"An Inside Perspective"

July 2009

My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Praise the Lord, I just experienced one of the most wonderful weekends of my life. Most of you have lived through this prison walk with me. I consider you my family and I'm humbled that you choose to remember me in your prayers. They are not in vain. God has indeed been so very good to me.

You may remember from my past Inside Perspectives, that the Lord has saved my mother. Only Heaven will reveal how many people I had asked to pray for her! She has now been saved for a year as of April. She and my sister Kevy recently decided they were coming for an early visit this summer. I began to pray, along with Sister Debbie, that the Lord would allow a special time of fellowship and a move of His Spirit. Also, on a selfish note, I asked the Lord for some nice weather so that we could sit outside on the visit and enjoy the day. When Mom and Kevy come to visit me, they stay at a nice little hotel right outside of the wall here at Rahway Prison. Sister Debbie meets them there and stays with them to help them through the myriad procedures of coming to visit me. Then after the visit, they all go out for a bite to eat and finally its off to Calvary Chapel Old Bridge to hear Pastor Lloyd preach.

Mom has yet to be well connected into a home church. Although I press the fact, and probably a bit too hard, I have to remember that she's older and her feet are feebler now. She and Kevy delight more than anything to listen to Pastor Lloyd on Mom's i-pod. Yes, last year Pastor Lloyd was gracious enough to let Sister Debbie and I give his teachings to Mom on an i-pod for a Christmas gift. Of course Debbie is credited with all the leg work; her heart toward us in prison, and our families, is without compare.

Mom has expressed many times her desire to be baptized and it has been on my heart heavy to see it so. I know, as does Mom, that baptism does not save, but is the outward expression of an inward work that the Lord has already done in our hearts. Anyway, a light bulb went off in my head as soon as I heard about the hotel. My first thought was, "It must have a pool!" As the spiritual wheels turned, I quickly called Kevy and asked her to check. Sure enough, it had a pool. Next, I asked Mom would she be willing to be baptized in said pool if I could get someone to do it. With great joy and bathing suit in hand she exclaimed, "Yes!" I then thought of Pastor Lloyd because he said (while visiting me) he would love to do it. However, I later found out he would be away for three weeks leading up to that weekend. Then, I thought of my previous pastor, Pastor McClendon, because he and his wife Gerry were so intimately involved in praying for Mom's salvation, but he was going to be away too!

Well, as the Lord would have it, all that time right under my nose was my very own beloved Pastor Larry. I had thought to ask him first but I hesitated. I feared there may be a conflict of interest with his job. But when I did ask, he said that it wasn't, and even if it had been, he had to obey the Lord first! He was in fact delighted to do it. He met Mom, Kevy and Debbie at the hotel after our Saturday morning visit, and with a joyful servant heart he baptized my mom! She had no trepidations at all, but was anxious to put on her bathing suit and cap and get dunked for the Lord! They took a bunch of pictures to send me and then they were off. They went to hear Pastor Lloyd preach. And if you can't see the Lord's hand all over this already, guess what Pastor Lloyd's message was about? You guessed it. Baptism and its importance! God is indeed sovereign is He not?!

The next day, when they came for the Sunday afternoon visit, mom was glowing. On top of that my younger sister Kathie was there also! It was almost too much for me. Debbie, Carlos, Kevy, Kathie, and I all listened as Mom shared her testimony of the Lord's grace. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. In fact, Debbie had to go get more napkins! After that we had communion with juice and crackers. We shared our hearts and fellowshipped as we all wondered with awe at what the Lord has done in our family! Mom said, "I know the Lord didn't make you go to prison, but look at what he has done in our family through it!" I also need to honor Debbie before all of you. None of this would be possible if it hadn't been for her. She's so humble and faithful; always quietly working behind the scenes. She is indeed a most precious woman of God. Last night I laid on my bunk reflecting with a heart full of gratefulness and this verse concerning Jacob and Joseph was brought to my mind. "I never thought I would see your face again but the Lord has showed me your children too!" So it is with me. There was a time when I thought I may never see my mom again, but God has saved her and my sisters too! Never doubt what the Lord will do in your life because of