Does Love Actually Work?

Incarcerated at the McNeil Island Corrections Center and seven years into a 10-year sentence, the only consistent thing in my life was the routine of incarceration. Things had gotten so bad; I was housed in the Inmate Management Unit or special confinement. I didn't want anything to do with people offering hope. And I was really uncomfortable around Christians. Violence, anger, hatred, suspicion, lying, drug and alcohol abuse were destroying my life and my soul, but God was working behind the scenes.

One day, while using the prison's religious services to smuggle drugs and contraband, Adventists were giving a Bible study. My fellow drug partners, the other inmates, didn't show up, so I got stuck there for an hour waiting for movement to resume. (Movement throughout a prison is monitored so inmates just have a few minutes to get to their next destination. One must stay put until the next movement.) Because I had drugs on my person, I tried to sit unnoticed in the back. A little lady, named Grandma Arty, came and asked if she could sit with me. I didn't want to refuse because that would have drawn suspicion. And so I sat and talked with her, and she told me about her life, and why she attended prisons. When it was time for movement again, she asked if I would like to come back. I said "Yes, I will be back," but only because I planned to transfer contraband. However, the next opportunities my friends weren't there but Grandma Arty was. Each time she talked to me and listened. Eventually, I asked her why she was so nice to me. Grandma Arty started to tell me about God and the victory he had given her over drug abuse. She told me about Jesus' sacrifice, and a ray of light shined through the darkness. For the first time in my life, I felt loved. It was her testimony that gave me hope.

Things have been amazing since I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior; God has given me a new life. My mother and father were married and baptized into the Adventist Church because they saw a change in me. I have a beautiful wife, and we have been baptized together. Today, I teach Sabbath School and am a member of the Adventist Prison Ministry Fellowship. I am currently going to college and working on a degree in Network Management. I have found a purpose and that is to tell others about His great love.

December 01, 2009 / Feature