Tag Archives: Inmate Articles

The Real Game

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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!

God With Us!

by Melvin K., an inmate at McCormick CI, South Carolina

I just turned 49-years-old and I’ll be here for a while, but I truly thank God for blessing me with all of you who love me and who I truly love. “Be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” – thank you friends and family in Christ for remembering me in your prayers. This is the promise of God that He makes to us!

This is a hard time of year because I lost my wife on Thanksgiving Day 2000. But it is God who Lonelykeeps me strong.  No matter how overwhelming our problem is, we need to have no fear. You are not to let anything dismay us – for God says He will strengthen and protect us! In fact, He
promises that He will never leave us and He will hold us up and make us adequate for ANY situation. Let’s accept this great fact. Hold this verse strongly in our hearts until it sends it’s rugged courage throughout our entire life!

My prayer is that God will bless all the Saints for Thanksgiving, a blessed Christmas, and pour out His blessings on you all for the New Year 2016.

At Play in the Field of the Lord

Father Gordon MacRae, a priest incarcerated in New Hampshire State Prison, has captured the very essence of why God has called us to this ministry.  It is our privilege and responsibility to lead men to the foot of the cross and allow them to meet the Risen Jesus that has the power to change their lives forever.  We encourage you to take the time to read the entire article and the comments below it to see how God used 14 willing men to reach every man in that yard and beyond the prison walls as well.

At Play in the Field of the Lord, by Fr. Gordon MacRae, inmate at New Hampshire State Prison

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!

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Facilities: 4

Inmates in Attendance: 377

Stayed for Gospel: 165

Professions: 10

Gospels Distributed: 439

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