From Death Row to Deliverance
When have I felt as if my life lacked purpose? Between 1989 and 1992, there were many times when I felt that way. From 1986 to 1988, I was active in the church at Pennsylvania’s (PA’s) Northampton County Prison (NCP). But. July 1988, I transferred to PA’s Death Row in the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Graterford~ On Death Row, there were no church services, Bible studies, or seminars. I could not contribute to the growth of other Christians as I had for two years at NCP. But. praise our LORD. I have now been off Death Row and in general prison population with a sentence of Life Without Parole for thirteen years.
Often, two or three Christian brothers and I gather together for an impromptu Bible study. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands Christians to, “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together” Unfortunately, Christians on Death Row could not meet together so I thought my life lacked purpose.
Ironically, I did help the chaplain who used to come to my Death Row cell to serve communion. A couple of years ago, he visited the SCI Dallas Protestant community. He came with his wife for three days to lead a seminar. When I asked if he remembered me from Death Row, his wife said for over twenty years he has shared a testimony about how I impacted his life. He learned to see me as a brother in Christ instead of the perpetrator of an abominable crime. Therefore, no matter the restrictions placed upon me, or how I imagined those restrictions denied my purpoe, my life had always been, “called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)
EDITOR’S NOTE: You can write to the author (he would appreciate your comments and encouragement) using the exact address below:
Josoph Henry, AS-1498
1000 Follies Rd.
Dallas, PA 18612