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White House Boys Meeting – May 31, 2009
Presentation before prayer
By John Marx (Kinsvogel)
FSB in Okeechobee – 1959 and 1960 – in Wilson Cottage
FSB in Marianna – 1962 – in Adams Cottage
When I first started getting in trouble, it was the same as it was for many boys – fighting and not going to school.
Each time I was caught, I went in front of the judge.
One day he got tired of seeing me, so he sent me to FSB. This was in 1959.
Because I was fighting so much, the judge thought it would be a good idea to put me in a cottage with boys who were all bigger than I was.
I was 14 years old and didn’t weigh very much.
When I went to FSB, I was picked on a lot by the boys in my cottage, and no one fought fair.
Now when I first went to FSB in Okeechobee, I was taken to the office and shown the paddle which was to be used on boys who misbehaved or ran away. It was not really a paddle; it was a leather strap, about 1 inch thick, about 4 inches wide and about 3 or 4 feet long. I was told how much it weighed – 16 ounces or more.
Since I was from, what was then, small town Fort Meyers and previous to that, small town Sarasota, I had no idea how evil people could be and I never dreamed what that weapon called a paddle could do to me.
I was not there very long before I decided I would run away – not thinking of the consequences.
When I was caught, I was immediately taken to the office to receive my punishment.
I lay on the bed. Mr. Davis told me to face the wall and to hold onto the pipe at the head of the bed. He said that if I let go, screamed, or moved, they would start the beating all over.
I was so scared; I almost peed in my pants.
The beating began. The pain was beyond description as a grown man used all his strength to drive that weapon into my backside.
I could hear this weapon, in terrified expectation, as it was dragged across the floor, raised up and then as I was hit, an explosion of pain.
This continued for some time. The boys outside, who could hear the strikes, stopped counting at 80 hits as the beating continued.
Throughout the experience, in my mind, I cried out, “Oh God! What is happening to me?! Please God, help me! I am just a little boy who ran away. This can’t be happening to me! Please help! 10-11-12-13 …80 and more.
Broken dreams, broken wives, broken kids, broken lives.
We’re going down! Hold the bed! Don’t let go!
It starts all over again –
Now the wives and kids are going down.
Dad, please make it stop!
For me, it didn’t begin to stop until I was about 30.
At that time, the person I was living with gave me a book to read.
I started reading about a man who was wrongly accused.
When He came before the judge, the judge asked Him if He did the things wrong that people said He did.
The man would not answer.
The judge said, “Don’t you know that I have the power to sentence you to life or death?”
The man would not defend Himself.
As I read, I could see that this man was going down.
The soldiers put thorns on His head, they beat him beyond recognition.
He didn’t let go
They beat Him more
He still didn’t let go
He held on for you and for me
With each hit, He felt all our pain, all our sickness, all our disappointments, our anger, our shame, all our loneliness.
Then they put him on a bed of wood called a cross.
To make sure He didn’t let go, they put nails through His hands and feet.
He could have let go of that bed.
He could have come down from that cross.
He could have called His friends to help
He could have taken the bad guys out.
But He didn’t.
He held the cross
His friends were gone – His followers were gone
He looked up and His Father was gone.
He didn’t let go
For you and me, He didn’t let go
Now we can hold on.
When life beats us up, when the pain is too much, we can hold on
Because He held on for all of us.
Thank you, Jesus