Former NFL player turned pro baseball player and sports analyst Tim Tebow made a surprise detour from speaking at a pro-life event in Waco, Texas, to visit a maximum-security prison last week.
“Honestly it’s one of my favorite things to do on this earth,” Tebow told reporters after visiting Gatesville Prison. “I know it sounds weird, going to a prison, but man I just feel like it’s something God put on my heart a long time ago and He said, ‘Hey, most of the world forgot about them, but you don’t forget.’ So I try not to forget. I try to get with them and share the hope that we have in our faith, to share encouragement … how they matter to me but more importantly how they matter to God.”
The visit happened after the father of one of the inmates reached out to the Tim Tebow Foundation. The inmate’s father and hundreds of inmates were surprised when Tebow visited the prison Thursday morning, joined by Waco residents Suzanne and Terry McDonald, who work for a prison ministry called Discipleship Unlimited. Tebow spent five hours in the prison hanging out with prisoners, including some one-on-one time with those not allowed to be in a group setting, and he also spoke to a crowd of approximately 250 men.
“He was just telling them that he was there because he loves them and they have a purpose and they can fulfill that purpose even where they are,” Suzanne McDonald told KWTX. “And he told them God loves them and there is nothing they could have done that would interfere with that love. I was just so emotional, I started crying and was blown away. He was in such a rush when we left but just to spend the day doing this when he could have been doing whatever. But this is his passion and it just showed. It meant so much to us and it meant so much to the guys. Just to know someone cared.”
On Instagram, Tebow shared a picture of him with inmates at the prison with the caption, “So grateful to spend time with my new brothers in Christ at Alfred Hughes Unit and encouraging them in the hope that Jesus brings!”
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