You're never too young or too old to inspire somebody.

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119
https://activerain.com/droplet/ycv

I had the privilege of honoring one of the most amazing men I've ever known, today.  My father-in-law turns 80 on Monday.  That alone is hard for me to believe.  He has always been 49 in my world.  That's about the time I met him, and he is ageless. 

My father-in-law, Alfred Snapp, Jr., has been a friend, a leader and a spiritual man in my life.  Ironically, he was also my student for nearly 25 years.  He is proof that a humble man can learn from anyone.  He was my student when I was a Bible school director and instructor, and he served in my church throughout my twenty years as a pastor. 

He has another legacy that follows along behind him that I only played a small role in, and he perfected it.  In the early 90s, I was a pastor and chaplain at a regional jail.  I had ministered to thousands of prisoners throughout the United States, and I was looking for men I could introduce into that ministry so that I could continue to build the church that I had planted a few years before.

I took Alfred and a handful of men with me to the jail one night to experience what it was like to visit those in prison (Matthew 25.36).  I was always bold as a lion in prisons so the men with me had to follow along and trust me as we went through the process.  That particular night, the administration allowed all of the prisoners to enter the yard were I was going to speak.

When the inmates were there, I began to share my story.  Throughout the sharing time, the inmates began to press upon me as the yard filled with prisoners, coming closer and closer.  As I spoke, some in the front began to tear up, some wept.  For the first time in their lives they realized that making mistakes does not sentence a man to a life of failure and pain.  There is another way.

I huddled with many of them and prayed and offered encouragement that they could change and become the men that God had designed them to be.  It was an intense time for the inmates and for the guys who came with me.  Some of the men were inspired to give prison work a try.  Alfred was one of those men.

Those who felt compelled to work in the jails started to visit the prisoners regularly.  Some dropped out after a short time, but others stayed.  This isn't a ministry for the faint of heart.  It's dangerous and extremely intense at times.  Alfred continued on after my clergy responsibilities took me in other directions, and to this day he is one of the most widely respected and admired men in the regional jail system. 

Inmates regularly come to his meetings, and he shares the path to a better, more productive life.  He didn't come from the same mean streets that I did, but it doesn't matter.  In him, they see a man of integrity and purpose who is willing to sacrifice his time and energy to make sure that they know that one mistake, or a half dozen mistakes, does not destine a man to a life of misery and heartache.  Forgiveness from God is just a request away.

Happy birthday, Alfred.  You are a great father-in-law, but more than that, you are truly a great man.  I'm thankful God saw fit to place you in my life.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Cathy Criado 03/31/2012 01:29 PM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Frederick County Winchester
Groups:
Active Rain Newbies
The Lounge at Active Rain
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The ActiveRain Go-Givers
Tags:
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Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Betty, that doesn't surprise me at all.  I have a feeling that wild horses couldn't keep him in the house, and doubt that anyone else would want to try.  Thanks for the great party.

Mar 31, 2012 11:44 AM #4
Rainmaker
726,407
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Mike, what an amazing tribute! Alfred and Betty sound like the most loving and wonderful couple and so inspiring, too!

I love that your mom-in-law stopped by .. I had to mop up some tears as well.

Mar 31, 2012 11:49 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

She's a mess, Andrea.  She and I have a very funny and fun relationship.  She wants me to be the speaker at her funeral when the time comes (a long way off I trust).  I told her, with all the material I've accumulated over 30 years, we'll have to make this a series.  8-)

Mar 31, 2012 11:49 AM #6
Rainmaker
758,701
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

What an amazing relationship you have with your father-in-law. He sounds like a real special guy.

Mar 31, 2012 01:04 PM #7
Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Jill, he is.  I am truly blessed.

Mar 31, 2012 01:10 PM #8
Rainer
396,567
Cathy Criado
Criado Realty - San Antonio, TX
Making Real Estate Profitable

Mike you are a very inspirational person yourself. Your heartfelt story and compassion are beautiful!  We are truly blessed to have you and Alfred in the world. Blessings.

Mar 31, 2012 01:27 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Thank you, Cathy.  That's very nice of you to say so.  I appreciate it.

Mar 31, 2012 02:39 PM #10
Rainmaker
2,346,102
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Beautiful story and tribute to your FIL Alfred..............hope he has a wonderful birthday tomorrow.

Mar 31, 2012 09:00 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Me too, Roger.  He's quite a guy.

Mar 31, 2012 10:53 PM #12
Rainer
135,586
Margie Kopp Sorrell
Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty and Lake Country - Greensboro, GA
Lake Oconee Real Estate

Mike- He's obviously been an incredible contribution in the years that he's been in your life. We're lucky for those kinds of people. Nice tribute!

Mar 31, 2012 11:41 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Thanks, Margie.  Yes he has.  My mother-in-law is much the same.  In that, I'm truly blessed.

Mar 31, 2012 11:50 PM #14
Rainmaker
3,663,447
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Mike. What a story.....Happy birthday Alfred. A good man is hard to find, and I appreciate you sharing Alfred with us.

Mar 31, 2012 11:50 PM #15
Rainmaker
372,912
Terri Poehler
Realtor - Coral Springs, FL
Coral Springs Real Estate Agent

Not only was this blog special to read, but the comment was touching from Betty.

Mar 31, 2012 11:59 PM #16
Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Thanks, Sheila.  He's a very good man.  He'd probably be a little embarrassed that I wrote a blog about his birthday.  8-)

Apr 01, 2012 12:03 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Thanks, Terri.  She's a special lady.

Apr 01, 2012 01:40 AM #18
Rainmaker
207,960
Peggy Wester
Realty Executives Integrity - Grafton, WI
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County

Heartwarming. Touch. Inspirational. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Apr 01, 2012 01:57 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Thanks, Peggy.  Have a great Sunday.

Apr 01, 2012 03:13 AM #20
Rainer
1,756,848
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Mike.  Special tribute to a special person from another special person.

Apr 01, 2012 08:23 PM #21
Rainmaker
1,558,640
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Thank you, Conrad.  Alfred really is a great guy.  I can hardly believe he is 80.  Time does fly.

Apr 01, 2012 09:42 PM #22
Rainer
208,567
Cheryl Thomson REALTOR Army Ret
United Real Estate (703.216.5635) cheryltee47@gmail.com - Prince William, VA
Associate Broker in Northern Virginia

You got that right.  Your never too old or too young to inspire ANYBODY.  I should hope to live as long as he has.  That itself is a blessing, and how wonderful it is to have SOMEONE whom you can look up to.  

Apr 01, 2012 11:30 PM #23
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