by Grace Yost
Quite often, I’m privileged to read a testimony from an inmate that touches my heart so deeply I can’t get it off my mind, and this is one of them. Towards the end of 2006 I received a letter from Roger (a pseudonym).
Catching the Vision
“I caught the vision when I became a Christian and heard your testimony,” he began. “Please pray that the Lord will open doors to include 3ABN, 3ABN Latino, and the other Seventh-day Adventist channels here at this facility in Oregon. We have no other Christian TV here, but I am able to get 3ABN on UHF fairly decently, considering our TVs have no antennas. Most people here cannot get it, though, nor do they know how. I know that 3ABN would really open truths to so many people in here. We can be confident that it is God’s will to provide these stations to the inmates.”
In a few months, he sent us another letter, which read in part, “I am so privileged to be involved with this ministry. I know this is God’s ministry. I am so thankful for Danny and the rest of you for being obedient and available to God. Will you please continue to pray in earnest for our facility to allow 3ABN, 3ABN Latino, and the other Seventh-day Adventist channels? The need is desperate; the opportunity to counteract the counterfeit is so great. Many who will not set foot in a Seventh-day Adventist service will curiously tune into our network, and many more who don’t even believe in Jesus will tune in. This ministry is God-breathed, and it is God’s will and desire to have these channels available here. This is not presumption. Please pray, and if you’re led to act on our behalf, with God on our side, we cannot fail. Will He find faith among us?”
Soon another letter arrived. “I am still praying for victory in getting 3ABN to the inmates here. I have no help from anybody here, except you and my church. The chaplain will not help. We need your help. Please continue to stand with me against that defeated foe! Jesus won! The victory is ours to grasp. May we enter in and take it!”
It’s important to note that 3ABN’s Marketing Department works very diligently with prison authorities to get satellite equipment up and running; however, sometimes they are not receptive, it’s often a long process, and sometimes the doors are closed unless God breaks down the barriers.
Filled With Hope
Time marched on, and another communication came.
“Please pray for me to not fear people as I do now. I’ve always been so shy and timid—a coward, really. I fear people until they prove to be safe. I am sick of this prison and want to represent God without this barrier. Please pray for me to be bold and courageous. I want to go where He leads without giving into fear and torment. I have His Spirit, and His power. I’m praying for manifestation of this in my life.”
Some time later we learned, “As you can see, I’ve been moved to a new facility. The move is a challenge, but God is good. I don’t have a job anymore, but I’m sure God will help me find a new one here. As soon as I’m allowed after release, I plan to volunteer in prison ministry. God has been so good to me and filled me with so much hope; I want to make sure everyone realizes that hope is available for them, too.”
After this move, Roger was instrumental in speaking with the godly chaplain about allowing 3ABN to place material into the prison library.
A Hymn and a Praise Report
Often the Holy Spirit impresses me to use the words of a beautiful hymn to minister to an inmate, and they, in turn, usually respond in a very favorable way.
“Yes, that hymn, ‘The Love of God,’ is indeed a beautiful song,” Roger wrote back to me. “His love is so amazing it transforms evil, selfishness, and darkness to goodness, selflessness, and light. I was so despicable before His love transformed me, and I’m so grateful. I never wanted to be so selfish, but I was powerless to change until I gave up my will to Christ in response to His love for me. He offered me hope and a purpose.
“Well, I have a praise report,” he continued. “God supernaturally provided me with a good job! I’d been praying about it, since my move meant I had to start over at this new institution. I applied for a chapel clerk job and as an education tutor for backup, but last Monday I was hired into the prison canteen—one of the most coveted jobs here. I did not apply, and it’s interesting that the boss said I was ‘highly recommended.’ He didn’t quite know who recommended me, but I know! The Lord has caused His favor to flow through the prison authorities to me. He always does this for me. My last job at the other institution happened in a miraculous way, too. It also was the most coveted and highest paid job in all this state’s Department of Corrections.
“Although this job has the potential to earn only half my previous wages, I’m so grateful to the Lord. It’s the highest paid job available at this institution. I’m so grateful for a testimony also, because many people ask me how I got this job. Some are truly curious, while others are just envious. Either way, they get a mini-gospel message from my testimony.
“Thank you so much for your prayers. I’m sure they are the reason I’m continually blessed. Many at the church, at the correspondence Bible course headquarters, and at 3ABN are praying for me. And your prayers are effective. Each day, as I think about Jesus, the more I love Him and the more intense my desire is to be just like Him. He is so beautiful! His love compels me to love Him, and love what He loves. Comprehending His love is the only profitable study and doctrine to pursue. We must pursue an understanding of His amazing love, and His beautiful character. Then, literally, every pure doctrine becomes ‘common sense’ and crystal clear. I’m always amazed at the wisdom flooding my mind by simply meditating on and perceiving the presence of God.”
You can quickly see that Roger’s letters are an encouragement to us, and more recent communications continue to remind us just how important God’s commission on this earth is.
“You already know, but never forget that it is always God’s will for 3ABN to be available to everyone who wants to receive it,” Roger writes. “As God’s hands and feet, it’s our privilege to occupy the earth until He comes, carrying out His will on earth as He does in Heaven. We must never cower or be timid in accomplishing His good and perfect will on this earth. Our God is the CEO and owner of 3ABN, and for this we’re grateful. It is our privilege to partner with Him as obedient hands and feet. May we never paralyze our Lord by being double-minded and disobedient. I pray we always seek His face and receive His wisdom and guidance continually.
“Please pray with me as I seek to be led by Him, cooperating with whatever purpose He has for me to fulfill. Maybe it won’t be me, but I definitely feel God is raising up an army to retake everything the enemy has stolen. May we strive to submit our whole selves to Him and enter His rest while yielding 100 percent to Him. Come, Lord Jesus, come!”
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Success in life requires a firm foundation, allowing God to be at the forefront of every choice made. Roger has discovered the secret ingredient—trust in God. The last letter we received from him stated that all he hopes to communicate in this article is God’s glory and His true character.
His letters have also reminded me many times of the importance that we radiate this type of message.
Would you consider helping us to reach those who are incarcerated? Financial support is needed to supply Bible-based materials to the inmates, as well as the satellite dishes we make available to prisons. Thank you for your prayers on behalf of this important mission.