An Inmate’s Response to My Letter

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mentoringMike’s sister and family were worried about him, and they approached me and one of my ministry partners, Brian, in church to ask us to reach out to him…help cheer him up because he was so depressed…Here is his reply:

Hello Rick:

First and foremost, I want to thank you for taking time from your personal time to reach out to me. I greatly appreciate it.  It’s mind blowing how I have so much family and friends, yet hardly any of them reach out just to see if I am alive.  And here comes someone who doesn’t know me from a can of paint, and reaches out.  I must admit that although I lost all trust, hope, and belief in God, I couldn’t help but get a knot in my throat in reading how you met my sister through church, heard about me and my situation, and how through the kindness of your heart just decided to write to me.  I sincerely and wholeheartedly appreciate you and the gesture.  It speaks volumes, believe me or not.

Monetary support for someone that is incarcerated is essential for their physical being, but moral support is key for their emotional and mental stability. Unfortunately for me, I rarely have either type of support from anyone.  But its simple gestures like the one you took  upon yourself to do, that have given me a humbling experience and taught me to appreciate the smaller things in life, that I so often overlook or take for granted.

It is admirable what you and your friends are doing. Although some of you may think that you’re not able to relate to someone like myself, who is physically incarcerated, I beg to differ.  You may not have ever been physically incarcerated, but you may have been mentally, emotionally, or spiritually incarcerated and I believe that  the struggle for all those forms of incarcerations are all similar, if not exactly the same.  We all seek the same results, which are to become free from our bondage.  And in the midst of us trying to obtain that freedom from whatever prison we face, the common denominator for all of us is that we need people to listen to us, hear us out, and every so often, assure us that we are not alone in the process.  Hence, my belief that you and your friends can relate to us.

I want to point out that due to my current state of spirituality, or lack thereof, I would prefer not to be bombarded with God stuff. However, I will not completely be shut off by any time that you may feel that you want to address something of God.  I will be open to it.

So I thank you for reaching out, and look forward to hearing from you again. Until then, you take care of yourself, and you and your team keep on doing what you’re doing.  It is a difference maker!



RICK’S NOTE: Mike received Brian’s letter about one hour after he wrote the above reply to me.  Mike sent Brian a very nice letter also.  In that letter, he said that he found it hard to believe that two people cared enough to send him a letter… and I quote, “It brings extreme joy to my heart that two complete strangers actually reached out to me of all people…although I’ve lost all trust, hope and belief in God, the timing of these letters could not have been better…”  He goes on to say that he will at least listen if Brian wishes to reference God in future communications.

Please take a few minutes to encourage a fellow Christian behind bars–they need to know that other Christians care about them…You can make a big difference for the price of a postage stamp.  Just go to the Birthday List on…the names and mailing addresses are there for you, along with instructions.  You can also email me for further advice:

Thanks for caring!

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