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VOICES OF FAITH FROM INSIDE THE WALLS OF US PRISONS

LETTERS OF FAITH  Page 1 ( Go to Page 2 )  

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This prisoner is the first in NJ to have an Appellate Court order the Superior Court to give him the opportunity to exonerate himself with DNA evidence. He had been in state prison since 1987 and finally released in 2005 due to DNA forensics proving his innocence. He is still scheduled for retrial.

...John, for a few days I was deeply troubled as to "why this; why me?" What caused this? What makes a man threaten another without cause? Instead of worry and stress I asked the Lord God "why am I here?" Early the following day a still voice said "I'm purging you." ..."Every branch that bears fruit He prunes it that it may bring more fruit" (John 15:1)... 
...In God's word it has shown me that all people that were used of God to do extraordinary things were separated for a season from family, country, loudness of the world, etc., and I share it. Sometimes God separates us so we can hear Him...to get our attention... 
... Be it God's will it shouldn't be much longer before all of us can celebrate my long awaited freedom. The director of the Innocence Project, asked me Thursday if I was ready to go home when the evidence returned that it wasn't me. I told him "no doubt!!!" :) I was ready to leave this place yesterday...I pray that all of you will continue calling my name before the throne of grace as I will yours... 
...The Lord rebukes anything that comes against you for His word says "touch not my anointed nor do my prophets any harm" and that "No weapon formed against you shall prosper." Remember the word tells us "That those who keep their minds on Him, He shall keep in perfect peace." Look not on your situation for it is only temporary....Just remember you can write me anytime. I'm settled for a little while. :)...The will of God will never lead us where the grace of God cannot keep us.

...I know you've heard it said that a man can have everything today and tomorrow have nothing. The same with our trials, testings, afflictions and tribulations. They are here today and gone tomorrow. It's not about the injustice, lying and corruption of man; instead it's about the fulfilling of God's will...John, your work for the kingdom's sake is far more powerful than you realize...So my brother, be of a strong faith and of good cheer. I'm here to encourage you in the Lord and inspire you to continue your work for the gospel's sake...The DNA testing in my case will hopefully not only prove my innocence but break the State's back and shut their mouths. Soon, everything should come to light...

...I'm frustrated with everything, but God's word tells me "that God will keep them in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him." So I keep reminding myself that all things happen in God's timing and not mine..."When we 'go out' to pursue our own desires instead of following God's leading, we will be frustrated in our efforts and left empty and disappointed. But when we go out at the Lord's prompting and direction, 'at His word,' He is responsible for the outcome. The results will be fruitful labor, whether we know it or not." (From A Daily Bread, March 2, 2004.) 
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My brother, you said a mouth full when you expressed that oppressive and adversarial conditions are indeed frustrating. My time for exodus is not God's timing, therefore I exercise patience. James 1:3 says "testing of your faith works patience." Since 2002 I've encountered various trials and tribulations; yet God is good and sovereign. Plus God's word says, "He who is faithful will not permit you to be tempted above what we are able" (1 Cor. 10:13)....
I'm so thankful for the Innocence Project. Things may not move as fast as I want, but the attorneys from the Innocence Project are impeccable and I appreciate them. In God's timing these prison doors will open "at His word" for He is responsible for the outcome, and the result will be fruitful labor.
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On September 22, 1987, the Lord allowed me to be arrested, charged and later convicted of a crime I did not commit. During my arrest I couldn't see, nor did I understand that God had a plan for my life. Sometimes it takes God saving us from ourselves which was my case; sometimes things happen for God's glory.
...Prison is a tool that's designed to destroy, but God ws with me and established me...I've been asked, "Do you hear me now?" The Lord who created me and formed me said, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are Mine. I am with you."
The Lord has allowed and directed these attorneys to represent me. I am being told that it's possible for me to be home before Christmas if the state doesn't continue being stupid. However, we have tons of evidence that shows I'm innocent...The state has fought me so hard because they framed me, but the Lord has been giving my attorneys and I victory after victory and I am sure He is able to deliver me now.
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I know you heard it said that a man can have everything today and tomorrow have nothing. The same is without trials, testings, afflictions and tribulations. They're here today and gone tomorrow. It's not about the unjust, lying and corruption of man. Instead it's about the fulfilling of God's will. Continue in the Lord and be not weary. "Fear them not, therefore; for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, and hidden that shall not be known" (Matthew 10:26-28). "Blessed are you when men persecute you. Pray for them that persecute you" (Matthew 5, 11-12, 44). ...I certainly hope the Lord will use my case to expose, tear down and destroy the wickedness that exists...So my brother, be of a strong faith and of good cheer. I'm here to encourage you in the Lord and inspire you to continue your work for the gospel's sake...
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Oh how I've learned to embrace Psalm 30 because He has seen me through and have kept me alive. Don't you have this testimony also, my brother? We have been in the lion's den, in the firey furnace, and we both shared in the belly of the beast...Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." ...My brother, He shall judge righteously, He will not leave us or forsake us. He will not let evil does consume us. Have faith that "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me, says the Lord." All God's saints go through a period of testing, but if God be for us who can be against us? ...Commit your ways to the Lord, trust also in Him, and "He shall bring it to pass."...May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and may His many blessings in Christ Jesus abide in your home always...
[Ministry note: L.'s DNA tests exonerated him and prove his innocence. He is still waiting for the legal process to take its ponderous course. 

From B, in prison since 1996.

When I see the release of a prisoner, I feel joy in my heart, knowing his oppression. And yet even in prison I feel free knowing the Lord. When I read the Bible and I see what Christ has suffered for my sins I know that God truly loves me. I believe it was Paul who said the suffering that we face today cannot be compared to the glory that we will know tomorrow in Christ our Lord. But what you wrote about the body of Christ is true. I believe that when one member of the body suffers the other members suffer also. Christ still suffers with us, remembering that Christ is eternal, not restricted by the limits of time or space...I remember the scripture that says a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day to Him. Yes, I know that Christ still suffers with us and for us.
...In many ways I am much more free than many of the people outside these walls for if they do not have Christ in their lives they are the ones that are truly in prison...I have all day in which to pray and sing to the Lord and read his word or meditate on the scriptures.
...I thought to myself what would I do if I was released. The answer is the same whether I'm released or not. I will praise the Lord and spread the word of God and His promises...
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The letters I have received from all of you always lifted up my spirit with hope and guidance. And it seems as though they always come at the right time. You have all been considered in my heart to be one of the many blessings that the Lord has given me. I have not yet heard from my three sons. But they're in my prayers and in God's hands! ...So I keep praying and waiting on the Lord as He fulfills His promises, and continually shows us that He loves us through His many blessings...John, you are right the Lord our God Jesus Christ is always there with us and for us. In so many ways, His grace gets us through each day and His blessings are all around us. All we have to do is open our eyes to actually see them.

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From O, innocent and in state prison since 2000. He is working hard in developing an outreach ministry to people in and outside of prison.

Once again I realize how unjust man is. Still, I thank the Lord for this experience, and I am learning a great lesson through it...I just can go back to Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for me. Surely He has borne my grief and carried my sorrows..."He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Going through this situation I understand more of Jesus' love for me. He took my place. He laid down His life so that I may live..."Greater love had no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." Jesus' love is unmeasureable, beyond my understanding!
...When I think about this word, freedom, I don't know how to react. One thing is true, I am an oppressed prisoner. I have tried hard enough even to shed tears in prayer before God, asking Him to enable me to get used to this place...I keep praying, "Oh that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest." (Ps. 55:6.)
...As to my case, I am resting...Resting in His arms. He holds my future. My days are in His hands. I am still waiting to see the salvation of the Lord.
...After receiving the news that my appeal had been denied...the Lord took me to the book of Daniel where it says, "Sadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.'" Truly, my resolve and faith in God is the same as these men. I know, deep in my heart, that the God I serve is able to get me out of this place, but even if He chose not to, I will still serve Him and remain faithful to Him. I will not bow to the gods of unbelief and disillusion.
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My pastor presented a petition to the congregation last Monday...We have given onto the Lord 21 days of fasting...Jesus said the time would come when we would need to fast and it has been so since He went back to heaven...Jesus has given me strength. I'm pulling down strongholds, for the Bible says, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2 Cor. 10:4).
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"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). 
Greetings my brother! ...With this new year I have not made any new resolution, except to keep alive the same one I've always had, that is to become like Christ more and more every single day. That is His will and mine as well. [Ministry note: :O. was granted a NJ Supreme Court hearing in January, 2005. We are waiting for the Court's decision.]

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From T, innocent and in state prison since 2000.

In my lifetime, I always tried to do things with my own strength. My life had come to an end, as I knew it, when I was arrested for a crime I didn't commit. After being totally stressed for several weeks, I found myself on my knees asking God to help me and that the stress has become too great for me to handle. After saying my prayer, instantly the stress had left my body. It actually felt like someone had lifted a thousand pounds off my shoulders, and I knew from that point on that the true and living God was with me.
Sometimes God brings us low to raise us up for His glory, so we can be equipped to do His work, like sharing the Gospel to those who are lost, those who have become conformed to the worldly things. So I truly thank God today for revealing to me the truth of His word through Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. And for allowing me to become an heir to the throne of grace. So, without a doubt, I know I am blessed!

From N, unjustly convicted and in state prison since 1996.

Today's my birthday and I thank God for another year because tomorrow isn't promised to anyone. A code 66 went off at 4 pm. It's sad when you hear that code...which means somebody quit, gave up on life...He gave me another day to praise Him...I will always look back on this time I spent in here as time with the Spirit, teaching me many things and showing what to work on in my walk with Christ Jesus!
...The Spirit is telling His people to get ready. Soon He'll be come for the Church and saints!...I am so happy to be with body of Christ Jesus!

...I'm sorry to say that for a long time now I've been out of tune with my walk with Christ..My prayer life is on empty. I haven't been reading the Bible on a daily basis. Why am I so oppressed? ...These 8 years behind bars makes me very sad. I'm always dreaming about being out of here just to wake up still here. Forgive me please for telling you all this sad news but I have no one to share this with lately...John, I can't wait to see you one day to get a big hug from someone who felt my hurt behind these walls...I will always keep you in prayer when I can pray.

As a young little boy I can remember God having His Hand upon my life. Not to say I didn't get in lots of trouble. But as soon as I would talk to God, things would change for the better...As I got older and knew more about our faith, Christ stepped in to bless my life with many new family members and friends like you. 

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I love to read the reflections you sent me...for I break bread and drink my grape juice with you in the Spirit.

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From R, in state prison since 1999.

You know, John, I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. Things I was worrying about that I couldn't control, I put in the hands of God through our Lord Christ. I am at an inner peace with myself and came to an understanding that whatever happens to me is God's will. I regret straying from His guidance, but even though I'm locked up, I'm more comfortable with myself than I've ever been...I will never turn away from my Lord and Savior again.

From T(2), in state prison since 1993, innocent.

It is most definitely a good thing to hear my letters can generate enough power to formulate some inspiration in your life. My Mother tells me the same things, however, it is a good thing nonetheless. It is those truths, coming from such people, which forms the basis for motivating a struggling man in this quest for freedom. You see, it works both ways. People feed off of other people's energy. It's the quality of dealing equally in that particular field of science (equality) which builds a high level of harmony. Harmony forms Peace. Harmony and Peace forever has its place in Heaven. Thus, Glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:12-20), and Peace and Harmony will forever reside.

However, it is this hell that I have gone through in order to reach that Peace and Harmony "cumulatively". I have Peace, because Peace is the absence of confusion. I have Harmony, because Harmony is understanding one's self.

A Prayer for Rescue and Prosperity -- A Psalm of David, 144:1-15 --
Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: my goodness, and my fortress: my high tower, and my deliverer; who subdueth my people under me. LORD, what is man that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. Bow thy heavens, O LORD , and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them; shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them. Send thine hand from above: rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of false hood. I will sing a new song unto thee, O GOD ; upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praise unto thee. It is he that giveth salvation unto kings; who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword. Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace; that our garners may be full, affording all manner of store; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets; that our oxen may be strong to labor; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case; yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD .

Thus I continue to war for that which has been wrongly stripped from me, my freedom.
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Thank you for all of the reading materials that you have sent me. Since my incarceration, I've become an extensive reader...One gains the attribute as a wise person not only in age but through study...God is perfect and is the maker of all of wise, and He has given that power to men and women, the ability to be just and true rulers of the earth. (Genesis 1:26-30.)..."Happy is the man that finds wisdom and that gets understanding: for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver and the grain and fine gold" (Proverbs 3:13). Also, 4:5-7, "Get wisdom, get understanding; forget it not, neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not and she shall preserve you; love her and she shall keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom and with all your getting understanding." ..."Who is as the wise man? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed" (Ecclesiastes 8:1).

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From Bill, unjustly convicted, in prison since 2000

It is truly a gift to have friends after so many years that still cherish the memories of one another's friendship. I also look forward to one day seeing each other in freedom as our friendship continues, no matter what the outcome...With my case being so messed up and touchy, I don't know what you can do to help, but I pray for anything. I appreciate all that you are trying to do for me. You are a great friend. I thank you...Thank you for keeping me in your prayers and believing that someday we will once again see each other and our families in freedom, with the help of God...All I ask is to keep in touch and to keep getting your Weekly Reflections which I enjoy reading...You're a good friend and brother.

From B, in prison since 1996

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I also read the Weekly Reflection that you sent me, many times. Looking back on my life at things that happened to me (thinking they were disasters) I see they turned into a blessing and sometimes not just for me but also for those I love. The part of the reflection where you talk about how Christ knows the number of hairs on our heads and our every thought and how in God's eyes we are worthy of his incarnation, death and resurrection. I don't see myself as being worthy at all because every day we sin...However I must tell you I am eternally grateful for God's love and grace everyday ...

Many times I've seen storms come by this prison and after the storm passes I see the rainbow in the sky which is a visual and physical proof of God's grace. When I look at a rainbow I can feel God's love. In one of the psalms it speaks of how the clouds are the Lord's chariots and that He wlks on the wings of the wind. Well, when I go out side and I see the clouds and feel the wind I can see and feel God's grace and love and peace come into my soul just knowing He is there. Even right here sitting in my cell I feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit of God and I know that the Lord is with me watching over me and He gets me through another day only to bless me with another one tomorrow. I sleep in peace on most nights feeling refreshed for the next day and what the Lord has to offer me.

From Larry Peterson, proven innocent, in prison since 1987, released in 2005 on DNA forensics proving his innocence in 2005, still scheduled for retrial nonetheless

I do pray that the Lord God has all of you in His Hand doing swell as all of you abound more and more in His Word and grace. By His mercy and grace we're all doing well, my family and I, as we both await this soon Court date and the Lord's coming...This letter will be mailed on July 5th which means I have only 24 more days to wait before being released. Romans 4:17: "...Speak those things that are not as though they were." ...It will be so good to become accustom to Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Fall once again. Hearing birds sing early in the morning, smelling flowers, trees, rain and watching a garden grow, seeing the joy and happiness on a kid's face or seeing people smile, oh yes, going to the supermarket seeing all the different kinds of fruit, and the soothing experience of the quietness of the woods as you sit on land or a boat to fish. Life and living is so good. So many things I took for granted, but never again. It's a blessing being able to get up in the morning and walk, talk or sing. Truly God is good and worthy to be praised...

From B. in prison since 1996

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I haven't heard from my children since the last and first time that they came to visit me. But I know that they are in the Lord's hands, so everything will be OK. Because God the Lord, our God Jesus Christ, loves them more than anyone else can. Praise the Lord because He takes care of all his children even when we don't deserve it...I feel so blessed to have friends like you...

From O, innocent and in prison since 2000

I praise my God in every remembrance of you, being certain that my meeting you is a blessing I will never forget...As for me, I'm doing well, praise God! I preached a sermon yesterday, "Jesus, the Pefect Role Model." We had a joyous time together, my brothers and I. The opening text came from Matthew 11:29, with more emphasis on these three words, "Learn from Me," and concluding with Hebrews 12:2, "Looking on to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." It was a wonderful moment, glory to God!...I spoke with my mother, and she told me she was going to call you and ask you to come with them for a meeting with...[O did not prevail on his appeal before the NJ Supreme Court.]

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From B. in prison since 1996

Knowing this, John, that Jesus is Lord, no matter what happens in court rooms, Jesus is still the Lord. And He has purpose and meaning in everything that He allows to happen. A prison cell is just another place in God's kingdom; the earth is the Lord's and all that dwell in it.

Jesus alone is Lord. He's the only one who suffered for our sins on the cross and rose into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. His thrown is in heaven and He's in control of all things. So keep your faith and trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. In the Bible it's written His ways are above our ways. Sometimes we only see a small part of the whole picture...So the best we can do is walk in faith, faith that He knows all and has purposeful meaning in all that He does or allows to happen...."Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall make your path straight."

God bless you and thank you for letters and prayers of support. They have been a blessing to me.
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