Published on Sunday, 04 December 2016 07:12
From: KENNETH L MILLER (08464082)
DEC 3, 2015
Peace and blessings to each of you from Jesus Christ our Lord. It feels like a long time since I've seen most of you. It's been over eight months now. I miss you all today more than usual for some reason. But strangely, I'm content to be here. This is where God has me for now and I'm learning to be OK with it.
God has been exceptionally good to me the last while. That very difficult trip to Buffalo is fading into the past. My dear mother is with the Lord. I'm sad whenever I think about going back to the house and not seeing her there, but I have to say heaven is more attractive now, and that's good.
So many letters and cards keep coming in the mail, it's almost overwhelming to think about answering even some of them. The other day was a record; I think there were 24 pieces of mail. (Not quite all letters) I'm sorry that I haven't answered more of your letters recently. I hope to pick up letter writing in earnest again this week.
When I came back from Buffalo, I went to what is called "The Big Parking Lot." This is a dorm style room with 36 bunks. It stays mostly full. So there's a lot of movement and a lot of noise, including various nocturnal noises, and not much privacy. I was there about a month. Just this past week I was invited downstairs to one of the nicer rooms in the whole building. It's a six man cell, spacious (for in here) with lots of natural light as the room has two large windows facing south. (The ladies would despair about the hazy windows, but you get used to it.) The room faces the road and the visitor parking lot. So I can sit on my top bunk, look out the window, watch the traffic passing by on the road and see visitors come. It's not quite like sitting on the front porch, but it's a bit closer.
My bunkie is a good friend who's a former marine drill sergeant. He would fit the bill. Straightforward, to the point, and fearless. But I have to say I keep my bed made a lot better than he does his. I'll have to bring that point up sometime...Another one of my other cellies is a Cuban, appropriately named Fidel. (No relation to THE Fidel, as far as I know)
Since my bunkie and I are friends, we share food. Yesterday he shared some pizza that had been cooked over at the shop where I work. A piece of cardboard for the pizza pan, tortilla wraps overlapped for the crust, some sauce (ahem) taken from the kitchen (I don't do that) maybe some onion and peppers if you're lucky, three kinds of cheese and two kinds of meat bought from the commissary--and the whole thing is cooked to perfection with a HEAT GUN; The Petersburg Deluxe Pizza.
We have an old fashioned cast iron radiator in our room. When the heat is on, you can cook rice, make wraps and all kinds of other food on that radiator.
The man in the bunk next to me in the Big Parking Lot (where I had slept for a month) has a remarkable story. I'll call him Rick. He got a life sentence off "a drug deal gone bad." In that same drug deal he was shot in the head. The bullet went down beside his nose, down through his mouth and tongue, through his jaw and lodged in his throat. Doctors were trying to save his life and were just about to slice open his neck to try to find the bullet, when he suddenly sat up and coughed out the bullet! It took years of rehab before he could swallow well enough to eat regular food. Even so, the left side of his mouth is somewhat paralyzed, his swallowing is affected and he speaks with a severe rasp because half of his vocal cords are paralyzed. He's been behind bars for 14-15 years in the federal penitentiary, and has seen horrible things happen to people.
Rick got the shock of his life on Aug. 30 when he got a call from the White House counsel saying he'd gotten clemency from President Obama. He almost fainted and kept asking, "Is this real, is this real?" But it was real. He showed me the original letter signed by the President of the United States. He's being released on Dec. 28. Imagine! Going from a life sentence to four months overnight.
He has just a few more weeks left and I can't help but celebrate with him.
But isn't being release from the sentence of sin and death even much more cause for celebration?!!
Rick is going back to his hometown with no family support or anything. A friend has offered to put him up for thirty days in a room somewhere. After that, he's on his own. If you have any more questions about his situation, talk to Linda. Please pray for my good friend Rick, that God would keep him in His hand. I am very blessed to have met him.
Praise the Lord too, that I have my job back on the landscape crew. We've been moving topsoil with wheelbarrows a long distance, so I've gotten some good workouts. Right now the camaraderie there is quite good. I want to speak to more of my crewmates about the Savior--please pray for opportunities and open hearts.
Today we're having a birthday celebration for the birthdays of my two boys, Joshua and Johnny. I decided that while I can't be at home for their birthdays, they can't stop me from celebrating with my friends here. So we're cooking up food for about 10 fellows, deluxe tortilla wraps along with chips and sodas. And we are going to wish Joshua and Johnny very happy birthdays. And I am getting hungry since it's about 5:00 pm, and I didn't eat lunch.
Something to pray about: I feel led to propose a discipleship / mentoring ministry here for young believers similar to what we've done at Pilgrim in the Brotherhood Discipleship Groups, where fellow inmates disciple each other through the Word, prayer and confession. I know I've personally benefited immensely from this discipline it over the years. I think it's time to propose something like it here.
May God bless each of you all real good and may Christ's presence be very near as you gather on His day tomorrow.
Love and prayers,