Jerry Jenkins was one of our original Iron Men. This was his favorite weekend of the year. The men at the mission were his friends and the Iron Man was a ministry he loved. A few months ago, unexpectedly, Jerry went home to be with the Lord.
After sharing how important Jerry was to the ministry we showed a video made in his honor (which can be viewed at the bottom of this page). The video concluded with a short clip of Jerry in the hospital personally addressing his friends at the mission.
Upon its conclusion we invited Jerry’s father to the stage. Paul Jenkins had ridden his motorcycle over 400 miles from Arizona to take part in the Conference on Jerry’s behalf. Paul shared Jerry’s heart for the ministry along with his own. It was a raw moment of vulnerable emotion. There was not a dry eye or unstirred heart in the room.
The chaplain at the mission announced that they have ordered a perpetual plaque with Jerry’s image and name on it to promote the Mentoring relationship each year that best reflects the impact that Jerry has made on the mission.
We were also happy to announce that we had started an Iron Man Scholarship Fund to financially assist the men at the mission when it’s their time to transition. Then we highlighted that in Jerry’s memory we had raised $12,000 for the fund.
Deed & Truth is matching that amount so the fund will open with $24,000. This is one, of many ways, that demonstrates Jerry’s legacy on skid row. As his wife, Viviana has shared, “Jerry’s race isn’t finished.” He continues to make a difference where a difference needs to be made. As you might imagine, this generated an outburst of gratitude from the men.
It was an emotional weekend and a powerful weekend for so many, in so many different ways. From a prayer time where the entire room was on their knees calling out to God, some even wailing, in response to the message on the Majesty of God, to another man at the mission who shared that this was the first time in ten years that he had laughed out loud.
Friendship involves many emotions. We saw them all at the conference. One man from Orange County who came for the first time said it best… “This has been a life-changing experience.”
A number of new mentoring relationships have already formed and we expect more to come from our follow up meetings. God is moving through the Iron Man Conference to unite the hearts of these two distinctly different, yet very much the same, groups of men. Men who crave father figures are being paired with men who need the example of brokenness and vulnerability that only a friendship with the marginalized can provide.
Please pray that these emotions translate into life-long, meaningful relationships that impact the kingdom of God.