Friday, September 03, 2010

A Prison Ministry Update

This is an update from my new friend MaryAlice. She's one of those saints that God uses just to spur me on more and more in the ministry that He has appointed for I witness how He works through her in such an extreme environment.

MaryAlice works in prison ministry, and is so faithful in the midst of many different types of opposition and trial.

I've only included part of her letter today, but I hope and pray that it inspires you and deeply impacts your heart as it has mine.

Don't miss her closing. Love it!!!!

Love you too!

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:30-32
Dear Praying Friends,

         Marta's story is the perfect example of Christ's forgiveness and it came to fruition just at the right time in our forgiveness study!  I love the way God does these things!

        Just to fill you in...Marta's sentence is 25 years to life.  When you have an "L" (to life) at the end of your sentence , as they say, you can know you will probably never be released and certainly never see a parole date! 

        Marta was a scout leader, a PTA member, attended church regularly and sang in the church choir.  But she had a secret drinking problem.  She shared with me that the Lord had warned her on a couple of occasions that she had better stop, but she didn't listen.  As a result of driving drunk, Marta killed a young family of four.  Marta died at the scene 2 times herself and she was pretty mangled but God had another plan for Marta!  The young family she killed were Christians.

        Everyone from all sides were impacted with incredible hurt and pain, the victim's family, Marta's husband, who has left her, their son and daughter and Marta's parents.   Since being in prison, she has received pictures of her children's graduation and announcements both from grade school and high school.  Of course, she could not attend.  The saddest thing I've seen is when she showed me a photo copy of her daughter's engagement ring and a swatch of material from the wedding gown, with a picture of it torn from a brides magazine.  So sad... she had to wait for a few weeks for the pictures to arrive of the event that every mother dreams of being involved in!  

        Marta's son, however, is not so accepting of his mom.  He is ashamed of her and will not make contact with her.  He is a soldier in Afghanistan  Marta's mom keeps her up to date concerning him.  She was told he doesn't want ANY contact with her.

        Marta has never tried to fight her case. (Unlike EVERYONE else...looking for a loop hole in the law library and filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus )  She felt she should be where she is and there is no way to "fix" what has happened.  She has received God's forgiveness, and has asked the victim's family for forgiveness also.  Marta has lived quietly in prison, studying God's word, encouraging others, serving in the Chapel and growing in knowing how great our God really is and contented to live this life in prison.  Like the woman with the alabaster vial of perfume in Luke 7:36-39.  Just forever grateful to her Master for saving her!

        When I came into Chapel, everyone was soooo excited to tell me that Marta had a parole board hearing.  She didn't tell anyone she was scheduled for the hearing.  (The inmates usually request prayer for their hearing dates)  AND the victim's relatives were there....on both sides of the family...they told the parole board that this woman had served long enough.  They have forgiven her, she has obviously changed in 14 years and enough is enough...please let her go.  Marta was given a parole date, she should be released in 18 months!

        Marta's response was gratitude that the family had peace and were not suffering from bitterness.  Everyone else's response was...praising God with ecstatic joy!!!!  Lesson clear...class excused!

Serving Him because I get to....
A bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ
Set apart for the gospel of God

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