Am tot aminat sa pun scrisorile lui Mary-Alice pe blog, sperind ca imi voi face timp sa traduc. Si timpul trece...Stiu ca unii din cititorii mei inteleg engleza. Pentru ei, munca acestei femei si dragostea ei pentru cei pierduti o sa fie incurajatoare. Ea insasi, Mary-Alice a fost odata pierduta...si acum cauta si invata in inchisori pe femeile pierdute si le spune despre dragostea Lui Dumnezeu.
Sa ne rugam pentru ea...
Dear Praying Friends,
Still moving on in Forgiveness. Isn't the celebration this weekend the epitome of forgiveness? We should be the happiest, most joyful people on the planet because of what our Lord has done for us and freely given us.
"Freely given us" reminded the smiling familiar face sitting in the 4th row back. After class, all 5 feet of this petite, head shaved, ball capped, little boy looking inmate came up to me and said in a soft spoken familiar voice, "Don't you remember me? I'm Veronica. You taught me in SHU. You lead me to the Lord there."
"Yes, I remember you, I just couldn't place you. Didn't we talk a while ago in chapel after you got out the last time? Where have you been," I questioned?
"Oh, I got into trouble again and just got out of SHU. I did 8 months there. Would you please ducat me for your class," she pleaded.
"Of course, I'll get right on it. By the way, I am still trying to get into SHU to teach again," I explained.
"Please keep trying, that was the only time there was any relief from the evil in there when you came and brought God's word to us. When you left though, I did start reading he Bible. I read it twice in two years" she remarked as a matter-of-fact.
I was so encouraged by her continuing in the faith and that she was feeding herself the word of God. Our labors are not in vain! God was gracious to let me see His working in Veronica.
I asked Melvenia why Veronica was in SHU so much and she said because of her size. She is always getting taunted and she explodes. "She's a scrapper," Melvenia explained, "She really goes wild when she fights and the other inmates know it. They know it's easy set her up because she also has some mental/emotional problems."
Still no sign of Esperanza keep praying for her safety and to come back to class.
Vanessa was back. Now that she is feeling back to normal emotionally, she is showing her manipulative side. She is trying to get me to bring her things, but I won't fall into that trap. The front and back cover was ripped off her Bible because it was a hard-bound book which is not allowed. She had asked if I could bring her a Bible cover. This week she asked if I brought it and I said, "Vanessa, you know I can't bring you things. Why do you even ask?"
"Well, she whined, "Could you bring me a bag to carry my stuff in?"
"No," I can't.
After she left, Melvenia said she could pick up a bag at hobby craft if she really wanted one. I told Mel to let her know that. Mel said, "She knows, she's just testing you."
Because I do not have the books for class yet. And because Sunday is Easter, I thought it would be good to show the "Jesus" movie. I used the children's version which is 50 minutes shorter and some of the inmates must leave at 7:45 for meds. At the end of the film, two children offer the gift of eternal life to the audience. As the inmates bowed their heads, I saw and heard 9 inmates repeat after these children and receive the gift of eternal life!
After I shut off the movie, I told the class, "If you just received the gift of eternal life, I want you to tell someone. Someone who would be happy to hear the good news. Someone who cares."
I asked the class, "How many of you are 1st time students in Precept?" At least half the class raised their hands. "Well then, I guess I had better introduce myself." and I gave my salvation testimony.
Next I explained the Precept Study Method to the class and what to expect..
I then asked the "old-timers" what difference this class makes in their own life. Timidly hands slowly went up and as the women gave testimony, more and more wanted to share but basically the answer is always the same, in fact, the ladies all started their own testimony with ..."it's just like the lady said before me, it's changing my life"...and it's the same for me...
"If you apply what you learn and not just grab head knowledge...you will never be the same. You encounter your God in these studies first hand!"
I looked to my left and saw the last hand in the air. I knew I hadn't seen this" lady before so I hesitated calling on her because she hadn't done the studies but I acknowledged her and she said with her two front teeth missing, "I am so honored to be here and I am so excited! I have been trying to get in this class since October 2008! I finally made it! This class is the talk of the prison! I finally got off the waiting list and in the class!!!"
Angelica, a fantastic student, raised her hand and said, "I'm getting out in two weeks, maybe I should give up my spot for another on the waiting list."
"I will let you stay, Angelica, and we will add one student since we will only be over for a couple of weeks," I replied happily for her and sad for me. I told her later that I expect her to pursue Precept and become a leader. She would be great! She thanked me for bringing this tool to help grow her up in Christ.
I remember when I was a little girl, my mother would bring out the fine china, silver and crystal glasses. I wanted desperately to set the table because these things were so precious. But my mother didn't think I was ready to handle such things. Finally the holiday came when she said, "MaryAlice, would you like to set the table?"
"Oh, Mama, can I," I cried?
"Yes, I think you're ready, just be careful," she instructed, "remember what I taught you about making it look inviting."
"Yes, Mama, I will and I'll be very careful," I answered with great joy and honor.
Teaching in prison is like that or serving our Lord in any capacity is like that for me. His word is precious. This servant gets to set the table with His truth. He has taught me to handle it carefully. My Lord knows, I was very careful to set the table with His precious word in an inviting way. Isn't it wonderful He leaves the rest up to Himself and not us? We just get to set the table!
Judy is hanging in there since her Release has been denied by the Governor. She has been selected for a special team to help women in prison to cope with prison life. I told her, "Isn't God precious toward you, to bestow this honor on you, during this time of great trial. He is so compassionate toward you, Judy. His timing is perfect. He loves you so much." A few minutes later, after her focus was on the Problem Solver and not the problem, the tears were tears of joy that she is so loved by such a great God."
Gala is being tormented again. I had to warn her to get into class and she didn't like it. She was sitting outside the chapel eating with Galbadon and chatting away.
Galbadon's black eye is healing. She sat up front, looking back at Gala.
Hazel is well from the bladder infection but now has chills just to go to breakfast and dinner. (They stand outside in a long line to get into the cafeteria) Her Blood count is still not normal. She hopes the weather will be warmer next week so she can attend class. Remember she is 70 years old.
Cheauvon needs to be back in class. She has asked for prayer to reconnect with her son. Her husband has run off with him, Robert Jr. She has not heard from her son for over a year now and he is only 9 years old. The authorities can't locate Robert, Sr. Cheauvon will be getting out in 8 months.
He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!
Your fellow servant,
A bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ
Set apart for the Gospel of God