Monday, April 4, 2016

The Prison Letters of a Demoniac

How you know the kind of ground the Seed from the Sower fell on is known by the fruit it produces. In other words, if you hear the Word and feel compelled to—and in fact do—share it, your heart is good ground:
“But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.”

To Matthew 25:36 Ministries, Angel Juarez, a 39-year old who has been in prison since 2007, wrote that he wants a penpal to “help guide, counsel, and direct me in the ways of the Lord. I would love to have a stronger Christian based foundation so that my faith becomes resolute and unwavering.”

This letter is my first response:

A while back, I wrote a prison ministry group for addresses of inmates seeking Christ, in order to write them:
I'd like to volunteer to minister to and otherwise instruct inmates in the Word. I am a life-long Christian, with a family history of church-foundings throughout the Midwest; I know I have much to offer the incarcerated, whose plight I can relate to quite well. 
My username is theoknock. There you may peruse my notes to get a feel for my level of knowledge, as well as my ability to convey it to others. For even better, visit my blog.
I don't know how many inmates you have available for correspondence; but, I'll take on as many as you are comfortable giving. I'll serve each and every one of them promptly and with due justice, having much time and even more inclination to do so. 
Please get back to me as soon as you can; not only am I eager to serve God in this respect, but, as the Scripture says, “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out...[f]or our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here." 
That meaning, of course, that time is of the essence.
Today, I received the following response:

Thank you for volunteering to write to an inmate(s). You will find prison ministry to be incredibly rewarding!! (Please see our Website and Facebook page - Links listed below). 
Thank you for volunteering to work to several inmates. Inmates have a lot of time on their hands so writing to them can be very time consuming. Do you want to start with 5 and see how it goes?
Very much want to seeing how it goes, I've authored the following four letters so far (not including the one above):

Letter to Timothy Ross
Timothy Ross, a 27-year old prisoner, having been incarcerated since age 17 [release date: January 3, 2018], wrote this to Matthew 25:36 Ministries:
I’m going through some trying times and I feel as if God has given up on me. I pray night and day. I pray so hard that I cry. But I feel as if my prayers are a waste of time. I feel alone and broken and ask God to take the anguish.
This letter is my response, having taken on his concerns as my own:

Letter to Jose Andrade
About Jose, Matthew 25:36 Ministries wrote:
A 24-year old who has been in prison since 2010. He wrote, “I made a lot of bad decisions that I hope are behind me. Though I’m unfamiliar with the Bible, I still pick it up for guidance on a daily basis. I hope through your penpal service I could find someone who could give me a better understanding and deeper knowledge of the Word.”
Following is my first letter to Jose: 

Letter to Jordan Lopez
About Jordan, Matthew 25:36 Ministries wrote:
A 39-year old who has been in prison since 2007. He wants a penpal to “help guide, counsel, and direct me in the ways of the Lord.” He wrote, “I would love to have a stronger Christian based foundation so that my faith becomes resolute and unwavering.” Let’s disciple him!
Here, then, is my first letter to Jordan:

Letter to Joshua Huerta
About Joshua, Matthew 25:36 Ministries wrote:
A 27-year old who has been in prison since 2011. When he first wrote he was in Pelican Bay State Prison in California. Due to prison overcrowding in California, he got transferred to a prison in Mississippi which is very far from his family. He wrote, “I’m a bit confused about religion because there are so many. Like many Mexican families, I was brought up Catholic. But I’m in a point in my life where I have questions and want to learn about Jesus Christ. I have over 5 years left in my sentence and I want to be in a good state of mind with God in my life.” Let’s show him how to have a personal relationship with Jesus!
My first letter to Joshua goes something like this: 

Coming up...
Two more letters are on the way; plus, details regarding recent, positive results from my charity to evictees...

More on how to make saying, "Grace," at the dinner table more of something God can appreciate:

Saying, "Grace," and doing it are two different things, God appreciating the latter more than the former

Evictees charity...
More later about my now-and-finally-successful charity to would-be evictees in Santa Clara County...
After having found a way out of eviction, I attempted to explain how the suit has evolved into another kind, one that is much easier to litigate than the former

Feeding America...
Spare change goes to:
Spare change goes to the hungry, wherever Coinstar is installed