November 7, 2001
The other day I received some great news, and so I want to share it in
my journal. It's always encouraging to get a good report from a far country or from somewheres else in the USA.
Anyhow, my friend Debbie Carver of "Our Father's Persistent Love Ministry"
in Oakhurst, New Jersey, sent me a copy of an e-mail she received form another Christian, Paul Morgan. Paul and his wife live
in Scotland, and they have a ministry outreach to troubled youth, as well as a prison ministry.
Brother Morgan said that he and his wife have been showing both videos
(THE CHOICE IS YOURS and SON OF SAM TO SON OF HOPE) to young offenders, whom he said were beween the ages of 16 to 21 years
The Morgans have been getting some good responses from these youth. They're
learning about "God and His Love" for even the worst of sinners (That's me!).
Sadly many of the churches in Scotland are almost empty. Religion and tradition
have long since quenched so much of the Holy Spirit's power.
As expected, Scotland's youth, like many kinds throughout Europe, have
been seduced by the gods of materialism and/or the occult. Today most of them probably know more about Harry Potter than they
do about Jesus Christ.
Not surprisingly, the deepest spiritual needs of these kids have not been
met. Witchcraft and drugs, sexual promiscuity and suicide take down so many. But I know that Jesus Christ loves the people
of Scotland. I pray dearly that a genuine spiritual revival sweeps through this land.
November 8, 2001
These days, it seems, the reports about "spiritual victories" are few and
far between. There seem to be longer and larger valleys between each mountain peak. Yesterday, however, I shared some good
news from Scotland. Now I want to share a good report from the State of South Dakota.
I serve a faithful God who answers my prayers and the prayers other Christians
say on my behalf.
For a number of years I have been making intercessory prayers for Native
Americans and those who are living on Indian reservations, more than any other group of people, even more that I pray for
my fellow Jews and for Israel. This is what God has led me to do.
So I was thrilled at the news I just got that a church on the Rosebud Indian
reservation in Rosebud, South Dakota, is planning an evangelistic outreach. They said they'll be using "The Choice is Yours"
video as well as a written message I've alread prepared.
None of this was my idea. Someone from the church made the decision to
do this--I believe the Lord put this in their heart--and they wrote to me first.
I do pray in Jesus' name that my testimony will encourage many Native Americans
to place their faith in Christ. With another brutal winter coming to the plains of South Dakota, the gospel message of forgiveness
for one's sins and the promise of a new life in Christ is, I know, the only thing that can bring them real and lasting hope.
For many who live on the Rosebud Reservation, the long winter season often
means death from alcohol or other drugs, suicide and despair. These evil things stalk the reservation like plagues.
November 13, 2001
As I was sitting in my cell this morning I sensed the Lord prompting me
to go to the prison's recreation yard. So for about an hour I went outdoors into the chilly but sunny weather.
And when I got outside I knew it really was the Lord leading me. because
just as soon as I walked out the door and entered the yard, an older black inmate approached me and asked for prayer.
Simon is a Vietnam veteran who said he was thinking of becoming a Christian.
He told me he has been reading his Bible every night. I know that, for the several months he's been here, I've seen him going
to the chapel service every Sunday morning.
Simon has cancer that's in remission. He told me he has to go to an "outside"
hospital once per month for treatments. He's got a documented case of "Agent Orange" poisoning, and told me how much he misses
I shared the plan of salvation with him, and I encouraged Simon to accept
Christ right now. But he was hesitant and said he was still "wrestling with issures," and that he felt he was just not ready
We spent about twenty minutes walking around and talking. Then he said
he had to leave to go smoke some cigarettes. But it was a very spiritually productive time, and I was glad to be with him.
November 14, 2001
I went to the outside recreation yard again this morning to walk around
and get some fresh air. My cellblock is going through another cycle of wildness. So it was good to step away from such an
environment, at least for an hour or two.
However, just like yesterday, another inmate walked up to me to ask for
prayer. He said he needed someone to talk to.
This time it was a young man, John, who's about 25 years old. I could see
he was depressed and angry. John told me that his mother passed away the previous week as a result of a car accident. We prayed
together and then he and I spent about 20-25 minutes walking and talking.
I tried to encourage John not to give up on life or be filled with excessive
despair. I told him there's nothing he could do to change what happened. I know he feels guilty not being home for his mother
and for, he believes, not being a good son. I experienced similar regrets at the way I treated my parents, which haunted me
for many years.
Unfortunately, John cannot read or write very well. Usually I would give
a man in his situation some Bible verses to read for comfort. However his reading level is so low, that not even a children's
Bible would help him.
But he did tell me that he prays to Jesus each day. Yet he was hurting
and he needed a touch from the Lord. I know that God will help John to deal with his grief and loss.
November 16, 2001
This month seems to be my time to psss through an assortment of different
trials and tests of my faith. The devil would love to bring forth spiritual opposition to hinder and hurt me and wear me out.
Satan tried to attack my health but he failed. He also tried to get another
prisoner to discourage me, and go out his way to annoy and provoke me. But this to met with failure. For I stood my ground
by faith and refused to give into anger or fighting.
These attacks and challenges only serve to affirm my need to always have
Jesus as the Lord of my life. God is good all the time! To Him I am but a helpless child who would be ravaged by the enemy's
forces if not for God having His loving arms around me. He's even put His angels in charge of my life to keep me from harm
Even today I was blessed. This afternoon I went to the outside recreation
yard and found three other Christian inmates. Apparently we were each drawn out of our respective cellblocks in search of
So all four of us gathered around a picnic table along the yard's perimeter.
We each prayed and took turns reading from our Bibles, and we encouraged each other to press on and continue to be faithful
All this week I seemed to have been at a spiritual low point. This as it
turned out, I was the one who really needed spiritual encouragement the most. Today I needed a touch from the Lord and I got
November 20, 2001
Today I was very happy to hear from a friend in Detroit, Michigan, who
hadn't written in awhile. She sent a long letter telling me what has been going on in her life, and that they're still with
This woman became a Christian on December 4, 2000 and it's been almost
one year since she experienced her new birth. Right now she's doing very well, and I'm happy for her. I've been praying for
her often, and I thank God for the great and mighty deliverance He's worked in her life. God broke the deadly chains of alcohol
In addition, in the past month I've begun to correspond with a young man
from a small Michigan town. He too is a Christian, having been saved and delivered from many years of involvement in Satanism,
and from bouts of depression and suicide attempts.
He told me that a number of his friends ended up dying young, some by their
own hands. Very sad and tragic. But today he has a new life and he's growing in the faith.
This morning I mailed him a letter, and I'm thankful for the many God-given
opportunities to minister to and encourage people from all walks of life.
All over America many are finding salvation, hope and help in Jesus Christ.
November 22, 2001
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life...
Today is the official Thanksgiving holiday. For me it was a very blessed
day even though, as a Christian, every day is a time for Thanksgiving.
I arose early in the morning to say my prayers. Then I sat silently before
the Lord in the darkness of my cell. It was a time to enjoy the quiet.
One thing about prison is that it's a noisy place. From the 6:30 A.M. "wake
up" bell to the 11 P.M. "lock in" time, a prisoner's day is a long one. The cellblock is not a place where one will find peace
and quient. Rather these things must be found within oneself.
Anyhow, as I was sitting in the darkness at about 5 o'clock (I usually
don't get up this early all the time), I began to think about all the goodness and mercy the Lord has bestowed upon me, a
man so undeserving.
Today, looking back over more than half a lifetime in prison, I can say
with confidence that God has been more than faithful. His grace has been sufficient for every situation tha tI've had to face.
I know, too, that I have failed my Savior so many times. Yet He's still
been there for me, holding me steady, guiding my steps. And yes, even chastening me when necessary. But in the end I can say
in full assurance that everything in my life has worked out for good.
In my heart I know that I am a better person today. And God gets all the
glory. For it is Christ who has changed my heart and it is what He has done that really counts.
November 23, 2001
I want to share a little more about yesterday's blessings and how the Lord
has me in the palms of His hands.
Yesterday, my Christian brother, Jess, came to visit me. We had a good
time, and I'm, thankful we were able to spend the holiday together. He left at 3 P.M. when the visiting room closed.
Then later in the evening, being that yesterday was Thanksgiving, several
other Christians and I were able to get together for a special meal. We all pitched in some food and two men, Larry and Raymond, did the cooking. We prisoners don't have a kitchen or stove in the cellblock.
However these guys know how to work wonders in the little water heaters we're allowed to purchase from the commissary.
These heaters (called "hot pots") are for boiling a few cups of water at
a time. But Larry and Raymond are so adept, they were able to prepare a fine meal of rice and beans with precooked sausage
We enjoyed our meal as well as a good time of fellowship. It really felt
is if we were sitting at someone's kitchen table. Our minds were definitely out of this place.
Plus we had more than enough food to feed some of the other prisoners who
were hungry. This was the best Thqnksgiving I had in a long time.
P.S. But guess who had to wash all the plates, dishes and bowls? Me! But
another brother, Paul, also pitched in.
November 24, 2001
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; Therefore I will hope in Him.
This morning I was reflecting on how much the world has changed since the
September 11th terrorist attack on United States soil.
These attacks have altered the course of many lives across the nation,
and I'm not only referring to those who lost a loved one as the result of them.
Many people, myself included, will never be the same.
In fact, just the other day I was reminded of my own personal significance
regarding the date of September 11th. For it was on this date in 1998, that the Lord impressed it upon my heart to begin this
I had forgotten all about the beginnings of this work, however sporadic
and irregular my writings had been during the first few years. I seldom if ever re-read my own writings.
But it was on this date, after spending time in prayer on the eve of the
Rosh Hashanah holiday those several days ago that I was moved by the Holy Spirit to make my first journal entry.
Back then, and still today, I felt an urgency to write, to communicate
as best I could, certain things on paper--not for my own benefit--but to hopefully do my part as a Christian to encourage
others as they go through life's struggles.
It has been my desire to honor Jesus Christ by showing the world that what
He has done for me, He will do for anyone. For God is no respecter of persons.
I've wanted "God is Love" to be the main theme of this journal. That He
is a being of love, mercy, hope and help for all people.
Furthermore, that He is a God of Justice who has, in His infinite wisdom,
set a limit to the number of days mankind is to rule and manage this planet. For God does have a set time known only to Him
for the culmination of all things that pertain to this present world system.
That judgment will follow the end of this age, and that a new heaven and
a new earth are promised to those who have repented of their sins and have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.
So with these scriptural truths in mind, I sense as always the urgency
of the times. And with events such as the September 11th terrorist attacks and all that has happened since then,. to me these
have not only been 'wake up calls", but also something of markers and warnings posted along life's highway that the "end of
the age" and the return of Jesus Christ are getting closer.
Hence I found it ironic and startling when a friend from out west wrote
to remind me that on a previous September 11th this journal began.
Perhaps even this journal, then, has something prophetic in it? God only
November 25, 2001
O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
I want to share this in my journal today. It's about a wonderful miracle,
and maybe this will encourage someone else.
The previous morning I went to the recreation yard to call my friends.
(I'll call them Ron and Barbara, not their real names.) I call them at their home in Georgia about once or twice per month,
and they're some of my dearest friends who've been a blessing to my life. We have shared so much over the years, the trials
and tribulations we've each had to face, as well as the many victories.
Anyhow, when I called, Ron picked up the phone and told me the news that
Barbara had been stricken with an anuerism in her brain. This had happened about a week before my call. So I had no idea this
Barbara was rushed to the hospital and she could have died. Had this happened,
I would have been devastated. However, she was out of the hospital within a week and came home, ironically, on Thanksgiving
When I spoke to Barbara, she told me that the ambulance technician who
rode to the hospital with her was a Christian, and that he was praying for her out loud. She told me she felt such a warmth
and a feeling of peace.
So I just thanked the Lord for this miracle and for giving Barbara more
time on this earth. She'll be fine.
Meanwhile, Ron, Barbara, and I, were all able to pray together over the
phone before it was time for me to hang up. Jeusus Christ is still healing lives!
November 27, 2001
There has been a spirit of violence in this place of late. This past week
or so one inmate from my cellblock got clunked in the head with a large rock during a fight in the outside recreation yard.
He ended up with a big gash on his head and stiches. It could have been worse.
Several days later, this time right in my cellblock, another man got slashed
across the face and was very seriously wounded. Knowing the victim from observation it was probably drug related. Some of
these guys take their habits with them to prison, and so this is the eventual outcome.
Over the years I've seen a lot of violence. Much of it was defensive as
men had to fight off fellow prisoners for one reason or another. However I can say with assurance in my heart that Jesus Christ
reminds me daily to "hang in there" and never to resort to violence to solve my problems. It wasn't until I became a Christan
that I got rid of my shank. (handmade knife).
And as far as my own experiences go, I could have lost my life back in
1977, when another inmate slashed my throat with a razor blade and missed my main artery by a hairbreath.
There were other times, too, when I could tell by the looks in other men's
eyes and by their body postures, that they wanted to take my life and were looking for a way . But God would not allow it.
I'm a survivor. I have endured 25 years of this, and not because of any
special skill or old fashioned good luck. I am alive because the Lord is with me, and I am very thankful for divine protection
in such an environment as this.