Letter from an Inmate – Rec’d August (15), 2008
This is [“Bob”] from DuPage County Jail. I’m [X] years old, [height], [physical description]. I was in [pod] and my number was [XXXXXX]. I was attending your Matthew Video class for several weeks.
I obviously don’t expect that you would specifically remember me out of everyone you meet in jail, but I needed to tell you that you, Justice, and your method of ministry has really made a HUGE impact on me. You helped save me and change my life.
I’ll start with giving you some background information about myself and my past. I was raised in a loving home; both of my parents are still together. Typical family, no major problems. I had straight A’s, received numerous academic awards, and I graduated H.S. early. I even went to college for a little bit. I’ve never done any drugs, etc…I was raised Catholic. I attended church every Sunday; I know most of the traditions and prayers. I never actually read the entire Bible, but I could even quote you several dozen scripture passages!
I know that my background doesn’t spell out CRIMINAL, but something has been really WRONG with me spiritually for a very long time. Although I was going through the motions, my heart was never into the Word. In fact, I despised going to church. Right after I had received the sacrament of Confirmation, my parents gave me the “choice” to attend church. Needless to say… that was the very last time I stepped foot in a service.
As far back as I can remember (Maybe about 8ish) I have been living an immoral life as a liar, thief… and much worse. Without going into too much specifics… I started lying (and I am VERY good at it), stealing baseball cards, candy and porn magazines as a child to armed robberies and… well, let’s just say I’ve broken literally ALL Ten Commandments.
Although I’ve destroyed a LOT of lives, and hurt a lot of people, I really didn’t care. I was selfish. I’ve traveled all over the world. I’ve had nice cars, even made high-roller status in some of the Vegas Casinos. Slept with MANY women, etc… the “Great” life too many people envy. I had it all from a worldly standpoint.
Before this one time I have never even been close to being caught. I’m highly organized. I’m a natural leader. I’m charismatic and have the power to motivate and persuade people to listen and follow me. I have common sense and a great deal of street smarts.
Worst of all (at the time), I felt absolutely NO guilt or remorse. All these “qualities” has made me a pretty good criminal. Considering the fact that I have broken the law literally hundreds of times, had HUGE financial gains, and only got caught 1 time… I guess you might even say that I am “LUCKY” and have had a very successful career. Plus I’m a very hard worker, so it’s never been hard for me to produce quick results. In fact, looking back, I am amazed I am still alive or not serving a natural life sentence. The last 8 years or so have been quite dangerous and destructive.
I’ll turn 30 outside of prison, and that’s where this letter really comes to my need for writing to you. I was facing multiple class “X” felony Armed robbery charges. I was looking at 6-30 years in prison, and serving 85% of my sentence. Even with my great paid attorney, things were looking grim.
My mother asked me to pray and sent me a Bible. I didn’t really pray, and I casually tried to read the Bible, but it was hard. VERY Hard. In fact, it was actually feeling as if something was manually keeping my mind from focusing when I tried to read the Word.
I signed up for several classes, literally just to kill time and get me out of the pod for some additional movement. Yours was obviously one of them.
Well, the Friday night before your class I said a prayer for the first time in many years. I asked selfishly for help (mostly trying to get out of my legal mess). Something like… “If you exist, and really can do ANYTHING, get me out of here!” I knew I needed help, I just didn’t realize what kind. Then that next day, nothing. So I prayed again for help. This time (still selfishly), but more desperate… I asked Jesus for help.
Then I was called to your class just a couple of days later. When I met you and shook your hand I instantly felt good and warm inside. Then you opened up by singing “I Love You Lord” and my heart began to instantly soften and open up. Your methods and speech really hit a real nerve within me. It was you, and your ministry that started my healing process. I asked Jesus for help… and you were the answer to my prayers. Through you Jesus softened and opened my heart that night. He opened my mind and heart!!
I went back to my cell that night and asked Jesus for help. I asked Jesus to save me, heal me, forgive me and give me Wisdom and Strength. Then I repented. I remembered as many sins as I could recall and truly asked for forgiveness. I told Jesus that I did things my way for 28 years, and now it was time to submit and do things God’s way. I felt feelings I haven’t felt as long as I can remember. I actually felt guilt and cried that night. I also was not only able to read the Bible, but I understood and enjoyed it. I read the entire gospel of John before I went to bed that night.
When I woke up the next morning I felt GREAT. I felt a huge burden of relief. I was not stressed and my fear/anxiety was subdued. My heart wasn’t hard either. Whew, what a relief!!! I was in jail and literally not only content, but happy. Much happier that I had been in a LONG while.
Soon after that I received GREAT news about my case. I did a crime, and had to be punished. I accept that. But now I know at least I am forgiven! My dark looking scenario went from a class X Armed Robbery down to a class 1 robbery. That means I only had to do 50% and a minimum sentence. I know that Jesus’ divine mercy helped. He answered my prayers and showed me mercy. Now I can live a full life, filled with honesty and integrity.
If nothing else… I needed to say “Thank You”, and you really have impacted my life. Your ministry and personality that night literally opened the door I needed to find to become saved.
Again… Thank You, Justice!______________________________________
He ends by asking for my aid in helping him grow and mature in Christ and find a way to use his abilities in reparation to help victims of crimes like his.
There really is nothing a jail preacher wants to hear more.
Yeah, I wept. Heaven was rejoicing but I wept.
Crud, does anyone know how to work miracles BETTER than Jesus Christ?!
I think not.