Dear Supporters of PiFO,
Just imagine that you have made one of the biggest mistakes in your life. This mistake also happens to be a crime and you are now paying the price – the consequences of your action. You deserve to be in prison for the crime you committed. The judge was only confirming the reservation that you made.
Lives have been forever altered. Victims have suffered. Your children, your parents, your wife are also unintended victims. Darkness is everywhere you look. Depression is rampant. Isolation is oppressing.
Several years later, you hear about an opportunity to attend a college in prison that will offer you a fully accredited college degree. You understand this degree will also provide a biblical point of view in each and every class offered. You apply to attend. You wait.
Then you receive word that your application has been accepted! There is hope for redemption and restoration! You see the hand of God providing a way for you. A way that far exceeds any expectations you could imagine. Your family has something to be proud about. Family visits are now more meaningful and joyous than ever. Your children, or mom or dad, can say “my loved one may be in prison, but he is also in college. When he gets out, he will have a college degree!”
You begin classes that are being taught by caring and motivating professors. You have chapel every week where your fellow 24 classmates share the Word, the worship and pray with each other. You begin to pray for other men in prison. You pray for the corrections staff that you come into contact with. You sense a transformation occurring, not only in you but also in others.
Then COVID strikes. There is a lockdown. Who would have thought there ever could be a “lockdown” in prison? But there is. And the sense of isolation returns.
What you miss most is the lack of chapel. The fellowship and the camaraderie. It shows on your face. Your body language is telling. Then someone, a corrections person, approaches you and says something.
He says that he has noticed a change in you and in your classmates since classes began at the prison. He sees that a spirit of love is being fostered by you and your classmates. He encourages you to gather in the yard with your classmates. To worship, to read the Word and to pray with each other. To experience chapel anew.
His encouragement prompts you to remember Hebrews 10:25…“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” You begin to have chapel again. Not an organized one, but an organic one. And you realize that you and your classmates are making a difference. Not only to each other, but also to staff in the prison.
Hope and joy come back into your life. COVID has lost its grip. You are meeting again and encouraging each other.