December 18, 2008
Thursday, 7:00 p.m.
Letter #67: I Met Mrs. Kusczmicz!
Season’s greetings! This has gotta be the most stress-free Christmas season I’ve ever had! No holiday traffic, space-hunting in parking lots, endless shopping, parties, events, dinners, productions, or overeating. I don’t have to decide if I’ll be at my parents’ house or her parents’ house this year. It’s just so much simpler this year. And just a bit less festive.
I will miss the home-cooked meals, the singing at malls, the endless Christmas music at home, ice-skating downtown, putting lights on my vehicle, and playing games as a family after Advent devotions, with a fire in the fireplace and a mug of hot chocolate in my hand. But I’ll still get to have my favorite Christmas tradition: listening as Daddy reads the Christmas Story from Luke … I know he’s going to bring his Bible on Christmas Day. 🙂
My desire for each of you is that you’d really cherish the special blessings God gives to us as His children and in our family. Take time to be together—with phones silent and duties set aside—and be grateful for who you get to be with. I’m grateful for each one of you. You all have made an effort to bless me this year, and it’s made being apart so much easier. The Lord has been my strength! Thank you for praying!
Speaking of praying, God answered one of my prayer requests already! On Tuesday, I was able to practice piano/teach voice for two hours while the Buddhists were meeting in the chapel (I was in the chapel library with a keyboard). “Casper” the chapel clerk gave me NO hassles! Thank you for praying! This week, I was able to work with a friend of mine, John, who just joined the choir. He’ll possibly sing in an a cappella group I’m working on too.
On Wednesday, following a four-hour Monday practice, I accompanied the Spanish choir as they performed for a group of 21 prison staff members, including the heads of education, arts, office personnel, and even our new yard captain! On Wednesday morning, I was able to talk to Daddy and Michael to request prayer for the event. Gratefully, for such short notice and only one practice for me, it went very well and was well received.
None of the guys had performance experience, so I’ll be able to work with them on not leaving their audience hanging in awkward silent pauses and the like for next time. One of the highlights for me was the few minutes I was able to spend with the head of “Arts in Corrections,” who is interested in having me teach music/voice here.
As I sat down at the piano, a young woman came up and asked me who I was. She smiled and said: “My husband knows you … C.O. Kusczmicz. He told me you’d be playing today and told me to check it out. He says to tell you hi, and he’s sorry he couldn’t make it here himself.”
I was floored. I was both excited to meet her (I knew she worked somewhere at the prison) and shocked—most guards would never want to introduce their family members to inmates for security reasons. She is just as kind as her husband is, and she is another bearer of Christ. I’m grateful for godly men and women who serve here!
I shared the main Bible Study message on the yard last Friday. I spoke on the need to be a sower of seed without pre-judging the supposed readiness of men’s hearts to hear the Word first—something that is a common practice here. Looking on someone’s outward appearance—tattoos, speech, foul language, or mannerisms—often predisposes the Christian guys here to avoid the most needy guys. I’m planning to head up a Church Retention Team (or something like that) to help welcome and retain the visitors we get in the church and at the yard Bible Study. I’ll keep you updated as the plan progresses.
Please pray that I’ll get caught up on my college studies. Also, I’m working with the English choir(s) to put on a concert for the staff around Martin Luther King’s birthday in January. I’m praying that it will be a great testimony and that it will be a good launching point to host additional concerts on the yard. I’m excited! I led worship on Sunday too. 🙂
I love you all!