Mitch McVicker concert
Lincoln Correctional Center, 7:00pm
Lincoln, IL, August 31st, 2002

newsletter and photos providedby Russell Ashbaugh
the following is a reprint by permission of the Prison Concert Newsletter Vol 2 No 4

click on thumbnails for a larger image
(no photos of concert, since there are strict rules in Illinois
about photographs taken on the grounds of a penal facility)

(l. to r.) Mitch and Anna Ashbaugh (10 year old daughter of concert hosts, Russ and Chris Ashbaugh, and a big Mitch fan)

It wasn't your typical Christian concert.
People came in orderly lines.
There was no merchandise for sale.
There were no beverages for sale.
There were no CD's or tapes to purchase.
Everyone was dressed similarly.
There were no people walking around talking to friends.
Some people lit up cigarettes.
There were armed guards.
Barbed wire could be seen in any direction.

It was your typical Christian concert.
God was glorified.
Brothers and sisters in Christ were encouraged in their faith.
The artist was blessed as well as those who listened.
People sang along.
The good news about Jesus was talked and sang about.
There were more than a few eyes moist with tears.
The fellowship we have in Christ could be seen in most any direction.
God was present everywhere changing hearts, healing minds.

This was the Mitch McVicker concert at Lincoln Correctional Center on August 31st.

Prayers were answered that day.
We received enough funds, praise God.
Although the weather was hot, it was good, a light occasional breeze and no rain; praise God again.
Absolutely no problems with the department of corrections. The personnel there were great to work with. The guards even joined in with the singing from time to time. There were moments when christians that were guards worshipped with christians who were prisoners. To paraphrase Paul, "We were one in Christ, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, guard or prisoner."
ALL the little details came together. All members of the band arrived in time. Some just barely.
Thank God for all his goodness.

Just a few of the many notes of thanks from the sisters in prison.
"Hello Brother in Christ, You and your music really blessed me each time you have came. Keep on doing the work of the Lord."

"Thank you Brother for coming and sharing your up lifting music with the women of Lincoln. May God bless you always. Your Sister in Christ."

"Thank you so much for ministering God. I really enjoy the music. Come again. Your Sister in Jesus."

"May God continually bless you Mitch and your band. You truly blessed my spirit with your music. Your Sis in Christ."

(l. to r.) Russell Ashbaugh, concert host; Tracey Moushon, Mitch's agent (contemplating how to eat a massive steak); Janet Hall, WCIC morning show news person; John Van Hook, assistant sound man; Mike Eeten, head sound man.


Giving God the Praise.
Over three hundred inmates (about 1/3 of the prison population) were able to attend the concert that day.
We had a great road crew, seven ladies from a Bible study formed our road crew and worked diligently in the hot sun to set up and take down the instruments and the sound system. It did not matter how big or heavy the load they just jumped in and got it done. I am proud to call these people my friends.
God has definitely put the people he wants in the right positions at Lincoln Correctional Center. They have a great chaplain, a godly man as warden, and good men who are guards. They all seemed to be aware of the role that God has in the reformation of these souls we call inmates.
God has many friends on the outside who supported this effort with prayers, words of encouragement, and funds. Thank you all. This concert would never have happened without you.
God was faithful in his promise of grace. Grace that says no life is too messed up to be saved by Christ. Grace that says EVERY soul is of value to the Father. Grace that says no matter how hideous the sin, the blood of Christ is sufficient to save.

Words of thanks.
1. Thanks to WCIC radio for interviewing Russ and Chris about prison ministry and this concert in particular. Thank you Grayson and Janet for your kind words of encouragement and for making us feel so welcome.
2. Thank you all who have contributed to the concert, some of you we know, and some we don't; but we and God thank you all.
3. Thanks to Mitch and the band for all their enthusiasm and help.
4. Thanks to Chaplain Tockey for all his help.
5. Thanks to all who are working behind the scenes to make all this happen.
6. Thanks to all who came to the concert, sang along, praised God, and allowed Him to touch their hearts.
7. Thanks most of all for Jesus Christ, without whom we would have no hope at all.
(l. to r.) Rachel Curet, Mitch's publicist and wife of Joe Curet; Mitch; Kevin Galloway, guitarist.

In a nutshell that was what this concert was all about. In the last newsletter we talked a bunch about the role of hope in prison ministry. Hope is what the concert brought to the prisoners.
It showed them that there are those on the outside who hold there souls dear. People are not something that should be thrown away. It was shown in many ways:
Mitch's openness and honesty gave them hope, for his life is an example of things going wrong and yet God rebuilds.
Mike Eeten's excellent work with the sound system showed them that they are worth doing things right, in a slightly extravagant way.
The words of the songs gave hope as only the gospel of Jesus Christ can.
Even the quality of the instruments said the inmates are worth more than they think they are.
The excellence of the music spoke the message that in the eyes of God they are not second rate.
God presence offered hope, even to those who thought they had no hope.

For that day we (Mitch and the rest of us, and most of all God) offered hope. The only hope.

What can you do?
1. Pray, pray hard.
a. Mitch has expressed interest in coming back a third time.
b. We have started to make contact for another artist to come in the spring.

2. Get your fellow Christians to pray. If any fellow believers want to receive this newsletter have them contact us at We would love to send them all back and future issues.

3. If God lays it upon your heart, become involved with prison ministry in some way. If you want to know how, drop us a line and we will help you find out who to contact about doing some work with the saints in prison.

4. Help Mitch, if you know of somewhere he might give a concert, let us know and we will pass the lead along. Buy his records, they are great, go to his concerts, drop him a line of encouragement.

God is good,
We all need grace,
God can't wait to grant it,
God wants us to share grace wherever we go.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS pray for the saints in prison.

l. to r.) Mitch; Kate Ewing, concert hostess; and Tracey Moushon, Mitch's agent, discussing snacks for the trip home.

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**mitch on compassion
Mitch was Compassion USA Top Spokesperson

JOHN 17:3   And eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.