Persecuted Missionary to Montana-Jesse Boyd “Thankful in All Things”


The account you are about to read shares why persecuted missionary to Montana, Jesse Boyd, is thankful in ALL circumstances and even through the evil which brought him and his team harm as they came to share the ‘Good News’ of Jesus Christ a year ago November 12th, in Madison County, MT.  

One year ago, persecuted North Carolina missionary Jesse Boyd posted this from
Bozeman, Montana:

“Despite being far from my wife, two of my children, my local church family, and many
people I know and love in North Carolina this Thanksgiving … I have so much for which
to be thankful.

First and foremost, I am thankful for God’s mercy.

I am the ‘wretch’ that old hymn Amazing Grace talks about. I am thankful for the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His salvation. And, I am thankful for the inspired and preserved Word of God
available to me in a language I can understand. I am thankful for the stranger in the cell
beside of me in the Gallatin County Detention Center who approached me the morning
after I was incarcerated and said, ‘I heard you come in late last night. Are you ok?’ He
was from Southern California and facing far bigger troubles than me, and yet he
showed me great kindness over the next four days and helped me figure out how to
make a phone call.

He ordered things on his canteen account to give to me—some
coffee, a composition tablet in which I could write things down, etc. Most importantly,
he gave me one of his Bibles, a paperback KING JAMES that he wanted me to have
and use as long I was in there. It was very small print, and I didn’t have my reading
glasses. He gave me his extra set of spectacles. I therefore found great comfort reading
God’s Word in my cell as time crawled slower than I have ever experienced. I found
escape and respite in the Book of Isaiah and in Psalm 34, a Psalm another inmate with
big, big problems told me I should meditate upon. I held back tears when Travis, my
new friend who gave me the Bible, was bailed out hours before I was able to leave. I
was locked down in my cell and couldn’t even tell him goodbye. We saluted each other
from far away as he exited the pod. That night, he was back in California. We spoke
about the Gospel and about the LORD much inside that detention center. He was a
friend the LORD gave to me in that very dark place; and he is my friend today.

How can I not be thankful to God?

I’m also thankful for Bill who is facing many felony charges, Jeremy who cut his own
arm off under the influence of drugs, Steve who has two small children, and a few
others who were kind to me even though I never learned their names. Some of these
folks are in a lot of trouble, but they were kind to a preacher. And with all of them, I was
able to give testimony concerning the LORD and the Gospel. Bill didn’t have a Bible, so
I gave him the one given to me upon my departure. He was so thankful and made a
statement to me that I will never forget. He looked me in the eye and said, “From the
day you came in here, I could look at you, look you straight in the eye, and know that
you are genuine.” Christ be praised. That was my desire, to be a witness for Christ in
that place.

For this, I am thankful.

I am thankful for two inmates in the Jefferson County Detention Center who were very
kind to Eric, Nick and Dave. I am so thankful for Melida from Honduras who took my
daughter under her wing in the women’s facility and showed her great kindness. With
these, Eric and Bethany were able to share the Gospel.

I am thankful for these things.

In my despair and despondency when my eyes were too tired and foggy to read any
more from the Scriptures, I am so thankful for the hymns and praises I heard coming
from Carter’s cell on the floor above me. I am thankful for that.

This Thanksgiving, we won’t be with our families, our local church family, or with people
we know and love back in North Carolina. We will be far from home … and yet, we are

Fast forward to the present.

One year later, as this stupid case continues to drag on, a case brought by the State of
Montana against four innocent Christian missionaries for simply defending themselves
in by-the-letter-accordance with Montana law when attacked suddenly and without
provocation by a madman on the side of US Hwy 287 south of Ennis, Jesse Boyd is
still thankful, thankful to God he can spend this Thanksgiving at home with his family
and friends in North Carolina.”

Montana 1st News asked him to comment on the difference a year can make in terms
of being thankful in light of what was done to him and his family in Madison County. We
asked him a simple question: “Can you really look back on this hate crime with
thanksgiving this Thanksgiving?”

This was his answer:

“Absolutely and without an ounce of hesitation, for I serve a sovereign God who takes
what men mean for evil and uses it for good (Genesis 50:20). I serve a good LORD who
works all things together for good “to them that love God, to them who are the called
according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

I am simply amazed by the doors He has opened since this happened. Undeterred, we
continued our long walk across America (#TheLongWalkUSA), and were joined by more
than a hundred people, many of them from Montana, who came out to support us
when we resumed back on May 13th, passing by the very spot where we were
attacked and unjustly arrested by those dirty cops. Van-loads of Christians came from
as far away as North Carolina and Mississippi, and even my old pastor friend from
Nepal showed up with his son. We had walked together around the entire city of
Kathmandu, his hometown, with a big, heavy cross many years ago. What a joy to
have him walk Montana highways with me all these years later. That is spiritual

That is the goodness of God.

Without the hate crime, that glorious weekend never would have happened.
Since that weekend, we have walked a thousand miles from the spot where the hate
crime occurred, a thousand miles, including nearly nine hundred in Montana. And along
those many miles of highway, gravel road, and trail, we have enjoyed nearly 500
Gospel encounters without incident. Strangers have opened their homes to us; folks
have fed us along the way; motorists have pulled over to tell us they are praying for us,
having read about what happened in Madison County; groups have asked us to come
and share testimony at churches, in civic halls, and at cookouts.

Montanans (all complete strangers before any of this happened)—bought us groceries, lodged us,
gave us free haircuts, came out to walk with us, called and complained to the Office of
the Attorney General on our behalf, and even made up information cards about our
case to distribute en masse. We have made many friends for life, good folks we
wouldn’t even know but for the machinations of a domestic terrorist and some crooked
cops. In fact, aside from that fateful day in Madison County, Montana proved to be one
of the friendliest and most fruitful of the 18 states in which we have walked since this
journey began back on March 1, 2021. I was glad when we finally walked out of
Montana a few shorts weeks ago, but I was thankful.

Hallelujah, I am thankful!

Since this happened, countless cards have come in from all over the country thanking
us for our testimony and informing that Christians we don’t even know are praying for
us. Recently, a handwritten note was received from the pastor of a church in Idaho, a
man we have never met. It read, “Dear Jesse, Our church is praying for you, your
family, and your ministry. We pray these false charges will be overturned.” This is one
example of many. Back in January, more than 130 character reference letters were filed
with Montana’s 5th District Court from 33 states and 7 foreign countries, Christians
from all over the world speaking up on our behalf.

All of this is cause for praise and thanksgiving.

Not only has the LORD opened an abundance of doors as a result of this unfortunate
event, but we have also been able to sit back and watch a unique feature of His
judgment against the wicked play out before our very eyes. Psalm 9:16 reads, “The
LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work
of his own hands.” We have seen this happen completely beyond our control and
irrespective of anything we have said or done.

God has exposed them, is exposing them, and I am thankful.

I am thankful for an anonymous whistleblower who released disturbing body-cam
footage in which the attacker confirms our own stories while boasting about attacking
us after he got out of his vehicle “pissed off” and not knowing “what I was going to
do.” This same footage shows Madison County sheriffs deputies mocking us as
Christians and clearly conspiring to have us arrested.
It shows the hate crime for
exactly what it was, and anyone who sees it is able to easily discern what happened.
Those videos have been viewed thousands and thousands of times on various social
media platforms. The truth is out there, and they can’t hide it … all because of a
stranger we will probably never meet; and we shall most likely never even know his/her

Such is the work of the Lord.

I am thankful for the officer who forgot to turn off his body-cam during a very
incriminating eight minutes of conversation. I am thankful that same officer has a
conscience and later complained to a family member that he didn’t want to arrest the
missionaries but that he was “made” to do it by his “superiors.” This family member, in
turn, shared it publicly in a room full of people at a mega-church in Indiana as a matter
of prayer. A visitor who happened to be in the same room that very day knows me
personally. Imagine that, someone related to one of the cops who helped perpetrate this hate crime asking for prayer on our behalf many, many miles away.

Such is the work of the Lord.

I am thankful for an attacker who cannot control himself, his temper, or his mouth. I am
thankful for his neighbors who have spoken up about his antics and psychotic
behavior. What was done to us has been done to others, and the Lord has exposed it.
I’m thankful for a brave young woman from Washington State who was one of his most
recent victims. She had no idea about our story but reached out after a cursory Google
search attempting to discover the identity of the man who had verbally assaulted her,
threatened her, and charged at her like a madman. She happened upon our story and
knew exactly what we had encountered. I am thankful for her willingness to speak up
and give testimony. You can read the article and watch the footage by clicking here.

I am thankful for the journalist who interviewed her (click above) about this
incident; and believe it or not, I am even thankful for our attacker’s unhinged rantings
when this same journalist gave him an opportunity to tell his side of that story. Those
rants later posted to social media were a great gift. As it says in Proverbs 6:2, “Thou art
snared with the words of thy mouth.”

I am thankful for the giant billboard that has been seen all over Montana. I am thankful
for those who paid for that and for those who have driven it many miles across the
nation’s third largest state. I am thankful it was there with us that ‘Restart Weekend’ and
that industrious Montanans rebuilt it after it was nearly destroyed in a cross wind. I’m
thankful is has been parked outside the courthouse during hearings. I’m thankful it
participated in the Bucking Horse Parade in Miles City. I’m thankful it was there with us
in Helena when we walked around the state capitol and the Office of the Montana
Attorney General, seven times each. That billboard is great. To this day, we don’t know
for sure who was behind it.

Such is the work of the Lord.

I’m thankful for a former Madison County Deputy who reached out not long after the
hate crime occurred, encouraging us to stand strong and offering to help expose
unbecoming behavior in that department with which he was very familiar. He has been
a source of much information and insight as we gather evidence for necessary future

I’m thankful for the prosecutor who filed a ‘States Notice of Outstanding Issue’ in this
case back on August 30th. In it, he claims whether or not “draw or present a weapon”
in Montana Statute 45-3-111 means “point a weapon” is “perhaps the single most
important issue in this case.” What does that mean? It’s simple: after an entire year of
motions, counter-motions, hearings, and running interference through online trolls who
have slung a mountain of wild accusations against Christians, not a single one of which
can be made to stick, it all comes down to a technicality, a game of semantics; and
they openly admit it as a matter of court record. This guy is actually asking a district
court judge to rule by fiat from the bench that words cannot mean what English

dictionaries have said they mean for centuries. Take the verb “present” as found in
Montana 45-3-111. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines it thus: “TO POINT A WEAPON,
PARTICULARLY SOME SPECIES OF FIRE-ARMS.” The modern-day Merriam-Websters
English Dictionary defines that same verb “TO AIM, POINT, OR DIRECT (SOMETHING, SUCH AS A WEAPON).”

A prosecutor filed a brief and forgot to use a dictionary.

He admits definitions of words in 45-3-111 are the most important issue in this case,
therefore acknowledging as a matter of court record that our attacker was the
aggressor. If we were the aggressors, 45-3-111 would be entirely moot. I’m genuinely
thankful this brief was filed; for by it, they have exposed themselves.

They are snared in the work of their own hands. Hallelujah!

I’m thankful that same prosecutor filed an interview I did with Montana 1st News as an
official court exhibit, suggesting we be drug into court and threatened with a revocation
of our bond and imprisonment simply because we claimed we would not violate our
conscience before the Lord. I’m thankful for such zealous prosecution. It exposes them
and only confirms what has been clear from the beginning—this was all about the
cross. We were attacked for carrying that cross and arrested for being Christians. Now,
this article, ‘Montana AG puts the Bible, Christianity, and Historic Christian Doctrine on
Trial’ (click here to read it) is before the judge. He’ll read it, and he’ll be
very clear about our position, our Christian convictions, and our defense in this case.

That’s a good thing. Thank you, Mr. Prosecutor.

In a strange way, I’m also thankful for the vile online trolls working with our attacker to
sow lies, slander our characters, and harass our friends and family. After an entire year
of outlandish and ridiculous accusations and libels with no basis whatsoever in reality,
these have utterly failed in their objective to hinder our walk, to hamper our continued
work for the Lord, and to diminish the support for our ministry. Our support has only
grown, and the Lord has met every single one of our financial needs stemming from
this hate crime. The hours and hours and hours of online trolling haven’t even
succeeded to compel one heckler to come out and harass us at any point along the
highway. Not one person has shown up at our home to harass or intimidate my family,
despite online postings in hate groups containing pictures of our home, our mailbox,
and our address.

These trolls have labored to harm us, but they have only helped us.

The worst kind of publicity is no publicity, and thanks to some crazy keyboard God-
haters, more and more Christians have heard about this and have reached out with
their prayers and words of encouragement. I never can remember the chief troll’s
name. I think it’s a Robert Bartles, a Richard Bates … no wait, it’s Ferguson. That’s the
name. Thank you, Mr. Ferguson. I once had a seminary professor who spoke of being
“blameless” as a qualification for leaders in Christian ministry. It was in a class on the
Pastoral Epistles in the New Testament. “Blameless is not sinless,” he explained, “it’s
when people can’t throw accusations at you and make them stick.” After an entire year
of trolling and accusations, neither our attacker nor his buddy, Mr. Ferguson, have been
able to make a single accusation stick. Through these evildoers, the Lord has fulfilled
Philippians 2:15 in us: “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God,
without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine
as lights in the world.” Hallelujah! In true fashion, He has made us rubber and them

All the trollish slander simply bounces off of us and sticks to them” … showing to
the world that the State of Montana’s so-called “victim” is no victim at all. He is a guilty
criminal working with an online pervert from the same town where he went to college to run interference because he knows he is in trouble. Truly, “the LORD is known by the
judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands”
(Psalm 9:16).

So yes, a year later, I can look back at this hate crime with wonder and thanksgiving.

Last year, my 12-year-old son came out to Montana so he could walk a day or two with
his dad before we packed up for the holidays and made the long road trip home to
North Carolina. Evildoers in Madison County ruined that for him and mistreated him
horribly. He was made to kneel in the snow; he had guns drawn upon him; he was
tampered with as a witness; he was mocked on bodycam as “sheltered and slow” and
home-schooled; he was taken back to the business of the man who attacked us and
left unattended and petrified in an unlocked police vehicle for what seemed to him an

He was then turned over to CPS custody until my wife could fly out to
Montana to pick him up. And later, he was completely ghosted from the account as a
witness in the probable cause documents filed by the Madison County Attorney, an
omission that was in clear violation of Montana Law.
Josiah never got to ride with his
dad across the country to get home just in time for Thanksgiving. And yet, a year later,
all that was redeemed. Less than two weeks ago, he flew out to Spokane, Washington
all by himself to walk a day with his dad, his sister, and his brother-in-law. He walked
13 miles in the cold rain and then got to ride back to North Carolina with his dad,
stopping at Crater Lake, the California Redwoods, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the
Grand Canyon along the way. And yes, we got home in time for Thanksgiving. Glory to
God, He redeemed what was stolen from my son a year ago.

Yes, I am thankful.

Since this hate crime occurred, my daughter has married that fine young man, Carter
Phillips, who came to my aid on the side of that highway and suffered for it. He and
Bethany are now serving the Lord together and helping me to finish this walk.

Yes, I am thankful.

My faithful ministry partner, Eric Trent, who also came to my aid and suffered
for it on the side of that Montana highway, just experienced the birth of his third child, a
precious little girl born without complication at home.

Yes, I am thankful.

And by an unexpected turn of Providence, a Christian young man from Madison County has been
courting my niece since this summer, and they are now talking of marriage themselves.
These two are great together, and they never would have met had it not been for a
domestic terrorist and some crooked cops in his home county. Talk about God using
for good what men mean for evil! One day soon, I might actually have kin in Madison
County, Montana.

Yes, I am thankful.

Since this hate crime occurred, my best friend, my dad, suddenly and unexpectedly
went home to be with the Lord. Back in May, he made the long journey out to Montana
to stand with us that ‘Restart Weekend’. He never doubted the Lord would deliver us
from this evil; he simply wanted us to trust God with it and patiently wait upon Him. My
dad carried that conviction to his grave and has now seen the Saviour’s face and the

glorious end of this matter. It’s been hard for my family without him, a tried and true
anchor of support for our family in times of trouble. But, he finished his race well, and
we owe it to him to trust God, believing as he did that the Lord would indeed deliver us according to His promises contained in the Word of God. The Lord gave; the Lord hath taken away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

So yes, I can look back on this hate crime and be thankful this Thanksgiving. I said it a
year ago, and I’ll say it again: I have so much for which to be thankful. First and
foremost, I am thankful for God’s mercy. I am the ‘wretch’ that old hymn Amazing Grace
talks about. I am thankful for the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His salvation. And,
I am thankful for the inspired and preserved Word of God available to me in a language I
can understand.

Even in these dark and troublesome times for America when our rights our trampled,
our liberties are stolen from us, Christian persecution and antisemitism are on the rise,
and our country is sinking like a ship in a hurricane off the coast of Cape Hatteras, the
place where our Long Walk USA began, we all have many things for which we can be
thankful, things none us deserve. This Thanksgiving, perhaps we should simply bow
our heads like Job and lay our hands over our mouths.

We have covered 6,543 miles, 18 states, 223 counties, 3,143 had multiple Gospel encounters and counting…

“Happy Thanksgiving!”

For a catalogue of all the articles, news reports, and interviews concerning this case
going back an entire year, click here.

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