"An Inside Perspective"

March 2003


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! You may know by now that I was saved, by the grace of God, on a smoking hot day in July 1991. It was ten days after my arrest and I was in the dirty stinking hole of Monmouth County Jail. I was in the "inner prison" as Paul called it in Acts 16. A man I didnít know, named Tony, shared the Word with me and God had mercy. It is written, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy". During this first year of my incarceration, and of my new freedom in Christ, I was not allowed to go outside for recreation. By the Stateís standard I was a dangerous murderer and yet by Biblical standards, I was a forgiven man. Amazingly, I was called by God a saint!

As I grew in Christ over the next 3 years, still in the County Jail, I had a burning desire to share Godís Word all the time with anyone and everyone. I began to notice that when I shared the Word with people, God would save them. It is written, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy". He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing His sheaves with him." I was facing the death penalty, but in truth I had just been delivered from it by the Lord! I had a "peace that passeth all understanding" and a "joy unspeakable and full of glory." I couldnít wait to get out of bed to share the Word with the men I was locked up with!

By the time my trial arrived, three years had passed and I found myself in the basement of the courthouse where they have a large cell that holds up to 40 men. We called it "the bullpen" because all the prisoners wait there, some in their suits and ties and others in their jail khakis. It is very loud, everyone is talking about their cases and stressing over their own personal trials. I was not. I was burdened for the menís souls in that bullpen.

My trial lasted about six weeks and during that time I became very familiar with the bullpen. I would wake up in my cell at Lam and be shuffled downstairs to put on a suit and tie. Then I would have my legs and hands shackled and be driven to the courthouse and tossed into the bullpen for the day. I would come and go from the bullpen as my trial proceeded and as the court needed me. The bullpen became my ministry. I had my trusty little derringer with me at all times, my Gideon pocket Bible! I would share the Word of God with the men as they came and went from the bullpen. I knew in my heart that, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy".

During one experience I had in the bullpen, a new man came in. He saw my Bible and immediately became very belligerent toward me. The bullpenís clientele is mostly a motley crew and at first I felt fear. I then challenged him with the Word and after a few minutes he said very loudly, for all to hear, "Hey, what are you doing man, all the hair on my body is standing on end!" I said very calmly, "It is the Lord, you need to repent." Shortly thereafter we got on our knees together, right there in the bullpen, and he prayed to receive Christ. It is written, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy".

Recently I was reminded of yet another bullpen experience. About two months ago Sister Debbie was giving a Ministry presentation at Calvary Chapel of Old Bridge. As she attempts to raise her support from various churches she shares the work of the Ministry and all that it involves. During the course of the presentation I will make a phone call from here in prison to that particular church to share my testimony and to answer their questions. The phone is hooked up through the PA system for everyone in the church to hear. This particular time, as Pastor Lloyd interviewed me, a man in the congregation named Tim recognized my voice over the phone. He knew it was the voice that had lead him to Christ eight years earlier in bullpen! I had only meet him for five minutes but that was long enough to share the hope of Christ with him and, more so, for God to save him. It is written, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy". God does not need much time, what He desires are men and women that are willing to share His Word faithfully, and yes, maybe with people they donít even know. Are you willingly sharing?

Later on, in that service, Tim found Sister Debbie and shared his testimony of how he came to know the Lord in the bullpen that day. A couple of months later Sister Debbie brought Tim out to Trenton State Prison to visit with me and we had a father and son reunion in Christ! Tim and I hit it off immediately as we reminisced on the goodness of God and of our harder days gone by. It was a joyful reunion and tears were shed as we considered the extent of Godís mercy toward us. I was humbled to see that my fruit, of which I knew not, had himself been bearing fruit for the last 8 years! WOW! God is so awesome!

So donít be discouraged in sharing the Word, the Lord is faithful to give the increase as He sees fit. Verily, verily I say unto you, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy". He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless cone again with rejoicing, bringing His sheaves with him."

Joyfully in Jesus,