July 22, 2008
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
Letter #46: Skee
Greetings! I just spent a beautiful day outside in God’s creation! No, not the grass/flowers/trees type of creation but the people type. 🙂 My basketball team just played our last game of the season. We needed to win this game to make it to the playoffs. We didn’t.
I tried hard, at least, and I had a good attitude and got great exercise. Because I’m new to the team, I play the least (that’s what I keep telling myself, anyways). However, I still out-rebounded everyone else.
I’m glad the season is over … I dropped both volleyball and softball to be able to spend more time in my cell. Besides church, basketball was the only reason I’d go out to yard—on average, a little less than once per week. The biggest blessing was all the guys I became friends with while playing both organized and pickup games afterward. Some have begun to come to church, and I’ve built bridges to begin inviting others—God is good!
The biggest change around here this week, however, happened Saturday. I was walking out of my building to go visit with my twin brother when my favorite C.O., “Skee” called me back over to the officers’ podium in the center of our dayroom. “Hey, I’m leaving,” he said. “This is my last day, so I won’t be here by the time you return from visiting.”
I was shocked and found out he’ll be working to help build a new part of the prison. I told him I appreciate him and wished him the best. He leaned forward in his seat and said something encouraging: “I know you’re gonna do great here, Christopher. You have a good head on your shoulders, and you have a lot going for you. I just wanted to be sure I said good-bye to you and good luck.”
Praise God! Skee had nicknamed me “Smiley” from Day 1, and he knows I play piano for the church services. Recently, he had called me into his office, and I had an opportunity to share with him that I’m living my life for Christ and I want to do things that please Him. At “chow” time, Skee had even pulled me aside and asked to see what was written on my mug (“God Loves YOU!! Are You Going to Heaven? Don’t Know? Ask Me How!”).
I’m just grateful that God gave me the privilege to share Christ with this “jailer,” even as Paul and Silas had the joy of doing while incarcerated at Philippi (Acts 16:23-34). God used an earthquake to shake the foundations of the prison in Paul’s day, and I’ve found that God is STILL in the business of shaking up prisons today! Skee was disappointed to be leaving, so I have a feeling I’ll be seeing him again someday.
Meanwhile, the “changing of the guard” in my building brought about a very interesting change. My counselor, Kuzmictz (Kooze-mich), who I believe used to be one of the main C.O.s for my building before becoming a part-time counselor, is now taking his old place as 6 a.m.-2 p.m. “Second Watch” C.O., full-time, usually Monday-Friday. Remember, this is the guy who was quite outspoken in his profession of Christ. He is married to a woman who works in the main prison office. I’m excited for what this new turn of events could mean for me in the near future. Thank you for praying!
Please pray for my cellie, Lorenzo. He has completed his sentence for burglary—originally 60 years, after appeals, dropped to a total of 17 years—as of last month. Now, the District Attorney is trying to slap him with a 25-to-Life sentence because Lorenzo escaped just before sentencing 17 years ago. It is an unfair charge, and Lorenzo has finished his time and would like to go home to his family. He is 55 and plans to marry a widow lady—a friend he knew when he was in his 20s. He should be headed back to Los Angeles County within the next several weeks.
Please also pray for me. I’m desiring a closer, deep walk with God, no matter what it takes. I’m spending more time in prayer, in His Word, and in studies, and I’m planning to begin several Bible study courses, plus I’ve been asked to preach on the yard (6-8 guys) soon. However, though daily disciplines of faith are great, and I really am wanting Him more, I just want to have the type of walk with God so many others have had—Moses, David, Paul.
Thank you for lifting me up in prayer. I love you all! Let the Lord be your strength!