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  • Doug Tjapkes

Feeling blessed! Celebrate with us!

If you want to really see how God blesses, you’d better pay attention! Example. When we formed a little male chorus called HIS MEN in 1972, we hand-picked 13 guys whom we already knew had good voices, were able to read music, and probably would enjoy singing together. Here’s the thing that I believe God really honored: The singers were not impressed with themselves! We weren’t in it for the money (we sang for free or for worthy Christian causes, and took not a cent for ourselves), we weren’t in it for the fame and glory (we avoided concert halls in favor of prisons, nursing homes, orphanages and children’s hospitals), and we weren’t trying to impress fellow musicians (we chose tasteful and fun arrangements of favorite hymns, instead of difficult and challenging anthems). I have always felt that, as a result, God quietly blessed us in such an amazing way. I think I’m a pretty decent choir director, but I could never take credit for that heavenly sound! That was divine intervention! That’s what I’m thinking about today, as we observe our 20th anniversary of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. Based on the suggestions of Maurice Carter, I started this little one-man show with no goals of fame and glory. I’d had a little taste of that as a popular broadcaster and musician. Now it was time to roll up sleeves, and get hands dirty in the trenches. And so, following Mother Theresa’s wonderful advice, (“If you can’t feed a hundred people, just feed one!”), with Maurice Carter still in prison and with Douger still selling organs to pay the bills, we began helping needy people behind bars. One at a time. We made no headlines, we moved no mountains, but we tried to help with prompt response. If we could do nothing else, we listened, we held a hand, we let each person know that we cared. That he or she mattered. 20 years later, I can honestly say that we have been blessed beyond measure...and I can take no credit for it. Blessed with strong and dedicated board leadership, blessed with caring and professional staff members, blessed with concerned and compassionate volunteers, and yes, blessed with an incredibly generous support system! HFP and its amazing team have quietly touched the lives of thousands of prisoners, and the story is still being written. You can’t get more blessed than that! SOLI DEO GLORIA!

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