March 13, 2008
Thursday, 10:00 p.m.
Letter #6: Settling In
Hi, Loved Ones! I’m having such a blast as part of the CDC penal system family! Well, I’m surviving.
The accommodations are comfortable (thick, padded mattress), the food is better (no strange meats, PB+J often), my roommate is great (easy-going, kind, intelligent, patient, etc.), and God is being great to me by keeping my spirits up.
The part that is the hardest part by far is that I won’t be able to call my family the entire time I’m here at this receiving facility. God was so gracious to allow us to have so much time together while I was in the main jail downtown. I’m cherishing those memories now.
I wasn’t given the opportunity to make a phone call before I left or after I got here. Now, I don’t think I’ll be able to make one at all. 🙁 Well, I’m learning that I just need to make the most of what I do have. As a result, I’m going to make sure I’m writing to you, and I’m going to keep you in my prayers.
I’ll be writing in detail over the next couple of days about my transfer experience, my cellmate, and my life here, but for tonight I’m going to give you some highlights of what I’ve learned in the past couple of days, and then I’ll hit the sack.
The best news so far is that I’ve heard from everyone that my visits will, after all, be contact visits with my visitors! The guidebook says a hug and/or kiss may take place at the beginning and end of the visit, and it says we can hold hands (though I’ve heard this isn’t allowed in some places). From what I’ve read, Michaela WILL be able to visit, but behind glass. Praise God! I’m so grateful, since that was my biggest concern about doing time … I’d rather never be let out of a cell by myself and be able to visit my nieces than to not visit them for 15 years.
The other good news (and an answer to Daddy’s prayer for me) is that not only do all prisons have pianos, but each prisoner is allowed two small appliances. The list includes a fan, radio, CD player, 13” TV, beard trimmer, water heater, guitar, or even a keyboard! I guess I get to pick out a few things from a catalog and mail it to you guys to purchase for me. It will be after I transfer, but wouldn’t that be awesome if I get to practice piano for an hour or more a day for 15 years?!?
I’m prepared, of course, for it never to happen—at least I’ll probably be able to play the one for the prison “band” or church! The Lord knows what I need to be prepared for service when I’m out and for ministry while I’m in, too, so I’m not worried about it.
The bad news is that beginning with this letter, I can’t send sealed correspondence. 🙁 I hope Michaela got the peanut I sent her, though. 🙂
Also, I found out that what I’d feared is true … I’m not allowed to earn money while I’m in here or to be involved in a business at all. This means, of course, that in the middle of my letters home, I’ll have to include my tips to Daddy about UFF. I still have instructions to give him on all the people I’d contacted who were interested in becoming UFF agents. Oh, well, it will just take a bit longer than being all in one list and a bit less convenient.
I need to finish my email blast contact list that was interrupted when I was told to pack up and leave. Please begin sending it out as soon as possible, since I could really use the prayers of my family and friends at this time.
They took away so much of my stuff—all my stamps, my strips of all my newspaper notes, and my toiletries. I was blessed that at least no pictures were taken away from me. I have more than thirty, and the woman wrote down “20,” the supposed maximum amount I’m allowed to have at this facility. Feel free to send one or two, but make sure you have a copy (I know, duh!).
Also, I’ve been told you can send me up to ten stamps at a time. Just be sure you check first before mailing anything. On the other hand, please check on what you are allowed to mail me and do send whatever that is!
Don’t send any packages until we figure out where I’ll be eventually and if I can receive all packages at any time throughout the year or only one every three months. (I’d want to order a keyboard, for example, as soon as possible, and I’d like to save a package for near Christmas.) 🙂 Whatever, though. I’m just blessed to have a family who loves me … so many here don’t. I love you all!