Greetings from Lakeland, Florida!  We’ve all had a challenging year with the pandemic, the election, and all the changes we’ve experienced in life and ministry. And yet, because of Jesus, we have HOPE!

Many of you have faithfully prayed for our son for the over twenty-one years of his incarceration. This has been a difficult year for inmates, too. In Florida, there was no visitation for 7 months. We now have limited visits, with masks, social distancing, and plastic between us. 

Recently, we’ve been allowed to have one hug with our loved one when we arrive, and one hug when we leave. It’s impossible to describe the blessing of human touch.

No prison photos have been taken during this year of the pandemic, so this picture is from Mother’s Day a couple of years ago.

We’ve recently been told that J.P.’s (Jason Paul’s) second application for the clemency process has made it to the top of the pile.  (This is not a request to get out of prison immediately; it’s a request for commutation of his sentence to 25, 30, 35, or 40 years, rather than life without the possibility of parole.). Our advocates assure us this is “an uphill climb” because it is so politically unpopular to show mercy to someone with our son’s conviction.

But we still believe in a miracle-working God! You may remember that in Florida, in order for any mercy to be given in clemency cases, the governor, plus two of the remaining three cabinet members have to agree on a commutation of a sentence. Our advocates arranged for Gene and me to have meetings (via ZOOM) with clemency aides who work for the cabinet members and they asked lots of questions about our son, including what he would do if he were ever released.

There will be a waiting period for a decision from the aides in those three offices who will advise the cabinet member they work for about whether or not Jason should receive a clemency hearing.

Jason has expressed great remorse for his actions that caused devastation to his victim, his victim’s family, and to his own family.  He has worked as “a missionary on the inside” of a maximum-security prison for many years.  Currently, he teaches in the re-entry program.  He’s taken approximately 1,000 inmates through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and he regularly counsels, mentors, and encourages inmates at Desoto Correctional Institution.

We have two remarkable advocates working on Jason’s behalf. They will meet with aides in the governor’s office to present Jason’s case later this month.  Family members are not allowed to attend this meeting.

God knows all about this.  Please pray for favor and wisdom for our advocates. Also pray for mercy and for God’s will for our son.

This quote from Kay Warren encourages us: “ Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”

Thank you, dear friends for your prayers.  We stand before the Lord with a very big request—with hope and humility, asking him to move in the hearts of influential and powerful people.

Much Love,

Gene, Carol, and Jason Kent

Important announcement:  The annual Speak Up Conference will take place on July 14-16, 2021 and it will be a virtual event. If you know God is nudging you to write, teach, or speak for His glory, please plan to attend. Early Bird Pricing is available HERE.

71 Comments

  1. Maggie Rowe on February 16, 2021 at 6:21 am

    Carol, count me among the many praying for clemency for your precious son. Though I have never met him personally, I feel I know him due to the remarkable ministry he has had on the inside. I, too, believe in a miracle-working God!



    • Linda on March 2, 2021 at 8:22 am

      ^^what Maggie said!



  2. Ellen Frogner on February 16, 2021 at 6:27 am

    I have been praying for your family for years, since I heard your testimony at a Women of Faith Leadership Conference. Jason’s story is inspiring in that in the midst of his own trials and tribulations, he has helped so many. May Governor Desantis and the others in control listen to God’s voice.



  3. Kay Hall on February 16, 2021 at 6:29 am

    Thank you for asking for prayer. This is a trusted request that I will be blessed to respond to. Our God has a mighty plan and there will glory given as it unfolds.



  4. Sharon Deur on February 16, 2021 at 6:45 am

    I have been and will continue to pray, Carol!
    We serve a mighty, gracious Lord!



  5. Daneen Stahl on February 16, 2021 at 6:50 am

    Praying for you and Gene and for JP. Praise God for another second chance. Pray for peace in your hearts and comfort to your souls. God knows your every need. I have forwarded this message to many who know your ministry in Wichita,Kansas. We stand with you.



    • Debra Rodriguez on February 16, 2021 at 11:48 am

      Prayers for Jason. May your prayers be answered. Touch the hearts of all involved that Jason may see God’s love and mercy!



  6. Debbie Black on February 16, 2021 at 6:57 am

    This is wonderful news. My prayer that things continue to move in the most positive way. God bless you all.

    Debbie Black



  7. Cheryl Hubbard on February 16, 2021 at 7:11 am

    My heart aches for your son and yourselves. I have been praying for JP since I’ve faced the reality of my own dear son’s imprisonment. I learned of JP through your encouraging books. I will pray for a miracle for JP’s release!



  8. Kathy Ptaszek on February 16, 2021 at 7:17 am

    Dear Carol, Gene, and Kent,
    Praying with you for God’s intervention.
    Kathy Ptaszek



  9. John and Judy Frady on February 16, 2021 at 7:23 am

    Sending prayers and love to the Kent family.



  10. Lu Ann Monize on February 16, 2021 at 7:26 am

    Dear Gene and Carol,
    I will certainly be praying. I have the “He holds my Hand” devotional and I use it as part of my study time every morning. It is such an encouraging devotional, especially knowing your ongoing story. And it is my reminder to pray for JP and you.
    My son was just released from prison in January. We too went through the scenario of no visits and he did become very ill with covid. Absolutely no one understands the anguish, fear, and deep well of sorrow a parent carries when a beloved child is locked away. So, I will continue to pray for you, JP, and your family. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your openness in sharing your difficult and heartbreaking journey. You have encouraged me beyond words as we have been on our own journey with the prison system. I do know that God is good and answers our prayers in absolutely amazing ways. Stand strong together dear friends. Praying for you and JP.



  11. kathleen sly on February 16, 2021 at 7:30 am

    This is such encouraging news & it certainly does bring hope! Also brings me to my knees!
    I am joining you at the throne of grace , asking for mercy& God’s sovereign will to prevail.
    Thank you for allowing us to join you in prayer…so looking forward to seeing how God gets the glory through this! ❤️



  12. Mary Ellen Zent on February 16, 2021 at 7:33 am

    Praising God for your wonderful advocates, asking Him for great wisdom as they speak to the powers that be, and asking Him to “change the king’s heart” where J. P. is concerned, all the while giving God’s peace and comfort to J. P., Gene and yourself.!



  13. Rebecca Milano on February 16, 2021 at 7:51 am

    Jason has been on my heart recently & now I know why!!! I will send him a note of encouragement. I will continue to pray & claim a miracle for Jason. If there can be snow in Texas, God can do this!!! Thank you Jesus!! Rebecca Milano



  14. Mary Giannola on February 16, 2021 at 7:52 am

    Rest assured I will be praying and I’ve sent this on to my bible study gals. One of them has a son in prison to and we have decided to make it our mission this Lent to pray for Jason and Cody (my friends son in prison in Georgia) . We all know NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!



  15. Georgianna on February 16, 2021 at 8:02 am

    My prayers for your son and you and your spouse in this long uphill process. Stay strong in the Lord and God Bless!



  16. Emily Eason on February 16, 2021 at 8:04 am

    I will be praying for your son. Please pray for mine Erik E to be released early. 3 prophets said he would be. He was given 15 yrs has done 10 yrs due to drugs. God bless.. Emily E Erik Eason s mom- yes it has been very hard for Erik and family. Mercy & Grace Lord. Thank you



  17. Jamie lou Mason on February 16, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Carol, Gene and JP, you have been all prayed for and this will be soaked in prayer. I pray right now I’m agreement with you for Gods mercy and would wash over all of you peace and rest as you wait. God we asked foe favor, mercy and release – an end date. Please … in Jesus Name



  18. Sheri on February 16, 2021 at 8:09 am

    We are believing with you! Thanks for keeping us updated.



  19. Margaret Hossler on February 16, 2021 at 8:31 am

    “There is HOPE in the name of the Lord! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
    Praying with you in the name of the Lord.
    We love you each.
    Bill and Margaret



  20. Lyn Wineland on February 16, 2021 at 8:34 am

    I will be praying for His will to be done. It seems so unnecessary to keep a person incarcerated for the rest of his life when he clearly is not a threat to the public if he is released. I do hope he gets to come home soon.



  21. Emma on February 16, 2021 at 8:40 am

    I will be praying for GOD to touch the ones in charge of this decision! And for Jason to receive mercy and a new walk in life. Praying for GOD to be with you and Gene through this wait.
    Sending your a Hug and LOVE of JESUS ❤



  22. Susan Gibbons on February 16, 2021 at 8:41 am

    I will continue praying!! It is encouraging to see you and your husband and family develop and exercise your faith that delivers!!Thank you for specific request for those in authority. God is the ultimate authority. You are remarkable and have encouraged me over the years!! I always hope my son could meet your son and I meet you Carol. I’m grateful for your faith, hope, and love! From the giver of all good things. Sincerely, Susan Gibbons



  23. Nancy Heilman on February 16, 2021 at 8:42 am

    I ran across your family story it was ago, when our ladies group was using one of your books for a Bible study. I had to lead that study for a few weeks, as the regular leader was sick. This propelled me to read your family’s entire story, to look up newspaper reports, and truly embrace what you all went through. In the process, I shared your story with one of my students. (I am a dyslexia tutor, in private practice). Jason’s story has been a powerful influence in my student’s young life. My student has asked many, many questions about if you could ever be a Christian and murder somebody. We have talked numerous times back-and-forth about Jason‘s situation. What a powerful, godly influence he has had at the prisons he’s been in. Your story has really moved me as well. I will pray for Jason’s release. What a miracle that would be. I think back to the yellow rose story you told in one of your books. God bless you, Carol, for your influence in telling your family’s story to the world. We serve a gigantic God! May He work on your family’s behalf right now!!!!! Now to Him who is able to do all that we ask and more — be the power, honor, and glory, AMEN.



  24. LuAnn Camp on February 16, 2021 at 8:46 am

    I’m praying with you and your family. I was at the Speak Up conference when you had just learned about JP. Nothing was said to us, but I noticed a lot of tears among the family. Then two years later I went back and you shared about it. I was dumbfounded that you were able to present at a conference after experiencing what you did. ONLY GOD! I have followed you for 40 years and feel like I know JP – so it was devastating news to me too. I remain in prayer for God’s favor on your family!



  25. Ann Todd on February 16, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Please know you and your family are uplifted in prayers.
    I wish I could tell you all that have been changed by your visit
    to Vidalia First United Methodist Church, Vidalia, Georgia
    Although it has been many years ago the ladies often speak of you as though it were yesterday
    Your books have been shared and discussed, especially When I Lay My Isaac Down and A New Kind of Normal. These books have given encouragement and hope.
    May God continue to bless and keep you and your family
    Ann Todd



  26. Andrea on February 16, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Is is by faith that I pray in agreement with you and your family for Jason’ s clemency case. To God be the glory



  27. Joann Seaberg on February 16, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Dear Carol, Please know that you, Gene and Jason are in my prayers. May you sense the Lord’s presence in a special way as you await the outcome of this next decision. I am praying also for the aides, board members and governor. May God give you favor and mercy and this desire of your heart in this matter. May God continue to give all of you the strength and health as this difficult journey continues.



  28. Catherine Michaels on February 16, 2021 at 9:04 am

    Hello from northeast PA I will join with your prayers for your sons clemency. May Jesus make a way! My son Matthew has been incarcerated 2 years with many to go. He has remained mentally well up until these past few months. We have not seen him in a year we have seen him via FaceTime when it works the prison has been COVID ridden we see and hear in his voice depression like an umbrella. They have had no church and they are currently without a Pastor the jobs and outdoor visits have been canceled months upon months This situation which I have no control over weighs me down. Looking forward to being able to see him, maybe soon, If Fla has opened up. Greeting from my daughter Hilaryand I May our Lord and Savior bless you all in all your endeavors Catherine



  29. Becky Hosseini on February 16, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Absolutely will be praying for Jason!



  30. Deb McGinnis on February 16, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this news. I will certainly be praying patiently for favor from the judicial system. Praying also for blessings for your son and his mother & father….



  31. Valerie Johnson on February 16, 2021 at 9:31 am

    I remember well you speaking at a PWOC conference in Florida & telling us about your son. It had just happened and we knew nothing of it until your last presentation of the conference. Our mouths dropped. It was heart wrenching. I was amazed at how good worked through you to be able to do that. Our God continues to amaze us. Thank you for letting God use your story & family.
    I am praying for Jason!
    Valerie



  32. Pam on February 16, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Praying for God’s perfect will, His peace for you all and mercy for JP.



  33. Jamie Conway on February 16, 2021 at 9:37 am

    God bless you and your family and give JP mercy before the clemency board. I will be praying that he will find favor with them to live free on the outside of prison for the glory of God, just as he has on the inside. Much has been gained for the kingdom of heaven because of the choices he has made to trust God and serve him with his whole heart. Godspeed



  34. Sherron McAllister on February 16, 2021 at 9:44 am

    That is wonderful news and I will certainly pray. I heard your story first at a Women’s Event in Brunswick GA. I have read your books about this journey, shared the books, and shared with others this unbelievable story. You have shown great love for your son and for God. I admire Jason for his ministry while in prison. He has certainly been a great servant for God, just like his mom and dad. MAY THE SON OF GOD continue to guide and walk with you each step you take.



  35. Mary Jane Kline on February 16, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Praying for you and that God’s will be done, and that His name be glorified!



  36. Marilyn Stuart on February 16, 2021 at 9:52 am

    Greetings from Canada!
    Such an encouraging update about Jason…thank you for sharing! May God grant favour in His perfect timing. What seems like a very long trial is but a blink in eternity in the presence of Jesus. In the meantime, may Jason’s ministry continue
    to flourish and extent the Kingdom for His honour and glory. I pray, in the providence of our sovereign God, that He would show mercy to Jason for release. What a day that will be!

    Thank you for your example of unmovable faith in the face of hardship. You are a hero of the faith to a watching world. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.

    Love and blessings to you and your family.



  37. Shirley MacCormack on February 16, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Praying!



  38. Cheryl Denton on February 16, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Prayers for you and your beloved Son. ❤️



  39. Jill Gregory on February 16, 2021 at 10:00 am

    I am joining you in prayer! “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. (Jer. 32:17) Praying this over you!! Nothing is too hard for Him! <3 Love you, dear friend!



  40. Dorothy Beck on February 16, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Dear Carol, about 4 years ago, how the time flies, I wrote to your organization for prayer for my husband George. He was facing charges for child porn possession. He was to serve 5 years, our lawyer negotiated to 2 years. We decided to switch lawyers and it was brought down to zero years with 20 year probation. We are grateful we were led to this lawyer Rick Escobar one of the best criminal lawyers in Tampa. God led us all the way. We feverishly prayed for mercy and favor. God was faithful to answer our prayers. The anxiety we faced was over the top during that time. God is in control and is faithful. He can do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think. I will be happy to pray for your son, you and Gene, Governor DeSantis, aides lawyers, judge involved for mercy and favor. Please update when appropriate.



  41. Lois Larabee on February 16, 2021 at 10:27 am

    Carol. We are praying for a J. P. and a favorable outcome on his clemency list hearing. God is in control. Praise the Lord for all the good Jason is doing in the prison. God took something bad and replaced it with good.



  42. Nora on February 16, 2021 at 10:30 am

    I am praying daily and will continue to do so.



  43. Irene Strickland on February 16, 2021 at 10:33 am

    In Jesus name…… I believe everything is going work out in Jason’s favor. I’m praying and believing with you that this is getting ready to happen.
    Irene



  44. Lisa W. Smith on February 16, 2021 at 10:40 am

    Joining your prayer. Lifting this to the throne of mercy and grace.



  45. CINDY Scott on February 16, 2021 at 10:43 am

    still praying for your son



    • Penny Nading on February 16, 2021 at 11:14 am

      I’m praying for each person involved in this.
      The Lord has used your story to point me to ETERNITY thinking as we face the sentencing of our son. My deepest prayer is that he will choose THE LORD through this all.
      I’m thankful you keep up updated as I feel like I’m praying for a family member… ( I guess I am.. the family of Christ that we bond in…)



  46. Christine on February 16, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Dear Carol, Gene and Jason,
    I’m praying for you all! It would be wonderful if Jason’s sentence would be commuted.
    Jason has proven himself to be a God-fearing man and an asset to his community inside prison walls. I have no doubt he would continue to be the same on the outside. I believe he deserves a second chance, as don’t we all need a second chance? None of us want to be judged by one poor decision we made when we were young. I have compassion for the victim and his family as well. Jason has deep remorse and has asked forgiveness. Jason belongs to the Lord wherever he is. I’m trusting in the Lord Jesus that Jason will be serving Him in the outside community one day. God bless you all! With love and prayers ❤️



  47. Kim on February 16, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Oh Carol, I cannot imagine how long the 7 months without seeing Jason must have felt, for all of you. Praying and believing for his freedom.



    • Bob & Sally Kahly on February 16, 2021 at 2:46 pm

      This is Bob & Sally Kahly! Thank you for letting us know of your need for prayer! We have prayed for JP & will continue! We have seen a miracle of God with a man we visited in prison for 34 years! He was given a life without parole sentence but was released 1 1/2 years ago & will be off parole July 18, 2021! He is doing well and we are so encouraged after all those years of praying for him! We will pray and trust that God will do the same for JP! Praying for you and Gene as well, of course!



  48. Ralaine Fagone on February 16, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Carol, I would be thrilled to write the Gov. a letter of support for Jason. By the comments written above mine, if we are given the Commutation file # and the address, many letters would flood the Gov. office.
    It is encouraging Jason’s file has made it to the Capitol. I will pray for the hearts and minds of those making this decision to be bolstered with confidence toward Jason.
    It has been one year since I’ve gotten to visit my son in California. The prisons remain closed for visiting and there is no date for re-opening. I’m thankful the phone lines are open and my son calls every other day. I share with you the heartache of not seeing, touching and hugging your son.
    Hopefully soon this will change, along with his commutation. Father holds “The fullness of time” for Jason and for my son, James. When He says, “It’s time!” nothing and no man will stand in the way. Freedom will come and the doors will open.
    My heart is with you and your family.



  49. Kathy Paisley on February 16, 2021 at 11:26 am

    I’m joining you in prayer (from Nebraska) Carol and Gene! May God’s good and gracious will be done!



  50. Christie on February 16, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Thank you for the update and this is a great praise, I will be praying for your family and a good report!
    I, also have a son incarcerated, with the same sentence. Hope to find this same results one day.
    Blessings, Christie



  51. Eloise Plavney on February 16, 2021 at 11:36 am

    Praying praying praying



  52. Betty Davies on February 16, 2021 at 11:54 am

    Dear Carol…we think of you and Jason often. We will pray now earnestly that this will all work out in his favor. Hugs



  53. Crickett Keeth on February 16, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    I’m praying God will do abundantly beyond anything we could ask or think. Thank you for sharing this with us so we can join you in prayer. Love you!



  54. Laurie Wimmer on February 16, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    I will be praying for all three of you. How glorious would it be to have this prayer answered!!! God is good all the time, and you and Jason have been so faithful during this journey. I hope along with you.



  55. Becky Nordquist on February 16, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    Jason and you both are in my prayers regularly… those will not only continue, but increase in passion and daily until this is seen through. Sending you all love. Know your journey is seen and felt deeply. Love you dearly. Becky



  56. Marcy Kelly on February 16, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    When i attended one of your conferences several years ago, you shared Jason’s story. I am now lifting him and your family up in prayer again, and will continue to do so. We have such an amazing and all-powerful God! And I am so grateful that you again know the blessing of a hug.



  57. Jane Geoghean on February 16, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    Definitely praying!!! God judges us by our hearts!!!
    Mercy Father God.. Mercy!!



  58. Laura Schrengohst on February 16, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    Carol, I’ll be praying for you and your son. Ever since I read your book about your son, you have been in my thoughts and prayers.



  59. Ann Hill on February 16, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    Praying for everyone involved in this process. I met you in Colorado at the Good Books conference many years ago. I have gifted your books and recommended them to many. Will continue to pray!



  60. Joy Young on February 16, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Praying for the Governers heart in preparation for this meeting on Jason’s behalf.
    God goes before them and you. Praying for God’s will to be done and His glory to be all over your story!



  61. Lael Arrington on February 16, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    We are continuing to pray, my friend. I always think of John Piper’s quote: “If God’s justice can be maintained, it is the height of his glory to show mercy.” I pray that those making this decision will see the beauty and value of showing mercy to JP.



  62. Marti Pieper on February 17, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Continuing to pray, Carol. You and Gene are an example to all of us in your continued strong faith, love, and advocacy for your son. Hugs and prayers always!



  63. Lorre Hopkins on February 18, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Your son will be in my prayers. His story has given me comfort as I’ve lived with the heartbreak of a son with mental illness, addiction, and in and out of jail as a result. As a Christian it is hard to talk about these issues and your honest books have helped me not feel alone. I am so hopeful now for Jason, and I know what you are feeling as you petition the Lord to influence hearts. The good news is that God really can change hearts and minds, and I pray this for you!



  64. Jackie Edwards on February 18, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Praying for the answer your heart desires



  65. Kim Lawson on February 18, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Carol and Gene,
    The Lawsons are praying!!! Much love from Texas.



  66. Lisa Cadman on February 25, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    Carol! Your friends at Focus are praying! We love y’all!



  67. Sabrina Justison on February 28, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    I lift Jason up every day, and you and Gene as well. Remembering you all before Jesus!