The first picture below is a recent photo of Tim and Joy Butler who live in Denver, Colorado where Tim works for the Denver Area Youth for Christ (YFC) ministry, focusing on young people between the ages of 11 and 19.  Since 1978, Tim has been ministering as a Chaplain to youths who are incarcerated at 3 youth facilities, and still has significant relationships with some who are now serving time as adults. Tim has ties to Holyoke because of his wife, Joy, and her now deceased parents, Ernest and Marian Blackie who attended First Baptist for many years ago. For more than 35 years, First Baptist Church has partnered with YFC on behalf of Tim and Joy Butler so they can continue to bring the Word of God to youth who are “on the margins of society” because of their criminal behavior, but who are not cut off from God’s redeeming and restoring love. 
The second photo, under Tim and Joy, is a photo of a facility pod to give an idea of what a living unit inside a youth facility looks like. The third photo shows what ministry looks like right now in two of the facilities where Tim serves as Chaplain, he is having a virtual visit with the young people through the computer. On Sunday afternoons/evenings, Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday evenings, Tim “meets” with the young people, sometimes for 15 minutes while other sessions have lasted for more than an hour. Sometimes a volunteer is with Tim, as is the case in that third photo, and the visits are never the same. Some visits include a group bible study with maybe 5 kids crowded around a computer screen at the facility, and those can be tough and a challenge to hold their attention given the distractions on the units. Often Time shares a Christian video with them and those always have an impact. The third facility allows Tim to offer a Protestant service every other Sunday, and he is praying that in the near future, he can start offering weekly Bible studies and “pastoral visits” to the guys who request them. 
 
Here is the latest update from Tim on the work he is doing with YFC. 

I Samuel 23 records an incident in David’s life when he, and the 600 men who were following him, were on the run from Saul.  After rescuing the city of Keilah from the Philistines, God reveals to David that the people would soon turn on him and hand him over to Saul.  Talk about getting stabbed in the back!  David had to be devastated, so I’m sure he was energized and thrilled to see his close friend Jonathan.  Verse 16 reads  “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God.”  I pray for you that when those times of deep discouragement come – and I am sure they have come many times! – that God will send a “Jonathan” to strengthen your hand in God, even as your prayers have strengthened me over the years.  Just this past week, I received a letter from Alec (one of the STEM shooters from 2 years ago) letting me know he is now at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility where he’ll probably spend the next 18 years until he’s eligible for parole.  (Alec has identified as a male but is biologically a female.)  I am humbled by the opportunity God has given me to speak hope and JESUS into his life and pray that someday soon he’ll surrender his life to Christ.  (Alec’s mom has also texted me about a dozen times since December, so pray for that relationship as well that she will come to a saving faith in Jesus.)  Thank you for praying for the in-person ministry that I’m having again at the Ridge View Academy in Aurora.  Right now, a Catholic Deacon and I are offering services on alternating Sundays, so pray that in time, I can begin offering a weekly Bible study and individual pastoral visits to the youth on an “as requested” basis.  The “re-certification” training I was to receive last month at Marvin Foote was postponed since one of the instructors came down with COVID.  Hopefully, the training will be rescheduled soon so a couple volunteers and I can begin in-person ministry soon.  (The virtual visits are going well, so that’s a praise!)  Continue to pray for “Edgar” – I mentioned him last month, and many other times.  He’s been at the Arapahoe County Jail since February, and his trial begins next month.  During my last video phone call, he admitted he’s really discouraged and has stopped reading his Bible.  My letters to him and time on the phone can only do so much, so pray God will powerfully surround him with His peace.  If found guilty, I’m sure he’s looking at a 20+ year sentence.  I ask for your continued prayers for the Gilliam facility (28th and Downing) – despite my numerous emails to the director, I’ve not received any indication as to when they will allow in-person ministry.  The “virtual” Bible studies and one-on-one conversations I offer each Wednesday are going well, but at times, there are too many distractions for meaningful interactions.  Our Parent Life ministry has begun a monthly job training class for the young parents, and the CEO of Jersey Mike’s has been involved in the training.  Pray the participants will grow in their personal confidence and job skills, and that this will open the door to many meaningful conversations about a relationship with Jesus.

Bullet points (3):

  • Last week, I received a letter from Alec (one of the STEM shooters from 2 years ago) letting me know he is now at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility where he’ll probably spend the next 18 years until he’s eligible for parole. (Alec has identified as a male but is biologically a female.)  I am humbled by the opportunity God has given me to speak hope and JESUS into his life and pray that someday soon he’ll surrender his life to Christ.  (Alec’s mom has also texted me about a dozen times since December, so pray for that relationship as well that she will come to a saving faith in Jesus.) 
  • Continue to pray for “Edgar” – I mentioned him last month, and many other times. He’s been at the Arapahoe County Jail since February, and his trial begins next month.  During my last video phone call, he admitted he’s really discouraged and has stopped reading his Bible.  My letters to him and time on the phone can only do so much, so pray God will powerfully surround him with His peace.  If found guilty, I’m sure he’s looking at a 20+ year sentence. 
  • I ask for your continued prayers for the Gilliam facility (28th and Downing) – despite my numerous emails to the director, I’ve not received any indication as to when they will allow in-person ministry. The “virtual” Bible studies and one-on-one conversations I offer each Wednesday are going well, but at times, there are too many distractions for meaningful interactions.