October 12, 2012
I have had the privilege of meeting one-on-one with Brad at the brig the past
two Wednesdays. Brad, 30, has already been sentenced to a lengthy time in
jail by civilian authorities, but is awaiting his court martial by the
Navy. When Brad was arrested last March, a Navy chaplain gave him a
Bible. In the seven months since then, Brad has read through that Bible (a
King James Version) almost five times. His experience with church as a
youth was spotty and made little difference in his life.
Now, however, Brad’s understanding of God’s love for him—and Christ’s payment
for his sin—could not be more profound. Brad’s faith is a reminder to me
of how powerful the Word of God is. I am personally well-versed in a half-dozen
methods used by Christians to share the Gospel. But no tool is as
effective as the Bible itself. Brad, of course, has a lot of time on his
hands. Pre-trial prisoners at the brig do not have jobs in the brig, and
they are not allowed to socialize with post-trial prisoners in their
dorms. Thank God that Brad uses his time in productive ways.
Red Tape and the PRO Mentoring Initiative
As I was traveling in the Midwest last month, I told people that the PRO
Initiative had hit some red tape in the County Probation Department. As of
this writing, the tape has gotten much thinner, and it should be breaking any
day now. Please pray with me that the tape will break in the next day or
so, and that we will have our first Post Release Offenders from the California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) by the end of October.
Tom and I are ready to start mentoring, and I have been training Kyle, from my
church, to be a mentor also.
Brig Re-Entry Mentoring Program
In August, I wrote about a new one-on-one mentoring program for men in the
brig. This program is sponsored by the brig’s new re-entry program, not by
the chaplain’s department. I was asked to help recruit mentors, and so far
the 12 mentors I’ve recruited are well-established Christian men. A few of
them are already volunteering in the chaplain’s programs, and a few more are
retired military. We have set November 1 as the target date to get the
program underway, and things are moving along on schedule so far. The
biggest logistic detail to overcome is how to whittle down the 50 or so inmates
who will want a mentor.
Speaking of re-entry, please pray for Zach, who left October 1 for parole in
Iowa (his wife and children are in Alabama); Tom left September 24 for
Pittsburgh; and Matt left in late August to return home to Baltimore.
Bruce and Joe, who have been waiting for over a year for parole residences to
be approved (the Navy has granted parole on the condition of a parole officer
approving the residences) have decided to remain at the brig until their “max
date”, which is next spring, rather than continue the difficult process of
finding a relative’s residence or halfway house that will meet the requirements
parole officers set.
Please continue to pray for Clark, serving life without parole in
Arizona. We’ve been corresponding for just over a year. His last letter to
me showed the first real signs of movement toward faith. Clark has had his
custody level improved, and he will be moving to a new facility soon. Once
the move is complete, I plan to visit him so we can talk about things
Thanks to all of you who continue to affirm this ministry with your
donations. Of the $16,000 in extra donations I have needed to raise before
the end of 2012, all but about $2,000 has been given or pledged. I have
asked everyone on my mailing list to consider giving an extra $25 this
year. If you haven’t considered that yet, please do so now. Please
let me know how the Lord leads you on this.
And a special thanks to all of you who do the difficult work of prayer for me
and for this ministry as it expands. If I haven’t heard from you in a
while, please drop me a note or give me a call and let me know how I can be in
prayer for you.
Sincerely in Christ,