Tim Tebow and a Duck Dynasty star made a surprise visit to a Texas maximum-security prison, which the former NFL-turned-professional baseball player and sports analyst called a "real, authentic, purpose-filled time."
Tebow, who was speaking at a pro-life Care Net banquet in Waco, traveled 40 minutes out of his way to visit a high-security men's prison unit in Gatesville. Tebow made the trip following an inmate's father reaching out to the Tim Tebow Foundation and asked if he would be able to drop by, KWTX reported.
"Honestly it's one of my favorite things to do on this earth," Tebow said after walking out of the prison. "I know it sounds weird, going to a prison, but man I just feel like it's something God put on my heart a long time ago and he said, 'Hey, most of the world forgot about them, but you don't forget.' So I try not to forget. I try to get with them and share with the hope that we have in our faith, to share encouragement...how they matter to me but more importantly how they matter to God."
Duck Dynasty star Jep Robertson drove up from Austin to meet Tebow for the appearance, and the outspoken Christian athlete ended up spending almost five hours at the prison, at one point addressing 250 men.
"So grateful to spend time with my new brothers in Christ at Alfred Hughes Unit and encouraging them in the hope that Jesus brings!" Tebow shared on Instagram.
The Heisman Trophy winner added, "Thank you to the Warden and the entire staff- thank you for opening your doors and letting us love on your boys today!"
At one point, someone asked, "Most of the guys are murderers and sex offenders" in the unit, "What is your message to them?"
The author of "This Is the Day" responded, "I told them about their father in Heaven, what He did for them... how Jesus paved the way and that no matter what our past is, God's love never leaves and He is always with us. We talked and prayed that through a faith in Jesus and His grace, that we could be brothers in Christ."
He explained, "When you step into these cells, you want to tear down any differences."