When it was time to sell her 2005 Thunderbird convertible, Lois decided to generously “give away what God had provided”.
Prison Fellowship: What’s the story of the car you donated to Prison Fellowship?
Lois Patton: It all started when we were looking online at auctions for convertibles. I was sitting poolside the night of my son's wedding rehearsal dinner with my sister and brother-in-law. We bid on this car, a 2005 Thunderbird, then forgot all about it and went to dinner. Later my brother-in-law said, "Lois, you won the car!" I said, "You can't be serious." But sure enough, we got it. We got the car two years after my husband Mark's cancer diagnosis. When we drove around, we called it "convertible therapy." Both of us had worked at Ford Motor Co. It was so much fun, but you don't want to drive a convertible on a hot summer day in Texas. We learned that quickly.
What led you to donate it?
Mark passed away in April 2014, and soon I was downsizing. The Lord was calling me to Huntsville, Alabama, to live near my oldest son's family. We just enjoyed the car so much, but I can only drive one car at a time. It's a fun car— two-seater, V-8 engine, very powerful. But it's not a practical family car, so my boys didn't want it either.
The time came when it just wasn't getting used. I thought, I can really find somebody who can use this. Prison ministry has always been on our hearts. I had read Chuck Colson's book, Born Again, when I was living in Australia, and I believe in Prison Fellowship's work. My husband and I had both donated each year to Prison Fellowship. So, I called to see about donating the car.
What was the donation process like?
The actual process was a cinch. It was so easy. Somebody told me when they would pick it up and that they’d have all my papers ready. Then Prison Fellowship would auction it off and use the [proceeds] to help fund the ministry. They knew exactly what to do and were very helpful. I was tickled to know that the car brought $7,600—more than I could afford to donate each year. I'm retired now, and I love being able to give away what God has provided. This was His provision.
We were gardening in my front yard when they came to get the car. We cried a little. It took a lot of memories with it. But God is so good. Just having my family there, when it was taken away, meant a lot. I know my husband would love that his car went to support this cause.
What makes you the most excited about what God is doing through Prison Fellowship today?
I donate because it's an awesome, ethical organization. It wasn't important to just get the tax write-off—it was about supporting the mission. When I hear how God is changing lives inside, I pray that prisoners have the support system outside that they have inside.
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