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475 | I’m Thankful

November 26, 2017 Sunday, 9:00 p.m. Letter #475: I’m Thankful   Dear Family, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a blessed day filled with many grateful memories of all God has done for you. I sure did! The prison typically makes some sort of effort to make Thanksgiving special. Since it is largely thought of as a food-centric holiday (ah, …

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474 | Freely I’ve Received; Freely Give

November 19, 2017 Sunday, 5:00 p.m. Letter #474: Freely I’ve Received; Freely Give   Dear Family, I met a young man named Dan in my Bakersfield College classes, a smallish fellow with a big bushy brown beard, more yard gnome than lumberjack. The nicest guy, Dan is the quiet, studious type with a ready smile, a face full of blue …

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473 | Prisoners of War

November 12, 2017 Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Letter #473: Prisoners of War   Dear Family, Not much stays secret at any prison, and I’ve found that the smaller the institution, the quicker the rumors and information flies around. With movement restricted from dorm to dorm, the latest gossip can either be had in the chow hall during mealtimes or in the …

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472 | Tracey and Me

November 5, 2017 Sunday, 11:00 p.m. Letter #472: Tracey and Me   Dear Family, You may have heard the phrase “Honor among thieves” to describe how even seemingly immoral persons have a certain code of conduct or standard of decency they uphold among themselves. Gangs won’t graffiti tag a church, corrupt officers who keep seized property for themselves return every …

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471 | Unsure Moves

October 29, 2017 Sunday, 2:00 p.m. Letter #471: Unsure Moves   Dear Family, When to move? When to stay put? These questions are perpetually on the mind of anyone within the prison system. No matter where you are housed, you are fairly confident that there is a greener pasture someplace, somewhere. And, most likely, you’ve been there before, so you …

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470 | A Stoney Heart Melts

October 22, 2017 Sunday, 4:30 p.m. Letter #470: A Stoney Heart Melts   Dear Family, Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about winning the election for “Dorm Rep” in a tense and uncomfortable situation where my opponent called me names behind my back and participated in instigating and stirring up extremely violent threats against me. (Read letter.) As I …

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469 | Marriages in Crisis

October 15, 2017 Sunday, 2:30 p.m. Letter #469: Marriages in Crisis   Dear Family, Let me describe for you, if I may, an all-too-common occurrence in my life these days. Let me show you a glimpse of dorm living in all its lack-of-privacy moments, as God chooses to use my brokenness to touch the lives of the men around me. …

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468 | Go-Givers Sell More

October 8, 2017 Sunday, 7:00 p.m. Letter #468: Go-Givers Sell More   Dear Family, Yesterday marked two milestones in my prison journey at this facility. One is that I’ve now been at this Level 2 dorm-style prison for exactly a year-and-a-half. The second milestone? After serving as part of the church leadership nearly the entire time I’ve been here, I …

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467 | Integrity Has My Vote

October 1, 2017 Sunday, 4:00 p.m. Letter #467: Integrity Has My Vote   Dear Family, Each of the eight dorms at this facility house up to 88 men, and each dorm elects one man from their dorm to represent them to the staff, interfacing on issues of importance to the dorm. Since our current “Dorm Rep” is leaving to go …

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466 | My Shower Wears Cover-up Makeup

February 5, 2017 Sunday, 9:00 p.m. Letter #466: My Shower Wears Cover-up Makeup   Dear Family, Every so often, prisons get audited, a check-up from the Powers That Be to make sure that everything is running smoothly, that we are being treated ethically, and that the prison is keeping up with all contractual and regulatory obligations regarding the housing of …