Category Archives: Summer 2015

Inmate Letters_Summer 2015

I was out in the yard today and sat down next to the ball field on the visitor’s bench – the bench where Saints Prison Ministry players sat when they came to visit us.

When I sat down, I looked up into the heavens and said, “I love you, God”.  (I love this part of my day!)  I asked God “can I do something for you?”  My attention became focused on where I was sitting, where your men would be sitting if they were here.  God was drawing my thoughts to you and your ministry.  How you treat us when you come visit and how you are treated in return – limiting access to the inmates, keeping us locked in our dorms so the Saints players cannot talk to us as they did in previous visits.  So I asked God, “Do you want me to write to the Saints?”  And now, this letter to thank you for the love you have for us criminal inmates.

I am not inviting you back – nothing has changed so you still only see a handful of men – but I want you to know that we still carry you in our hearts and your words still ring in our ears.  Your work is saving many souls and it is appreciated.  May God always be with you – and tell Him you love Him every day.

  •  William S., Ventress CF, Alabama

 I want to show my gratitude and thankfulness for the nice birthday card you sent me.  Just when I was getting ready to give up a beautiful birthday card arrived from the Saints!  I didn’t think anyone loved me or thought about me anymore but you do.  And I care and love you guys too.  Thank you for cheering me up!

  • Raymond G., Rutledge SP, Georgia

 I pray that each and every one of you brothers and sisters are well.  I received your card for my birthday and I just had to write to show my deepest and sincere gratitude because I felt good deep inside my spirit and heart when I got it.  Thank you!

I’ve been keeping up with my prayers and I must admit that, with a bit of patience, I have seen some of those prayers answered!  It was an honor to meet your basketball team when you played at Graterford, and the testimony was very spiritual and alive.  I want you to know that I enjoyed and so did the others.  I love you all, brothers!

  • Justino Z., SCI Coal Township, Pennsylvania

 I’m so happy to hear from you again!  I received your birthday card  a few weeks ago and the message inside was one of the most heartfelt and encouraging I have ever received.  Thank you so much for never forgetting those who have sometimes been abandoned by their own loved ones.  Thank you and all the brothers & sisters at this wonderful ministry for your support.

  • Juan P., Upstate CF, New York

Inmate Letters_Spring 2015

Hello Brothers in Christ!

Thanks for faithfully sending me a card on my birthday.  You all take time out to show us that people still care for and about us.  This ype of love is what keep people like me grounded.  Thanks come from me and all the brothers here at Macon State Prison.  Let me not forget, the card you all send me every year is the first one that I receive and sometimes the ONLY one!  When I am released from prison I will make sure to be one of your many donors for such a great cause.  All of you are inded a Saint to me!

  • Mario A., Macon SP, Georgia

My brothers and sisters at the Saints Prison Ministry

As I begin this letter, I want you guys to know that I am truly blessed – the day I met your team at Greene Correctional Facility in the summer of 2011 changed my life.  Even though your ministry softball team put a beating on us, my blessing began that day because I finally found myself and found out that even thought I am in prison I can still be free, as long as I believe and have faith in our Lord and Savior.  You guys have shown me the light, opened my eyes, and given me the direction to be closer to our maker…God.  Thank you!

Anyway, for the last few years you guys have always remembered my birthday and always remember to send a card when everyone else has forgotten my existence.  But I know my friends at Saints Prison Ministry never forget that I am their brother in Christ who is “lost behind prison walls”.  I am so honored and blessed to have met those brothers in 2011 – because of them I am a new man, changed forever, and a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ!

  • David L., Clinton CF, New York

The beautiful Study Bible you sent me has exceeded all expectations and has become a very valuable tool in further building a fertile relationship with God – thank you!  I also appreciate your referring me to Risk Takers for Christ here in Florida for possible visits or re-entry help when released.  I will write to them as soon as I finish your letter!  I know God will bless you and those who support you, just as surely as I know that the devil will try to tear down and destroy those very same efforts.  I will lift you up in prayer to continued success in doing God’s work.  I thank God for you and for the things you have done to lend assistance at such a dark time inmy life, and in such a very dark place.

  • Kevin R., Wakulla CI, Florida

I would like to thank God for blessing me with another day on this Earth, and thank everybody at the Saints Prison Ministry for the simple fact that you guys thought of me on my birthday.  You made me feel like somebody at my most depressed state because no one I know even called the prison to check on me or see if I was still alive.  Not one person in my family cared, so for some people I never met to take time out from their families or busy schedule is very considerate and a real blessing in my book!  I am at the bottom of the totem pole – out of sight, out of mind seems to be the way it is.

I’m not mad at anyone but myself for jeopardizing my freedom and being taken away from my family.  I believe everything happens for a reason.  I’ve matured in many ways but still feel lost at times.  I consider myself a student because I am willing to learn something every day, even every hour – especially if it is beneficial to my spirit in a positive way.  I’m not pretending to be a Saints because no one is perfect except Jesus, but I am trying to be more like Him.  Thank you again for thinking about me on my birthday and have a blessed day.

  • Antwan H., Augusta SMP, Georgia

 I would like to start off by saying thank you for the birthday card and the letters you have been sending.  Your letters have been very helpful to me because I am a person with no family or relatives that I know of in the state of Pennsylvania.  I feel pretty much alone.  When I receive letters from your ministry I do not feel alone any more.  I also received the Winter edition of the New Creation newsletter with the birthday card and as I read the newsletter I realized I can relate to it.  As I read on I found myself smiling and said “You’re not alone!”  I thank your organization from the heart and I am very thankful for your prayers and hopes.

(Ed. note: the letters he refers to are because Frankie has a Saints pen pal – hint, hint)

  • Frankie R., SCI Frackville, Pennsylvania

Arizona Adventure 2015

Here is a glimpse into the way God used 14 willing men to reach inmates in Arizona in March…

As an inmate at the Federal prison in Tucson, AZ I would like to thank you for your softball team’s visit. It was so heartening to see people from outside these walls doing something that is happy and joyful! I especially appreciate the fact that your players spent time in fellowship with us. I once attended a church choir program and after the pro- gram I returned to the chapel because I had forgotten something. As I entered, I overheard one woman saying she was glad it was over because “she didn’t realize we (in- mates) would be that close, not behind some barrier.” You clearly didn’t care about that! Your visit was a real blessing – a reminder that there is a real world out there, so Thank You!                                     -Theodore H., USP Tucson, Arizona

It was a pleasure to watch The Saints play against our soft- ball team “the devils” (not really – just kidding!). But it is true that we are under the spell of the devil; that is why we ended up here. But thanks to Jesus Christ, who shed His blood on the cross to save us from our sins! I love that “clown” on your team who sat on our side and joked around

I wish I had talked to him. He was just next to me and when we went in the church I was saying to myself that I want to talk to him so he can pray for me and my But I missed that opportunity and I do not know when they are coming back. This reminds me of my feelings toward Christ

I have been putting off things I can do to make Him my own Redeemer. But now here I am! I thank God that He never gave up on me! I know He is talking to me now and saying “see what I told you – but it is okay and I still love you. Just let me come into your heart and I will do the rest for you.” What a gracious, loving Savior! More power to The Saints Prison Ministry, in and out of he prison walls. May the Lord bless and keep you always!         – David S., USP Tucson, Arizona

Frank_Rec Director Wood_Phoenix Phoenix circle Phoenix teams Phoenix teams_4 Phoenix_Kirk

Angels Unaware!

This is the story of two men from different backgrounds that found friendship in prison.  Yucel is originally from Turkey; Darrell is a lifelong Georgian.  Here is their account of God working in their lives, as told to our Director in the prison yard one hot afternoon.

Darrell:  Mine is the story of a young man who was very lost.  I am youngest of seven children and my mother worked all the time to keep us alive.  Consequently, I did what I wanted when I wanted.  I never went to school or church and never learned to spell my own name.  But I did learn a lot about drinking and drugs!

As an adult, I had a wife and a son that I worked hard to take care of, but the drinking and drugging began to take over my life.  What I thought was bringing me happiness was really destroying me and ultimately landed me in prison!

Yucel:  I don’t talk about my past, but I am so very far away from home here in this prison.  I was sure no one cared about me and no one was even concerned about where I am.  I have never been so lonely.  But then I met Darrell.

Darrell: I had lost everything that I thought would make a man happy – all I had left was the hate!  But I was still searching and I began praying and studying.  When I met Yucel, it was like a breath of fresh air or a gift from above.

Yucel:  Darrell didn’t know how to read or write, so even though English is my second language I was able to help him with some things.  It made me feel good to be able to help someone in this way.

Darrell:  Yes, Yucel helped me to fill out my store list and write a letter to my mother.  It was good to have a friend but I didn’t give God much credit for it at the time.

Yucel:  I was just glad to have someone to be friends with.  It is hard to make friends in prison but now I had someone to walk the yard with, someone to workout with, and someone just help me through the tough times.  But it ended too quickly.

Darrell:  I agree.  I was released from prison and had to say goodbye to my new friend.  Once I got out, I stopped praying and went back to looking for answers in the bottom of a bottle.  As it had done the first time around, that lifestyle landed me back in prison in just a short amount of time.

Yucel:  I knew I was going to miss Darrell because he has such a good heart.  I was transferred to Waycross SP and was certain that I would not find another friend like Darrell.

Darrell:  When I went back to prison the second time I was sent to a place far from where I lived – Waycross SP.  No one was coming to see me there and I expected to do my time quietly.  But I was on the yard one day and would you believe it, there he was…my friend from another country!

Yucel:  Yes, we picked up right where we left off, just like old friends always do – walking the yard, lifting weights, and hanging out.  It was great to see my old friend again!

Darrell:  It was refreshing to see an old friend when I was at another low point in my life.  I began reading, studying, and praying again only this time I started to see what I had been missing.  I started to understand that God had a hand in all of this and He will for my life was not to be found in a bottle.

I was released again but this time I kept my nose in God’s Word and continued praying and reading.  I found my happiness in God and didn’t need to go back to drinking.  But make no mistake, sin has consequences!  For a third time I found myself going back to prison.  It is hard to explain but it was a legitimate reason for sending me back.  This time to a prison I had never been to.

Yucel:  And then it was my turn to leave Waycross.  I wasn’t released but I was transferred again, this time to Dodge SP!  I walked in to the cafeteria for lunch one day and there sits my old friend Darrell!  What a blessing to see him in just my second day in my new surroundings.

Darrell:  That’s right – three times in three different prisons God brought us together!  I began wondering if he was really a man from another country or an angel sent by God to keep me straight!

Yucel:  I thank God every day for having us meet; good friends in any life are hard to come by but to have a good friend in prison is an incredible blessing!

Darrell: I would like to leave you with this thought:

I was blind, but now I see; I was lost but now I’m found

God has shown me blessings and He has shown me miracles.

Is he a friend or is he an angel?  Call it what you want

I’m calling him a miracle by the grace of God!

 Yucel:  Amen!

A Life Transformed

Written by David Lee, an inmate at Clinton CF, New York

I was truly blessed the day I met the Saints softball team at Greene Correctional Facility in the summer of 2011.  Even though the team put a beating on us that day on the field, I was blessed to be there because that was the day I finally found freedom!  I found that even though I was in prison, I can still be free as long as I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and have faith in Him.  The Saints showed me the light, opened my eyes, and gave me direction to be closer to our Maker.  Thank you, God!

The Saints have always remembered my birthday, sending a card faithfully every year even when everyone else has forgotten my existence.  They have never forgotten that I am their brother in Christ who is living behind prison walls.  I feel honored and blessed to have met those brothers that day…because of them I am a changed man and I am forever a believer in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Since that day I also achieved my G.E.D. and 38 credits in college.  I achieved an Electrical Trades Certificate and volunteer for the Youth Offender Program, mentoring youthful offenders who are on the wrong path and getting into trouble…but not too serious yet.  I was able to share my experience going down the wrong path and how it landed me behind bars.

I have also met a sweet lady by the name of Norma who is very gentle and caring – she has been a blessing to me.  My life has gotten brighter and better ever since that day in 2011 when I accepted Christ into my life – and I owe it all to the Saints Prison Ministry.  Without them I’d still be searching and trying to find myself.

I expect to be released soon and I want to keep in touch with my Saints brothers and I need everyone to keep me and my friend Norma in your daily prayers.  Now I want to do what the softball players for the Saints do…go around and share the Word of God!

The Bar Has Been Set!

Written by Hugh Dwyer, Missionary-Athlete, New Jersey

The year was 1998.  I remember going to my first practice, I was excited and determined to show the veterans I could play.  It was my first time meeting Dale, Shrop and DC as softball players (we had met previously when I was introduced to the Saints on the basketball court in college) and my first ever meeting of many other teammates, including the gentleman who would become my close friend and roommate on countless Saints crusades, Jeff Marthins.  These were the men I wanted to impress that day.  I had no idea that one afternoon practice I attended for two hours in Moorestown, NJ would turn into so much more.

As the calendar turned to May, practice was over and it was now time to play.  I wish I could recall where we went that first date but being as excited and nervous as I was I am not even sure what state we were in, let alone what facility.  There is no sound quite like the first time you hear the heavy metal gate close behind you!

Throughout my first season I learned a ton – almost all of which did not involve softball.  Our Coach drilled into us the importance of playing well so that we can honor the One we play for and to capture the respect of the men in the yard.  Of course, I was also reminded what my approach should be when I was leading off an inning or how important it is to never make the first or third out at 3rd base.  I also quickly learned being a younger player meant you would be the pinch runner all the time!

The real lessons I learned in that first year and the years following were far more important than leading off an inning or running bases.  The veterans with whom I ministered shared more than ministry – they shared life-altering lessons with me on every trip:

  • Being flexible is the key to prison ministry. God’s plan not ours.
  • Real men pray
  • Real men do cry even in front of other men
  • Being willing is far more important than being skilled
  • Breaking down the walls a person may have is essential to sharing the Good News. Laughter can be one of the best methods of doing this.
  • Your story (testimony) is God’s unique work in your life. It can be the exact story someone needs to hear.  Don’t ever sell your story short.
  • Being single I learned so much from the veterans about being a loving husband and what a true father looks like.

Many years have gone by and the roles have changed.  Now I am one of the veterans and the coach of the New Jersey team.  I miss the men who have come before me and wish they still ministered alongside me.   I cherish the times now when they join us for prayer before we depart for a day of ministry or when they join us for an entire crusade.

They set the standard for being a missionary-athlete; and it now falls on me to ensure the lessons they taught me are passed down to the current missionary-athletes.  They have run the race with faithfulness and now my charge is to run and ensure I pass the baton faithfully as well.

That is all they would ask of me.

Announcements

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Saints Prison Ministry Basketball team is gearing up for 2019 season!  We’ve had the first meeting of the year but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun!  The season begins right after the new year but practices are starting now.  Come out and join the most exciting way possible to share the love of Christ – playing a game you love!

But time is fleeting and paperwork has to be done, so contact Jimmy Cochran now at 770-286-2812 for more information

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