The “Lost” Cellie

prison ministryIt was June 5, Day 83 in “the hole.” How long, how long would I have to be in solitary confinement before I was transferred to another facility!!! The wait was hard and long and I was getting itchy to get out!

On that day I got paired up with my second cellie. My first cellie, “smelly cellie,” was transferred out a couple of weeks ago. I would remain with this second one until my August 20 departure date. He was a nice guy, a little odd, but we got along.

My  after-breakfast morning routine was to study the Bible and work through some Bible studies. My cellie would always observe what I was doing while he would do his four hours of morning pacing. The first week I moved in with him, he asked if I was a Christian. I immediately responded with a Yes and asked if he was. He told me that he doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. I briefly asked him a few questions as to why, and he said he doesn’t want to talk about it. So I left it at that. I didn’t want to push anything which could turn him even further away from God. The next few weeks I continued to pray that God would work in his heart and that he would speak up and ask some spiritual questions. It took a few weeks, but, sure enough, he opened up and shared what he believed in. He told me that he believes that we are all robots and that we are contolled by a robotic god. It took everything I had to hold back my laughter, but I did. I proceeded to share with him the Gospel message for the next fifteen minutes while he paced.

That first time and many times after that when I talked to him about Jesus, he didn’t say one word. I didn’t even know if he was listening, as he didn’t make any eye contact with me or acknowledge anything I said. After my talks, I always said a quick prayer that he had understood and it would sink into his heart. As the weeks went on we continued to talk about our beliefs about once every week but he always insisted on his way of thinking. I felt like I was not getting through to him at all.

To briefly describe my cellie, he was a “sick” man. He was on his way to a special needs home, so his mind was not the mind of a normal person. Plus, he was very stubborn and had a very short attention span. I honestly thought that getting him to understand about Jesus was an impossible task, and wondered why I even bothered talking to him about it. I continued to pray that God would soften his heart to understand the simple truths….Jesus loved him, Jesus died for him.

June and July came and went, and during the first part of August he was still adamant about his beliefs and wasn’t budging on his robotic theory. I continued to talk about what the Bible said, trying to make it easy to understand so he could comprehend it. On August 17, just four days before my departure (even though at the time I didn’t know I was leaving on that date), he again continued to talk about robots. My talks, I thought, were going nowhere. I know I didn’t have much time left, too. I felt like I had not made any progress in the past months and that it was all wasted time. But I tried again anyway.

This time when I talked, oddly enough, every once in a while, he stopped pacing and stared at me, and he looked like he was actually listening to me, a definite first. As I finished speaking he actually said, “So you really believe in Jesus, huh?” and then he apologized for his lack of attention whenever I spoke to him. I was shocked, and thankful at the same time! Could God really be opening up this man’s heart? I continued to pray for him. The next morning I found out that I would be leaving on the 20th, so now I had three more days to continue sharing my faith with my cellie.  All I needed was one more day actually. Because after lunch on August 18, my cellie said out of the blue, “I think I’m ready to turn to Jesus.”

Simply stated, this was without a doubt a miracle from God. Never in my wildest mind, did I even dream my cellie would say this. I was only hoping that someday in the future he might remember some of the things I had spoken to him about and that he remembers them.  He was a lost soul on June 5th and still a lost soul into August, as far as I could tell. I had no clue that I was even reaching him for the past two and half months. God literally touched and softened his heart. This was definitely not a me-thing but a God-thing. God’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Just days before I would be leaving, the Pacer was ready to commit his life to the Lord. God was working in his life! I pray now that God continues to send someone into the Pacer’s life so he can continue his faith walk. Please pray for him.

As I look back on what transpired since March 5 when I arrived in Yazoo City, I know why God wanted me there in a medium security prison.  His plans are perfect. God definitely knows what He’s doing. Spending 5+ months in “the hole” was well worth it as I think of what now awaits this man who had been a lost sheep. As I waited five long months to get out of “the hole,” it was all perfect timing…..God’s timing. I give God all the glory. He is good!

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