26 May

Prison Update #4

Dear Friends in Jesus Christ,

I’m sitting here at my bunk slicing off generous slabs of mozzarella cheese, piling it on saltine crackers. This, along with a peanut butter and jelly tortilla, plus a pack of mackerel and more saltines, was my supper. Oh, yes jalapenos also. With the alternative being “chicken spaghetti” over at the chow hall, I decided to have my own supper. Overall, the food isn’t bad, but sometimes one wishes for more variety in the menu.

I already look forward to a hearty country breakfast of eggs, bacon, home fries and toast. That breakfast is now two months closer by the grace of God!

Since the beginning of my incarceration two months ago, I’ve received many, many cards and letters. While I can’t seem to answer each one, please know that each is a treasure. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of support in letters, finances and most of all, prayer. My family is so grateful also for all the support at their end. Our home church, Pilgrim Fellowship, has stood by our family in countless ways. May all of you Pilgrims, especially, be blessed!

God has been so good to me here. I’ve gotten to know quite a few of my fellow inmates by name. It’s a huge blessing to find a place of belonging and fellowship, particularly among God’s men. A group of about 15 men from both the protestant group and the messianic group meets once a week for prayer. These men are very sincere believers and this time of prayer (much of it silent prayer) is a huge blessing. If anyone has a prayer need you’d like for us to pray about, drop me a line and we can have these prayer warriors in here get to work. We’ve also started to team up in two’s and pray around the track as we walk. That would be a great time to pray for your needs as well.

A friend from New York sent me transcripts of an interview with a Romanian Brother named Roman Braga who suffered 11 years in prison during the communist era, some of it in solitary confinement. He escaped to freedom he said, INSIDE the communist prison. “Those… who believed in God discovered for themselves that true freedom is inside, it’s not outside. In solitary confinement I discovered communion with God, with Christ, in the interior, in prayer and conversation with God; true freedom. The communists could not control that!”

This brother experienced this reality: “If the SON sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Can the SOUL who is truly united with Christ be imprisoned? No more than you can put Christ Himself in prison!

The other day while standing in line waiting for a door to be opened, I overheard a sad story. An inmate who had spent 42 years in the prison system was about to be released. About a year before his release date, he discovered he had inoperable cancer, and would soon die. He had nowhere to go on the outside. He begged the prison to allow him to stay and die there, the only place he knew. But the FOB couldn’t help him. As he came to the day of his release he told everyone, “Watch the news! Watch the news!” Sure enough on the day of his release, there was a bulletin on the Richmond evening news. An old man who had just been released from Petersburg, was arrested for robbing a bank across the street from the bus station where prison staff had dropped him off some hours before. The news showed a stoop-shouldered elderly man being led away in shackles, on his way prison. He got his wish.

As my fellow inmate was telling this story, he gestured toward the cell in which this old man stayed just before his release– about 20 feet from where I stood. As I pondered this tragic story, I saw a spiritual lesson.

One of the greatest tragedies in the world is when people return to the bondage of sin—and die there. Why do they go back? Maybe people go back to that prison because they like it, and it’s the only life they know. But maybe they return because nobody on the outside cares enough to take them in.

Think about it.

Ken Miller

Federal Correctional Center

Petersburg, VA