December 8, 2007
Thanks to all of you for your encouraging emails and phone calls after my October prayer letter. As of this writing, my father in Indianapolis is expected to be moved in the next two weeks to a Skilled Nursing Facility, where he will undergo physical and occupational therapy for several weeks. This is pretty close to a miraculous recovery. On November 14, his 75th birthday, he was given a 1 in 10 chance of surviving more than two weeks. On Thanksgiving Day, I spoke with him on the phone, and he sounded quite good. My sister had spoken with the doctor that day, and told me that the doctors now give him a 7 in 10 chance of survival. Since then, he no longer needs morphine, is eating solid food, and seems to be no longer in mortal danger. I spoke with him this past Saturday, and he was complaining about college basketball teams building their programs around only one player rather than having a whole team. In other words, he sounded a lot like himself. Truly the Lord is the Great Physician!
Here in San Diego, things are also getting back to normal after the firestorms. The evacuation here was larger than for Hurricane Katrina, but it was never even very smoky where I live.
At our Wednesday night Bible study at the Miramar Brig, we just finished a study in the Gospel of Mark that I began in September of 2006. For the last several weeks, there have been at least eight men in attendance, and the discussions have been lively. Pray especially for Harold, who is still searching for the truth, and will be leaving Miramar in the next few weeks to serve a life sentence at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Pray also for William, who was released just before Thanksgiving and returned to his home in Kentucky where his non-Christian mother is dying of cancer.
During December, I'm planning studies that compare Old Testament prophecy with New Testament fulfillment regarding the coming of the Messiah. In January, we'll begin a study through the book of Joshua, at least as I've got things planned now.
I would also like to ask your prayers for Javier, who was released from Miramar in January of 2002, but is now incarcerated and awaiting sentencing at the federal prison in downtown San Diego. Javier has pleaded guilty in hopes of getting out in six years, but the judge (at last report) is thinking more like 40 years. Once sentenced, he will be moved to a long-term federal facility. His wife and two children plan to move close to wherever he ends up being incarcerated. I have been corresponding regularly with Javier (only immediate family may visit), and am impressed with his kind and warm letters that sound genuinely repentant.
On an administrative note, beginning in January, Open Door Christian Chaplains, Inc. (ODCCI), the organization that funds this ministry through your donations, will be folded into its parent organization, Re-Entry Prison and Jail Ministry (RPJM). Checks will need to be made out to RPJM, but they will still be sent to the same address in Chula Vista. The two organizations have the same bank account and same federal tax ID number, but they're wanting to make things simpler in the long run by having all the checks made out to RPJM.
Your year-end donations will be greatly appreciated and helpful. The money you give with God's guidance frees me up to spend more time with prisoners and ex-prisoners. Please give as the Lord leads.
I like to take walks around my neighborhood a couple of nights a week. At this time of year, of course, Santas and snowmen start lighting up alongside manger scenes and angels. One house I walk by has Christmas songs (not Christmas carols) playing with a group of snow men that light up differently with each note. This has struck me as not just corny (or even stupid?), but an expensive way to celebrate the season. We Americans waste a lot this time of year.
Jesus came into our dark world and said "I am the Light of the World." May each twinkling light remind us of Him. God became man and dwelt among us, and was rejected by men, beaten by them, and put on a Roman cross to die so that we might live. And may we give God glory for his gift of Salvation, which came at so high a price.