Two things you likely never knew about Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence has officially announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. (What I writing here is neither an endorsement, nor is it a non-endorsement.) However, I want to tell you two things about Mike Pence you might not know. They are both intriguing stories.
MIKE PENCE’S CONVERSION: ICHTHUS
Mike Pence came to Christ as a college student in Wilmore, Kentucky while attending the three day Ichthus Jesus Music Festival, which was started by a small group of students at Asbury Theological Seminary. I had the privilege of attending Asbury Seminary and was involved in the Ichthus Festival as the program director (selecting the groups) and later served as the emcee. Ichthus, as you may know, is Greek for “fish,” whose letters form an acrostic for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.” The Ichthus Festival became one of the largest (15,000 – 20,000 persons) in attendance and one of the longest running.
This is part of the Wilmore, Kentucky campgrounds, where then college student
Mike Pence received Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord
Mike came to Ichthus in 1978, heard the Gospel. He responded affirmatively. It changed him. Totally. It changed his theology. It changed his politics. (The issue has little to do with actual political parties, since political parties come and go. The heart of the issue is this question: in which party can I most effectively live out distinct and clear Biblical convictions. Bottom line: Pence changed.)
I have heard Vice President Pence speak openly on several occasions about his conversion to Jesus at the Ichthus Festival. Every time I have greeted him, I have say, “I am Jim Garlow, the guy from Icthus.” He warmly received me.
 
In 2020, on the 50th Anniversary of Ichthus, Robert Danielson, the Manager of Special Collections and Scholarly Communication at Asbury Theological Seminary wrote an article on the festival for the 50th year (1970-2020) celebration of its founding. You can read it here:
https://place.asburyseminary.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2500&context=asburyjournal
 
THE LOST FILM…PART OF THE JESUS MOVEMENT
There is one more part of the story that is personal. Although I had no training in filmmaking, nor did I have any funding, I decided, as an Asbury Seminary student in 1971, back when recordings were done with film as opposed to being digital, to make a short 17 minute film that could be shown in youth groups across America to carry the message of Ichthus. It was done on a shoestring budget – that means tiny – that I had raised.
 
Years passed. We all went on to other things. For many decades, the film was lost. No one knew what happened to the copies. However, in 2020, Robert Danielson found a copy and digitized it. After five decades, it could be viewed once again.
 
A GLIMPSE BACK INTO THE JESUS MOVEMENT.
You can now watch that film, my feeble attempt to capture some of the 1971 Ichthus Festival. Watch the 17 minute film by clicking here: https://www.wellversedworld.org/ichthus-festival-asbury  and then going to the “Ichthus Jesus Festival,” and click on “One Way, Jesus Way.” Warning: The clothing, hair, and music styles, along with the  “groovy” language, are distinctly 1970s, riding on the crest of the Jesus Movement.
 
MIKE PENCE – THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Now back to Mike Pence. Allow me to take you to July of 2017, just six years ago. Mike Pence had become the Vice President. A group of 35 or 40 of us – mainly pastors – became part of the Faith Advisory Board during the Trump candidacy, and later during Trump’s presidency. In one of our trips to the White House, we were invited to meet with President Donald Trump. We were standing in position in the Oval Office, waiting for the official White House photographer to take our picture.
I was fumbling with my phone/camera, so wanting a picture to be taken, knowing that the official photographs can take weeks to arrive in the mail. Vice President Pence was standing right in front of us, facing us. He must have read my mind, because suddenly, with no words, he stepped forward, took my phone from my hand, stepped back, took the picture, and calmly, again without speaking a single word, handed my phone back to me. I was taken back by his act of deferential kindness. Above, you can see the picture he took.
 
As I told people about this experience, I would often say, “I may be the only person in history whose picture with the President was taken by the Vice President.” However, once upon telling this story, someone said to me, “Well, if I am not mistaken, that happened to Pastor John Hagee as well.” Okay, maybe there were two of us. Or maybe there were many. But I so appreciated that quiet act of photographic kindness, which gives you a glimpse of the man.
 
I have no idea about his candidacy for president. That has nothing to do with this article. However, I surely do praise God for a life surrendered to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, who has demonstrated great moral integrity. Thank God he came to Ichthus, and found the King of kings.
Blessings,
Dr. Jim Garlow
CEO/Founder
Well Versed

Rosemary Schindler Garlow
Co-Founder
Well Versed
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