144 | Pressures and Blessings

July 25, 2010
Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Letter #144: Pressures and Blessings


Dear Family,

Greetings! This past week has been quite eventful for me! My awesome parents visited for two days last weekend—a real refreshment for my spirit. It seems that every day is filled with ministry choices, discipleship opportunities, or church. I’m always “on,” being evaluated, watched, and noticed. My testimony of how I handle pressure, praise, or hazing is constantly on my mind. So, a couple of days with my parents was a welcome vacation and a whole bundle of blessings in itself.

I thank God for giving me a positive witness with my fellow line servers. I am usually quiet during work, since the conversation is typically vulgar, shocking, or crass, usually about crime, violence, or women. When I can steer the conversation away, I do, but mostly my non-participation speaks volumes.

Though often teased or bossed around by the other servers, I just focus on doing my best for the Lord, which often entails volunteering for the least-popular parts of the job or staying behind when we’re finished to put all the food pans away or make food trays for the officers.

One guy I work with, Charlie, recently asked me about the church schedule, and I invited him to attend last Wednesday evening’s service with me. He not only enjoyed it, but he’s now applied to take a baptism class in preparation to soon be baptized! He’s been attending the services now, and he and I have spent some time talking one-on-one, as well.

He leaves prison in January, and I know he needs to make some drastic changes in his life before then. He’s in his mid-twenties yet has spent many years in and out (five times!) of jail and prison for burglaries and car theft (over 1,000 cars) due to drug addiction. Please pray that Charlie will grow in faith and choose to deny the flesh and abide in Christ.

Thank you for praying for Freddie. He is really growing in his walk with God. We’ve been consistent in our morning Bible Study together, which usually lasts at least an hour. His wife is pursuing a divorce, and the letter he received which confirmed her desire to do so was devastating to Freddie. We prayed about it, and he’s focusing on being a good husband while he still can. We’re encouraged that his wife, Laura, wants to hear from him, and it appears that she’s receiving much pressure from her father to divorce Freddie. I’m grateful for my mom, who called Laura and offered to bring her to visit Freddie when my parents visit me in the future. She sounded positive about the possibility, praise God!

With my new ability to call any number without a need for a special set-up, I’ve taken the opportunity to re-connect with some special people in my life this past week. Though not everyone wanted to talk to me (yet!), I’m hopeful that God will restore relationships I’ve damaged years ago, to His glory.

I was blessed to re-connect with an old business associate and man of God, Jan, as well as a long-time friend and former employee, Matthew. I received so much from both of them, and I’m grateful to have them on my prayer team now!

Perhaps most significant, however, was my phone call to my brother, David. Most of you know that David and I have not been in contact since he tried to convince detectives of my guilt three and a half years ago, though his testimony didn’t lead to any of my charges or convictions. You may also recall that I reached out to him in December with both a Christmas card and birthday card—both hand-made. I was really kind and gracious in the cards, including fun, brotherly-stuff, but I never received any response.

Last month, my parents said he’d asked for my address, so I waited a month … and still nothing. So, I called him. No answer, so I had Mark let him know I’d be calling. This time, he answered. We had about an eight-minute call that was so bizarre, you would never have guessed by the conversation that we hadn’t been on speaking terms. We were cracking each other up, literally within the first five seconds of the call.

We finally got to some semblance of sincerity before I had to go, and I now plan to stay in contact with him. We have some ground to cover, as neither one of us has been exactly angelic, but I’m hopeful for a full restoration of our relationship soon. Life is too short, and God is too worthy of ALL of me for me to hold back love from anyone! So, thank you for praying for me.

I love you all!