Telling my story is still the hardest thing to do, because the wounds remain fresh and painful, but when asked to share my experience at Mountain View, I promptly said, “Yes!” Had it not been for Linda and her “gang” of Discipleship Unlimited volunteers, I firmly believe I would have never experienced the work of God in my life. It is through their ministry that I learned that He is real and truly essential in life.
Until July 2002, I had it all. The “perfect life.” Education. Career. Success. Highly esteemed by my peers. Married to the “perfect man” who I trusted and loved with all my heart. Blessed with precious twin boys. Life was good.
But the enemy was prowling around. When I least expected it, he came to lie, cheat, kill and destroy my “perfect” life. Suddenly, my precious 3-year old sons were left with a dead father and a mother in prison.
Prison life was agonizingly hostile and lonely. But I saw love at work through a prison ministry, Discipleship Unlimited. While there are many examples, one huge blessing stands out in my mind. One year, panic struck the unit when the commissary announced they were out of deodorant and toothpaste due to losing a supplier contract. What to do? Anxiety and despair reigned.
I heard that Discipleship Unlimited was going to provide the items. “Yeah, right,” I thought, knowing the rules of gift-giving were limited to Christmas, and regulations stipulated if one unit received gifts, then all the units had to receive. It seemed impossible to think funds could be collected quickly. Forgive my unbelief. Not only did DU come through with toothpaste and deodorant, but candy, too! Christmas in July!
Joining the Faith Based Dorm in 2012, I found an oasis of love. My life was enriched by the Bible studies. One of the most-unforgettable experiences was observing the volunteers. They came day after day, whether in pouring rain or suffocating heat, bringing a fountain of unending, pure and authentic love. They shared love without expecting anything in return. During those days I experienced something that transformed my life forever. What an awesome God that gives joy even in the most difficult of times.
There are so many stories I could tell of love and miracles. I’m so thankful for the generous hearts that helped make our lives easier. Thank you for all the holidays and all the days in between that you spent with us, every time saying, “There is no place we would rather be than here with you.” I learned more about love in my 16 years of prison because of the love of these volunteers.
Thank you, Clara, for your kind words. You are an inspiration. And thank you Discipleship Unlimited partners and prayer warriors who generously give so we are free to serve. We are a team.
Under His amazing grace!