Dear PiFO Supporter,
As we close this year, I look back in awe on how God has provided for the Paid in Full Oregon/Corban extension in the Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI). God’s provision has been evidenced by your prayers, your financial assistance and His special favor.
There are three cohorts attending college in prison. Each cohort started with 25 men. We have 72 men that are still actively working toward a BS degree emphasizing Psychology, Social Services and Leadership. Their studies will culminate in a fully accredited four-year college degree from Corban University. This is the only four-year college degree program in the entire Oregon Department of Corrections. Also, Oregon is only one of a few states west of the Mississippi River that provides this type of educational opportunity for inmates in prison.
On January 11, 2023, we will have our fourth cohort commencing studies. A total of 97 men in OSCI will be studying for their degree. This number is over 12% of the total population of adults in custody at OSCI. Upon graduation these men will be sent out to other prisons in Oregon to be mentors and counselors to their fellow inmates. The culture of the Oregon prison system will change from the inside out.
I have been including essays from our students over the last year that show how the PiFO/Corban extension has impacted them. Here is another one. It is much different than the others, but very introspective:
“I almost refused to write this letter because I was bitter, and I didn’t want to assume an air of fully comprehending the import and force of my situation. I came to prison with an antidisestablishmentarianism mindset and wanted to dismantle what I deemed the establishment of a corrupt system. Exculpatory evidence was omitted from my indictment and prosecution.
It wasn’t until my acceptance into the Corban University program that God’s path for me became clear; because I wanted to apply years ago but didn’t have the money. I realized that only in the midst of hardships can we truly grow spiritually, and intellectually, because prosperity requires no introspection. I used to joke, saying Jesus must be a convict because inmates only seem to find him in jail or prison and never while free to do as they please.
After I lost the entire inventory of my blissful terrestrial life, I lost all interest in the immortality of my soul, and while atheists may only live for a transient life and not for eternal salvation, I still believed in God-not just men. In here I employ George Orwell’s dystopian outlook from his book, 1984, where he states…’War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength,’ because reality in prison is most inconvenient for me, and the reversal of my own belief-systems are necessary. I slowly found salvation and power in accepting that I am not in control and am entitled to nothing. Yet, I still know I am blessed.
It is God’s will that includes the blessing Corban University provides me, and it reminds me of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina…’God gave the day, God gave the strength. And the day and the strength were consecrated to labor, and that labor was its own reward. For whom the labor? What would be its fruits? These were idle considerations beside the point.’
Thank you, Corban University and Paid in Full Oregon.”
This essay from Christopher was very different from the others. It makes me wonder where a conversation would go over a cup of coffee with him. You can find most of the essays received from our students in the News category on our website at www.paidinfulloregon.org.
As you decide where your year-end giving will go, please consider PiFO and the students that are benefitting from the Corban extension degree program. It is a one-of-kind program that has God’s fingerprints all over it. You will be making an eternal investment in God’s Kingdom.
Executive Director and Founder