save the one. It scares me and disheartens me. I continue to see new levels of pain to “save the one.” Not only the pain I feel, but more importantly the pain these setbacks inflict on so many that support what I do. 2

Working with these men challenges me to ask myself if I really love the lost. Is it really worth the “one”? As ugly as it sounds, to be brutally honest, sometimes I don’t feel the one is worth it. I need to grow in love for God and others.

That’s the truth. So, I press on to more maturity. I press on to be more like Christ. I press on to give Him more control. Thank you for helping me do just that. I don’t think I would have confronted these things in my life without this work. Your continued support in so many ways tells me that you still believe the “one” is worth it even when my faith is weak. Thank you for strengthening me.

Daryl Townsend