Helping and Enriching Lives Through Prison Ministry

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A NEW Brother!


This month I want to share the story of a new brother named Harry. I began to meet and study with Harry about four months ago. He has been at Lawtey for about four years. I have casually known him for a good while, but he never attended our Sunday service or any of our Bible studies, and I never had the chance to study with him one on one. He was always personable, but held his distance. Early in his tenure at Lawtey he was well known by his fellow inmates for running the “gambling tickets.” Sort of like a bookie. Even in that he was known for his honesty and trustworthiness. He soon became convicted that he was brought to Lawtey for a purpose and he needed to clean up his act if he was going to serve God.

For the last two years he has led an exemplary life by all accounts and has been heavily involved in the inmate facilitator program at Lawtey. The program uses inmate facilitators to teach many of the faith and non-faith classes offered at the prison. He had changed his life in many ways as he pursued God by studying His word. Over time, Harry began to ask me questions about the Bible here and there when we would see each other on the compound. Eventually, he asked if he could sit down with me and study the Bible. In that first session, he explained how leery he had been about studying the Bible with anyone. He was fearful of being led down the wrong path. Watching so many groups coming into Lawtey and preaching different doctrines had made him cautious. He said that through our brief interactions and observing what I had been doing with other inmates that he became convinced that I would only lead him to what the Bible taught and nothing else. We began to study over the next several weeks and I got to know Harry.

Harry is 51 years old and has been in prison for 24 of the last 25 years. He has been in prison this time since 2003. He has also served time in Federal prison. Here is a look at his family tree…

Father In and out of prison for most of Harry’s life. Died in prison a few years ago

MotherDrug addict and sent to prison two times. Still a user.

BrothersBoth currently in prison.

UnclesAll served time in prison. One doing a lifetime sentence. One died in prison. 

Harry had every reason in the world to continue his life of rebellion against God, but he decided these things were just excuses. He wanted a better life, and he knew to do that he had to take ownership of his actions and submit to God. Harry did that in September when he was baptized into Christ. He said the things I showed him from the scriptures lined up with what he had been reading and studying on his own. Although, he had made many changes in his life over the last several years, he realizes now that he came into fellowship with God when he died with Christ. Guys like Harry keep me refreshed in this work. Some men take more time than others for the word to work on their heart. Their lives have been full of people who only wanted to “help them” when they could use them in some way. Most of these men struggle to trust anyone. It took Harry a while to trust me. Thank God for his patience and mercy that would allow a man like Harry who has done so much wrong to have another chance. Harry will be leaving Lawtey in late October to finish his time in Federal prison. He has about another two years to do. He has promised to stay in touch. Maybe one day he will be with us at the transition house – God willing. Thank you for helping me so that I can be in the prisons day in and day out, and be available when men like Harry are ready to talk. Please continue to support the work so I can continue to reach more like him.