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Can Anything Good Come From...

When Jesus arrived on the scene for ministry, the question was raised if anything good could come out of Nazareth. As a follower of Jesus, I ask the same question, but the narrative is completely different. For the people that read these words, I ask: "Do you believe that anything good can walk ant of prison and succeed in society?”

I was raised in church in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. I accepted Jesus as Lord, in 2008, at twenty- four, while sitting in the county jail. I was sentenced to life in prison in 2009 at twenty-five. In 2017 I got accepted into Columbia International University’s Prison Initiative program. I graduated in 2019 and was given a ministry assignment in Kirkland Correctional’s Infirmary. To be honest, I wasn't happy about where God wanted me to be. We pray all the time for God to use us, but we get upset when the proverbial comfort zone rug is pulled from under our feet.

I prayed and asked God for strength, and for the first week, I put in long hours to learn all that I could. This job can be frustrating, and it definitely makes you step up to different challenges. It also challenges your social skills because some men aren't as willing to accept the help that is offered to them. This makes me think of a young man, who I had the honor of caring for, that I’ll call Daniel.

When I met Daniel, he had the typical prison mean-mug on his face, for the first week of his stay, I couldn’t get two words out of him. Then I saw him reading his Bible one day, and that opened a door. Daniel slowly opened up to me. He got caught up in a situation that left him paralyzed. As our relationship grew, so did our conversations about Jesus. We prayed together and listened to Dr. Tony Evans sermons at night. We also laughed a lot. He also convinced me to watch a few Harry Potter movies with him, which I enjoyed. Daniel left prison in 2022, and we are still connected. I call him all the time and he's doing well. Daniel isn't just a guy I took care of, I consider him to be family.

There have been many times where I've found a corner to weep in. I praise God for my health and how He has protected me in this environment. I've watched many men get better, but I've also seen many men die. I've helped men with cancer, dementia, leukemia, stroke, and the wounds endured through prison violence.

Good things can happen within prison walls. There are slivers of light that make their way through cracks and crevices of the so called "hardened criminal". Once that light appears, darkness has to flee. Working in the infirmary doesn’t make me good, but my life has changed because of Christ and the good work that He has started within me (Philippians 1:6).

Jesus was called by the father out of Egypt (Matthew 1: 15), a place that is known for bondage. The Father is still calling sons, as well as His daughters out of Egypt (SCDC). We can become world changers by the change we make in our place of bondage.

Some may believe it to be pointless, but I've successfully completed programs here in prison even with the current sentence I have. I want to be different, the old man is dead. I believe people should be punished for their actions, but people are redeemable. The nature of a crime can't change, but the individual can. My prayer is for life sentences to be abolished, so the redeemed may have another chance at life.

Society only knows about the bad things that take place within the walls. They don't hear about the tutor who teaches other men to read, or the infirmary workers who work seven days a week for twelve hours each shift. Change doesn't happen overnight, but the prison system definitely needs it. Offenders need the right tools before they exit from behind the walls. They will probably become your neighbor.


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