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.
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.