February 1, 2013
Friday, 3:30 p.m.
Letter #262: The Great Defender and Pizza Provider
I just had to write and tell you about some answered prayers! First, thank you for praying for me—God is good to answer your prayers. Thank you also to so many of you who recently wrote to encourage me—I am blessed by your friendship and love.
Remember my neighbor who never had anything nice to say to me, who was getting antagonistic? I decided not to tell any staff member but instead ask God to handle the situation for me. In our super-safe western society, we don’t often feel the need to seek God for His protection from our enemies, so I felt privileged to have what I found to be a legitimate reason to ask for God’s protection. Well, incredibly, my neighbor has not said even one word to me since I wrote about him. He carefully avoids leaving his cell at the same time as me, so we never even cross paths. I’m no Daniel, but I’m living with a lion whose mouth has been shut just the same!
The other remarkable news is that his cellie, who had not said anything to me, either, has not avoided me now. In fact, I went to yard (thanks to a busy schedule, my first time in three months) and we played basketball on opposite teams. I’ve spoken with him twice since, complimenting his skill and reminding him we have a re-match coming up.
And lastly, in other great news, the business class and speech class finally got their pizza party! Our sponsor, Case Manager Aven, approved each of my proposals and got the necessary permission and budget granted. I was given a stack of certificate paper to print the certificates on, and I met up with Aven to get her signature on them this time. She even sent me passes to fill out for each guy and told me she’d be at the party.
Last night, it finally happened—a huge relief to me, since I’ve felt as if these classes are my babies. To get a staff sponsor for an inmate-led class was a first for this institution, and no other inmate-led class has had certificates of completion and a pizza party. A smallish thing outside of prison, to be sure, but massive here. Every few months, we are allowed a “food sale” of outside food vendors. A pizza would take a few months to save up for, and yet the guys last night each got half a pizza (and punch from the kitchen to wash it down). To top it off, everyone got a half-dozen giant cookies. You’d have thought I was announcing early release dates.
Though both of our signatures were on the certificates, I felt it was best for Ms. Aven to present the certificates to the guys. Each one gave a brief acceptance speech thanking us for the class and telling what they learned. As I got up to close out the evening, our Unit Manager, Aven’s boss, walked in. He said some encouraging things before leaving, and I thanked God that he got to see the fruit of allowing good programs to take place in his unit’s multi-purpose room.
I presented Ms. Aven with a thank you card signed by all the guys, then shocked her with a special commendation certificate I’d created for her and also had signed by all. She was grateful, and I couldn’t have been prouder of the guys for treating the evening with a sense of respect. I received a bunch of great comments from the guys, who were mostly impressed I’d delivered on everything I’d promised. I thank God for bringing every detail together, and for always being worthy of my trust. He answers prayers!