Tag Archives: Inmate Articles

“…And I’m Even Worse”

by H.C., a federal inmate, current location withheld Thank you very much for the Birthday card. It was almost two or three years ago when you guys pulverized us on the softball field here. Your card could not have come at a better time in my life. I am currently in the SHU, not for disciplinary or anything such as that, I am in what I like to call mental cleansing. I checked in on Wednesday August 14th. See I have come to a point in my life that I realized I need to change my whole process. I have been a white supremacist for the last 13 years. I just really feel in my heart that’s not the right way for me to believe. For the last year, I have noticed that these people “black, Mexican, Jews” that have been my sworn enemies have been the nicest and most helpful people to me. I have just ran that through my mind over and over. I really am tired of being the way I have been and would like to confess to you and God that I wanna change myself and become what God wants me to be. It’s gonna be a long, hard road. The other gang members ain’t gonna like it very much. But I really don’t care. But I would ask that you put me in your prayers. And I welcome any inspiration that I can get. As well as any spiritual guidance. I have and do read GOD’s Word but I have been brain washed pretty good. I have just turned 45, I wanna do the rest of my years for GOD.

A Divine Appointment

We are aware that not every person who supports The Saints Prison Ministry is active in social media, specifically the online gathering place that is Facebook. It is a significant reason our communication strategy includes continuing to print The Insider and send letters along with your receipt.

However, if you are active on Facebook we hope you have “liked” The Saints Prison Ministry page and are following the exploits of our teams through the twice-weekly posts. These posts offer both upcoming scheduled games and the Monday Praise Report, chronicling God’s victories through our weekend events.

Admittedly, no single staff member reads every comment on every post but just recently one almost jumped off the page. Our Facebook administrator posted this on May 10, the Friday before a typical weekend, accompanied by a picture of the three teams involved:

PRAYER WARRIORS!

We are in full “swing” in softball as we have THREE teams heading out tomorrow, to take Living Water to those who thirst for it!

The SE Lady Saints will travel to Emanuel Women’s Facility, the IL Saints visit Kewanee LSRC (Life Skills Re-Entry Center) – a first visit for any Saints team – and the NJ Saints will head to FCI/FPC Fairton.
A busy day indeed! Please pray for traveling mercies, fair weather and health for everyone. Most importantly, please lift up those who will hear the gospel, some for the very first time that God would move among the populations of all 4 facilities and that many would realize they need Jesus!
Thank you for your continued support and prayers!

On May 22nd, a woman named Sarah posted the following comment on our page:
Amazing people! I played May 11th in the Emanuel game and was saved!!

Clicking on the picture of our SE Lady Saints, I found another comment from Sarah, posted the same day:
I played in that game and was saved!! We love y’all!

We had the same questions that each of you probably had as you read this, so our Director did the research. Sarah (last name omitted intentionally) is not a joker, and inmates do not have access to Facebook. Sarah was indeed an inmate at Emmanuel Women’s Facility on May 11th. She did play in the game that day. By her own testimony, God intervened in her life through the testimony and message of our SE Lady Saints team that day. And she was already scheduled to be released in less than 10 days! Our SE Lady Saints play once a month, from May through September. When the schedule was made in February, we didn’t know which month we would visit Emmanuel WF. Sarah had no idea she was going to be released the week of May 13th. But God knew both and orchestrated the timing of His work in Sarah’s life in such a way that our Lady Saints were privileged to be a part of it. He created a Divine Appointment, put it on our calendar, and we’ll see Sarah some day in Glory because of it!

 

 

10 Personal Commandments of a Converted Convict

by Joe K., inmate at Northpoint Training Center, KY

1. You shall glorify the God of all grace for His faithfulness and unfailing love.
2. You shall remember the Lord has blessed you with His abundant provision and His goodness is greater than man can measure.
3. You shall always be humble in heart and maintain an attitude of gratitude.
4. You shall always be happy to help your neighbor bear life’s load.
5. You shall not neglect those in need and try to do friendly deeds for everybody.
6. You shall share your hope and happiness with everyone.
7. You shall look for a rainbow of encouragement to brighten up your day when the dark clouds of disappointment overcast the sky.
8. You shall remain unruffled by unpleasant and painful circumstances.
9. You shall not dwell on critical or discouraging thoughts, and never speak unwholesome words that condemn or curse.
10. You shall wholeheartedly believe and constantly declare – “I am a child of the Creator of the cosmos. Jesus provides me awesome strength and I can do all things through Him. I am well equipped and empowered to overcome any obstacle.”

This is reprinted as written to reflect the mindset of a believer behind prison bars. It is not a paraphrase or interpretation of the 10 Commandments as found in the Old Testament, nor should it be read as anything other than a Christian inmate utilizing a format known to all to share his heart.

Crazy Makes a Difference

Crazy Makes a Difference

Charles S., an inmate at Richland CI, Ohio

 

About seven years ago, I was a drug addict convicted of aggravated burglary and robbery.  I was sentenced to 10 years in prison, some place called Lorain Correctional Institution.

 

I believed I already knew the Lord before I got arrested, but thought I could do it my way.  When I got to Lorain CI, I invited the Lord into my heart for real and began going to religious services there.  It was during this time that they announced a bunch of crazy guys were volunteering to come into the prison to play softball.

 

The team that showed up was called the Saints Prison Ministry.  I went to the game and found it very entertaining.  After the game some of the men began to talk and fellowship with us.  One man in particular spoke with me, so I shared with him that I had no family, and my whole situation up to that time.

 

That man talked with me and shook my hand and took the time to pray with me.  He explained what the Saints Prison Ministry was all about and why they were there.  When we finished that man took my name and number – and he also took a piece of my heart with him!  I have very few people in my life, but he showed me compassion and friendship.

 

Every year on November 16th I receive a birthday card from the Saints Prison Ministry, and I get letters from him.  Words cannot express how uplifting those cards and letters are to me.  I am so thankful for all of you, I appreciate your time and the things you do for people who are forgotten.

 

My only request is that you pray for my son.  I haven’t heard from him in over seven years and it is my prayer that we have the opportunity to bond once again.  I’m praying for you!

The Men Behind the Wall

The Men Behind the Wall

Inmate author unknown

 Some men live for others and make their presence known….some live in seclusion and choose to live alone.  Some men stand for justice and walk inside the law, but of all men the group I’m in, is the men behind the wall.

We’ve given up our freedom, we’ve sacrificed our rights…by day we walk in darkness, and sorrow fills our nights.  We’ve learned to hide the teardrops, but still the teardrops fall.  We cry alone and hope seems gone, for the men behind the wall.

Some have lost their families, most have lost their friends…today will bring more heartache that tomorrow cannot mend.  Where letters are not answered and no one takes the call, we count the cost – how much is lost – for the men behind the wall.

If anyone is righteous, then let him cast the stone…and if you’ve known perfection, you’re sure to die alone. The one man who was perfect was judged in Pilate’s hall, he knows best all our debts, and loves us yet……we men behind the wall.

The Real Game

jay_byline-pic

By Jay Thatcher, NE Regional Director

 

Not long ago my family and I were invited to attend a DeSales University Alumni Celebration, in conjunction with the final Men’s Basketball game of the season.  The Alumni celebration afforded me an opportunity to connect with players I had the privilege of coaching years ago, and I enjoyed catching up with many of them.   But in the main event, although a crowd of 475 encouraged the team right up to the final buzzer, the game ended in a devastating, season-ending loss, 76-67.

Just as the game ended I received a text message from Saints NJ Basketball Coach, Carl Bogan.   You see, while I was enjoying the collegiate game, our missionary-athletes were also on the court at Eastern Correctional Institution, at the southern end of Maryland’s Eastern shore – and they had played two games in the same time frame as the collegiate game I had just watched!

The text message read: We lost both games (60-57) & (62-48), with 336 in attendance and

31 first-time professions of faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!

I had spent the game sitting next to a distinguished gentleman whose son had graduated from the university in 2014, bringing the entire family back for the Alumni festivities.  Right after I received the text message I turned back to my new friend and innocently asked where he was from… and he said, “Maryland”.   I replied, “Wow, I just received a message that our ministry team just lost two basketball games in a prison in your home state of Maryland. But the real game today was our half-time presentation during which one player shared his personal testimony and another player preached the Gospel to over 300 men. 31 men made first-time professions of faith in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior!” The distinguished gentleman’s faced changed immediately, and he said, “What? That is what it is all about! Amen!”

God’s timing is impeccable! God’s Kingdom is at hand and His mission to deliver the lost is the real game. Life becomes overwhelming when we continue to strive for the things that perish, but when God grips our heart with the treasure of being on mission for Him I agree with that Father ……“This is what it is all about, Amen!

Announcements

God’s Got This!

As the impact of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 continues to unfold before our eyes, I keep hearing the same voice in the back of my head.  A former teammate of mine, and a friend to many in the Saints family, offers the same deeply held belief every time the ministry (or he personally) must face a difficult situation… “God’s got this!”

As a child of the King, that is our reality; and those words bring comfort and peace in a plethora of situations.  Yes, this virus is nasty. Yes, we must exercise caution and be part of the solution, not the problem.  Yes, the situation is unprecedented for most of us.  But none of this changes the fact that “God’s got this”.

As I have reminded you of this before, my chief concern as the Director is guiding this ministry as God is leading it; never to force my agenda or ideas, but diligently trying not to lag behind His plans either”.  I am more committed to that than ever, and through this “crisis” I have felt God’s Spirit guiding our staff and Board at every turn.

Recently, the prisons have begun closing their doors to visitors and volunteers.  As news came out that state after state was taking this necessary step, our staff took the initiative to contact the prisons where we had softball games already scheduled.  As a result of taking this action, we were able to shift the opening of our softball season back from April 25th to June 4th.  Will the doors be open by June 4th?  I have no idea.  But clearly the Spirit was leading this decision, as evidenced by this email received from a Recreation Supervisor in IL:

Thank you for reaching out to us to reschedule.  You are the only one that has so far, and I think most are just waiting to see what happens.  Look forward to seeing you guys again sometime this summer”

Or this phone message from a Chaplain in Delaware:

“Thank you for taking the time to call me.  I just assumed we would lose the games because I didn’t think rescheduling would be an option with how busy you guys always are.”

Given the uncertainty of the next few weeks and months, it is important that you know we continue to serve those behind bars as much as we are able.  The other aspects of our ministry (birthday cards, follow up discipleship, fall scheduling, etc.) go on as always.  We have taken necessary steps to be ready for mandatory work-from-home announcements and our Board has reviewed our budget for potential modifications should the current financial uncertainty become a prolonged situation.

As partners with us in reaching men and women behind bars, you may rest assured the Saints Prison Ministry maintains committed to our mission and we value our partnership as much as ever.   For understandable reasons we will have no personal interaction with any of you soon, but there are two things you can do to continue working with us. First, include the inmates we serve in your prayers.  In grim times we all suffer from tunnel vision a little bit, so I’m going to suggest a way to be intentional about this.  Think back over the stories you’ve heard or articles you’ve read and come up with one item: a crusade, a prison name, a Missionary-Athlete’s name, a program like Birthday Cards or the Glove Exchange, maybe even an inmate’s name.  Make that single item the focus of your prayers for the ministry over the next few weeks.  Thank God for His providence and pray for His direction.

Second, if you are able, please make your regular gifts online instead of mailing in a check.  Obviously, we want to make supporting this work as easy as possible; if you are not comfortable online feel free to continue to use the US mail.  But in the interest of caution, the less mail our staff handles at this time the better.  Who knows – you may find you like it!

“God’s got this” – and He has all along.  It is the greatest comfort I can offer you and at the same time the only comfort any of us should need.

Serving Him gladly,

 

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