Helping and Enriching Lives Through Prison Ministry

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This quarter brought about a great loss for the work.


Dear Supporters, Brethren and Friends,

This quarter brought about a great loss for the work. Abraham Guillermo passed away on February 10th.  Abe was a few days shy of being 82.  He had been volunteering in the prisons for about the last four years. His love for God and for men in prison will always be remembered. He served our Lord faithfully and never retired from being a servant. We will all miss Abe.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support and for many who have supported this work for the first time this quarter. Our contributions showed a large increase this quarter and we had two vehicles donated. It has been a real shot in the arm. Our expenses have been higher because of the large group of men that came to the transition house this quarter – 5! Three of the five are doing well and are off to a good start thanks to you.

Two men relapsed this quarter. One is in a rehab and the other has returned to jail. Men that fail always cause me to do a lot of searching and reflection. Sometimes I see obvious mistakes that I have made in judgement, or flaws in how I have worked with a brother before or after his release.  Sometimes I realize there were things I should have seen while he was in prison that would cause me to reevaluate his worthiness for the program. Sometimes I see things that I should have addressed or been more aware of while men had been living at the transition house.  Frankly, I am getting better in these areas. Both of the men who recently failed, I don’t believe I could have done anything differently that would have changed the outcome. That makes me feel somewhat better, but none the less they still failed.  So what am I learning about these failures?

Last quarter I talked about the link between sexual sin and the failures I see in many men. This time I would like to discuss another component that I have seen in these recent failures – pride. It continues to astonish me that men who have had a lifetime of failure and heartache can still be so prideful.  Increasingly, I notice this trait in men I work with in prison and once they are released. Recently, one of the men that relapsed at the transition house said he wanted to have another chance and realized he had messed up.

However, when I told him that I believed his cell phone was part of his problem he became defensive and angry. He even said things like, “Why are you treating me like a 15 year old.”  Despite his failure he still wanted to control the path by which he would be restored. This is quite a contrast to the attitude of the prodigal son. In Luke 15, he asked to simply be made a servant in his father’s house.

Luke 15:17-19 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 

This pride can be seen in several areas such as, feelings of being “further along” than others, lack of appreciation, complaining and grumbling, self-pity, blaming others and surrounding circumstances. All of these are symptoms of pride or a lack of humility. I was just in prison today and talked with an inmate who had come through our program before and failed. One of the things he mentioned was that his daughter was the only one who remembered his birthday recently, and that his mom and sister had not. That statement showed me that he is still full of pride. You see a man of humility like the prodigal would have said, “My daughter remembered my birthday. I can’t believe that with all the harm I have caused my family that anyone would take the time to remember my birthday.” He became defensive when I pointed it out to him and denied that he was ungrateful and complaining. He still lacks the heart of the prodigal. In this man’s life, when pride rules his life in the free world he goes back to using drugs and stealing to get money. Those things are what sent him back to prison for the third time, but it is pride that is at the root of his crimes.

It takes a lot of humility for an adult man to come to a program and voluntarily submit to a set of rules and accountability. Most men never achieve that level of humility. They endure until the program is over or they leave early. When many of these men return to prison, I see them or they write to me, but most of the time they still are not humble. It is very sad to see.  That spirit of pride is within me and I have to battle it every day. None of us can come before God’s throne with that mindset. We can only come to the Father realizing we only deserve to be slaves in His house. We are looking for men every day that are feeding pigs and want to be slaves back in their Father’s house. Some of them don’t even know they are feeding pigs, and some of them would still rather feed pigs than to be a slave.  Their only hope is found within the word of God.  Thank you for supporting this work so that I can take the God’s word behind the fence and free those who would be slaves.

Daryl Townsend