Before I went to Oklahoma City last week I was told several times by several people in several locations across the country that I “just had to meet Larry and Judy Mills – especially Judy.” I was told that Judy is the leader of Angel Tree – a Prison Fellowship ministry that cares for the children of incarcerated parents beginning at Christmas and extending throughout the year – in her local church.
When I arrived in Oklahoma City, I received a reminder on my iPhone screen to look for Larry and Judy – especially Judy – at the evening event I was attending. The event was sponsored by a local leadership training initiative and was attended by a wonderful group of passionate followers of Jesus living out their faith in boardrooms, classrooms, and legislative offices.
After the meeting was over, a tall gentleman approached me and said (you guessed it), “You have to meet Larry and Judy Mills – especially Judy! They go to my church and they have served Angel Tree kids for years. They are wonderful. They’re right over here.” He took me by the arm and led me to this wonderful couple waiting patiently to meet me.
No one else was mentioned as a “you-must-meet person” and no one ushered me to anyone else in the room – not the CEOs, presidents, CFOs, or state legislators. Only Judy and Larry were a “must meet.”
Now I know why. Judy and Larry are a delightful, Godly, Jesus-loving and Spirit-following couple. They love making sure the kids of incarcerated parents in Oklahoma City know Jesus loves them, and that there is a church family to support them. “It is so good to meet you,” they told me. I relayed the story of all the people who insisted my trip to Oklahoma City would be a failure if I didn’t meet them. They blushed and I took joy in seeing servants of Jesus with humble hearts and joy-filled souls.
As I left the building that night I wondered how many children have found hope and the joy of Christmas because of the Mills’ faithfulness? How many kids have gained a “new beginning” because someone invited them to the Angel Tree party at the Mills’ church where they met a mentor and a guide? How many families are reunited because the Millses provided a way for a parent to stay in contact with a child even from behind bars?
I am so glad I was able to meet the Millses!