From Prison to Mission

From Prison to Mission

Eddie & Teresa Franz returned from Tanzania a couple of weeks ago after spending 18 days on the ground with James, DiDi & Moses Myer. Eddie & Teresa will be writing multiple blogs in the near future about their experiences in Tanzania (& oh man did they get the full Africa experience) but we’d like you to get to know a bit about their story and who they are first.

 

Meet Eddie Franz

 

“I was standing in my cell being counted.  The guards were counting us to make sure none of us had: broken out of the cell block, climbed up and down a 15′ wall, and then scaled not one but two razor wire fences with 10′ of razor wire between the fences.  Not really a necessary count considering no one had ever escaped this federal prison, but one of at least 5 daily counts none-the-less.  During this particular count I made sure I the guards did not see my face as they walked by my cell.  I possessed 2 huge shiners (black eyes) that I did not want them to know about.  If they would’ve seen my black eyes I would have been taken to the hole for at least a month, or forced to tell them about the fight I was in. If you understand prison there is really no choice here.  So for obvious reasons I gave the guards my back. It was at this moment that something inside me broke.  Maybe it was my pride or maybe it was my heart, either way I was done.  I grew instantly and insanely tired.   It was in this brokenness that I realized  my entire adult life had been an act.  “Acting” tough and “acting” cool for over a decade was exhausting, and I was obviously horrible at it.  It go me nothing except a nine year prison sentence.   I was tired.  I had know idea who I was, or who I was supposed to be, but at that moment I decided to begin the task of finding out.

Thats me front left.

The guys in these pictures  were my friends/brothers.  They were closer to me than anyone I had ever met.  We would bleed for each other, to the point of death if need be.  That was even our motto, “till death.”

That’s me on the left

How could I walk away from a group of men that put their lives in my hands and vice versa.  To this day I love these men and pray for them, but I was changing inside and it was my destiny to travel a different path.

Months after the fight I was transferred to a minimum security prison. (where the inmates were different than the guys you see in the pictures.)   Not better or worse, just different.  They were men that I didn’t care to impress.  It sounds great to not have to impress anyone, but I was used to the attention that I got from doing crazy things, trying to impress.  The aloneness I felt at this new prison was staggering and profound.  It was that aloneness though, that removed the other voices long enough to finally hear God’s.

There was a group of men who came to this prison every Thursday for no reason except they cared. They usually taught bible studies, but one Thursday they showed a movie and some inmates invited me, to which I replied, “no thanks.”  The movie was, “Passion of the Christ” directed by Mel Gibson. The christian inmates continued to pitch it to me by saying, “Mel Gibson made it, so it has to be good.”  Say what you want about the sanity of Mel Gibson, but the irony of a man who starred in Lethal Weapon being the one responsible for me hearing the Gospel, is not lost on me.   I left the movie asking myself,  “was it true?”   I had to know.  So I went on a search for the truth and found only Jesus.

Fast forward 4yrs.  Still in prison, but my entire life was devoted to serving Jesus.  As much as I used to be devoted to destruction, I was now much more devoted to life.   I modeled my life after Philippians 2:17  but even if I am poured out as a drink offering for the sacrifice and service of your  faith I will rejoice.  It is amazing the difference Jesus can make.  People saw life in me where before only death was visible. I truly was a new creation.  Little did I know what God had planned next in life.

Fast forward 2 more years.  Not in prison.  I married an amazing woman and was blessed with two of the best step kids you could ever ask for.  I was serving at my home church, WBCC,  and feeling like nothing could be better.  That is until I head a sermon from James Myers on Missions.  He preached an entire sermon with a coke bottle on the podium, and the entire time I am wondering why.  At the end he says that one day he was in Tanzania looking for a group of unreached people, he came across a man who had never heard the name of Jesus Christ, but he was holding that bottle of coke.  So in about 100 years coke was able to do what 2000 years of evangelism was unable to do.  It struck me at that moment that we as Christians are making the Holy Spirit look weaker than Coke.  That to me was unacceptable.  My wife turned to me at that time and simply said, “we have to go.”  I agreed.

Next time I will tell you all about this trip, and who this man with me is.

Once again that’s me on the left.

Eddie Franz”

Visit Eddie’s blog here

“For freedom Christ has set us free ….” Galatians 5:1

This post was written by
Jordan Hope's passion is to reach those around her and to the ends of the earth with the life changing reality of Jesus Christ. Her passion is to serve orphans in any way, shape or form. She currently works as a foster mom to adolescent boys near Austin, TX. Jordan met the Myers in 2012 and joined them in their journey to take the gospel to the unreached. She currently resides in Austin, Texas where she serves at Wells Branch Community Church as the Missions Ministry Administrator.

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