It is always a joy to share a monthly view from my prison cell. The thought that these writings can go around the world is amazing. It is even more amazing, plus it humbles me, to think that anyone would show concern for me after all these years of incarceration. I am so grateful for your kind and loving response, which I believe flows from our God in heaven.
Most often asked question…
“What is your day like?” My days are routine, but that can be healthy. We’re not forced to get out of bed, but must if we want to eat. After breakfast, those who do not work or go to school are free to go back to bed or to the yard. I’m awake by 5 a.m. for an hour of devotion and prayer before breakfast.
With two hundred and forty other prisoners, I live in one of five large buildings on the yard. There are double cells around three sides of the building, except for forty men, who are double bunked on the central dayroom floor. Because of overcrowding, the gym is also filled with men on triple bunks.
There is a one-third mile asphalt track around a grassy yard. This track goes in front of the five buildings, psychiatric units, gym, dining rooms, laundry room, medical clinic, canteen, yard office, chapel, educational and vocational trades. Men exercise by doing bar work, walking, running, playing soccer, baseball, horse shoes, basketball, volleyball, or football. The yard is buzzing with activity.
My Prison Job…
My job is supervised from the building where I live. I am a janitor, but my job title is the “Facility-B Bio-Hazard Janitor.” I was given this job a few months ago because I fit the criteria. I feel privileged to have this job.
The job came with training material and personal instruction. I learned to suit up in a “hazmat” uniform, booties over my shoes, mask, goggles, face shield, hood, and double gloves for my safety. There is a locker in the building where all the supplies are kept for the job, plus a duffel bag filled with equipment for me to grab when I am called to a scene.
My job hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., five days a week, but I am on call at all times in case there is an incident. Bio-Hazard clean-up is necessary after fights, attempted suicides, accidents, medical codes, etc. I feel it is another way to serve mankind, as the Lord gives me the compassion and ability to do it.
My Leisure Time
My days are very busy with a variety of activities. My exercise time includes walking, jogging, push-ups, sit-ups etc. There is always someone eager to join in for a time of exercise and talking. We share about our families, recent events, the Lord, and life in general. Our problems seem smaller than those in the free world.
For the past year and a half, I have been going to college by taking correspondence courses, proctored by the prison’s education department. I am completing my final two courses for a B.S. in Business Management. I came to California in ’67 as a Senior, but I never finished up. Now, I am finishing what I started forty-five years ago. Lord willing, I will be graduating in August. It is such a blessing to finally achieve this goal.
I attend different events in the evenings. We have a Sunday service, which is a time of worship, with the Chaplain sharing a word. The chapel is small, packed full with 90 men, plus others standing outside. On Thursday evenings, I go to the Victim’s Awareness Offender’s Program, where forty men attend a 12-week, 3-phase program where men grow in their awareness of their victim’s pain. Also, I attend a weekly Christian 12-step meeting that focuses on Christ in every step. There are many opportunities for change.
My Prison Ministry
This is my fortieth year in prison, almost thirty-five of that involved in prison ministry. It all started in 1975, when Christ came into my heart. After ministry training, the Lord used me to train other men, teach classes, lead worship, facilitate groups, preach hundreds of sermons, and to go around the world through Abounding Love. The greatest ministry is still one-on-one, man to man.
Never think that the Lord is not using you just because you do not have a stage. The Lord has given you the ability to minister to everyone you meet. As you spend time with God, staying filled with the Spirit, He will flow out of you like rivers of living water to affect the lives of those around you. It may be that you will simply listen to them, or the Lord may have you give them a word. “For it won’t be you doing the talking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”1
If you are not serving the Lord Jesus Christ, this could be your time to make that decision. This website is filled with messages concerning a future and a hope for those who surrender their wills to God. The Lord says, “I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”2 This promise was for the descendants of Israel, Jacob, but can pertain to all mankind, including you. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.”3 Won’t you receive the Lord today?
A Prayer For You ...
Dear Father in Heaven, You know my comings and goings. You know my beginning and my end. You do have a plan for me, and that plan is built upon the Rock, Jesus Christ. I thank you that I have a hope and future because of You. I thank you that I am, through Your will, part of Your divine plan of salvation. Open my heart wider Lord to do Your will and obtain the peace which exceeds all understanding. Amen.
1 Matt. 10:20
2 Jere. 29:11
3 2 Cor. 6:2
Acknowledgement: A special thanks to Sherry for transcribing this months view!