Wednesday, January 2, 2019 -
Today began very discouragingly for me. I woke at 6:30 am to get ready to go to the kitchen/dining hall to find out what my job was. I actually began my job today. At least for today, it was passing out scoops of ketchup to approximately 400-550 men (I’m not sure how many come through our line). I have to be there at 9 am Sunday through Wednesday, when I eat lunch and then sit around for about an hour till chow is served. On Sunday I will be sure to bring something to read! Between 8 am and 9 am, I had to sit in the medical clinic. They wanted me to pee in a cup this morning for reasons unknown.
I came back to the unit, emailed Kathie and read a few chapters in Romans and fell asleep until about 12:45 when “J” woke me so I wouldn’t miss the commissary when they opened at 1 pm. That took another hour. Everything takes an hour in prison because you aren’t allowed to go and come except on 10-minute moves, which happen every hour until 8 pm. I was reading when I came back from the commissary and listening to Sean Hannity when someone knocked on the door and told me the unit team wanted me. They seemed very surprised that there was a request from I Heart Radio for an interview with Tom Roten (The Tom Roten Morning Show), which had told my story a couple of days after I came to prison. I’m not sure if it’s just a local show or syndicated nationally, but I consented. When the Unit Manager seemed rather incredulous that the media wanted to interview a “kidnapper,” I told her my case was nationally known and they should just Google me.
When coming back from chow this evening, “R,” the man who first told me about hearing about my case on the Tom Roten Show (NewsRadio 800 WVHU), told me again the unit counselor is a devout Christian and when he does search about my case, will probably become an advocate. We will see.
After that happened, there was a mail call, and I received four very encouraging and uplifting letters – two from friends, two from people I don’t know. One had been written by a Ukrainian living in Spain, who’d heard about my case on the radio there. So I guess the word is getting out.
This evening, I spent quite a bit of time getting to know one of the believers here in our unit. I believe “C” has already been in prison for eleven years and has nine more to go. He’s the one who gave me toiletries when I first arrived. He’s a gruff sort of fellow, covered with tattoos as most of the men here, and at 46 years old laments that none of his family has anything to do with him anymore. I pressed him to tell me his story, and how he found Christ in prison. He said it was when he was in state prison. His sister had just died of a morphine overdose, and then shortly after, his mother died. He was the last of six children, the product of a rape of his mother, who died at age 79. She had complications from the radiation that had actually cured her cancer. Then, the “Feds” came calling on “C” at the prison, telling him they were going to put him away in federal prison for 15 years to life on a gun violation, 15 years being the mandatory sentence for a felon with prior convictions. All of this happened at pretty much the same time, and the prison guards were afraid “C” would “snap,” even though he showed no signs of being angry, just emotionally at the very bottom. So they put him in the “shoe.” It was there, in isolation that “C” called out to God saying, God, if you are real, then I will serve you the rest of my life. The warden actually made them release “C” in a few days from the shoe, and the chaplain came to see him. The chaplain began to disciple “C,” and when he was moved to Ashland, he was baptized. “C” was illiterate and learned to read. He now loves reading and studying the Bible. He wants to be released so he can go back and tell his family and friends all about Jesus. “They won’t recognize me,” he says. He says he knows everything about any vice or trouble they could be in – he’s done it all, but now he just has a desire to share Jesus with them.
I tried to encourage him. He said he’s at the point where he thinks he can begin teaching the Bible. So please pray for “C,” and that perhaps I will learn why I was to meet him at this point in my life. He’d probably make a great missionary to gang-types out on the street. You never know!