Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Prison Pen Pal

I figured it was about time for a post. I thought I'd share a little about my Prison Pen Pal experience for all of our avid readers (yes, I'm well aware that 'avid readers' probably constitutes of less people than what I have fingers....and I do have all 10 of my fingers for those were were wondering).
I have always been intrigued by prisons....not entirely sure why. But within me, God has instilled some sort of fascination and wonder regarding these instituations. Several times I've thought to myself that .....IF I would get framed for some sort of crime that I didn't do and had to go to prison...I'd be OK with it. I'd have time to write a book, the opportunity to witness to many people, I'd start Bible studies and crafting groups. Yes, I know I'm slightly demented and I really don't think I'd peacefully accept a prison sentence, but the idea of being confined with others in a set space just gives me all kinds of ideas. Plus, I think I'm intrigued because God calls us to visit those and care for those who are in prison. Anyways.
I wanted to reach out and get involved, but I feel pretty stretched the way it is with the busyness of life, including ministry things I'm involved in. So, last Winter, I signed up through Prison Fellowship to have a pen pal. I figured it was a pretty low commitment and low-time requirement. They then sent me a name of an individual that had been matched up with me. They have a number of criteria they use when matching someone up and a list of do's and don'ts when you correspond.
Our correspondence started kinda slow and we'd go nearly a month at first between letters. But now, I find myself receiving a letter from her before I've barely sent it out in the mail! It's obvious that we're having the chance to open up and ask more in-depth questions and share things deeper at this point. I've really enjoyed the chance to get to know someone whom I will more than likely never meet and to feel like I'm able to encourage her and listen to her.
She's on the far end of the country from me. She's a year younger than I am. Never graduated from high school, although is now working on her GED. She is the mother of 3 children. She ran away from home when she was 15. I have no idea what she is there for (you're not supposed to ask), although I do know that she is expecting to get out next October. For Thanksgiving, we shared with one another things that we are thankful for from A - Z. It was very cool to hear from her the things that she is thankful for.
Anyways. If you think of it, say a prayer for Jamie. As you can imagine, it's hard for her to be away from her 3 children while she is in prison. Also, pray for her as she works toward her education and begins to make plans for entering back into society in the next year. And pray that I have the opportunity to continue to share God's love with her and that He would become very real to her.


aunt doreen said...

WOW! I know it's no coincidence that her name is one we all know and love in the Willis family. Spelling variation aside, It will be easy to remember this special person because of that and I hope you continue to keep us updated on her and your experiences as a pen pal. If you ever get to experience prison life first hand, (as strange as that sounds coming from a happily married pregnant woman) count me in as a visitor during your incarceration.

Indy Tribe said...

I will pray for Jamie. I can't imagine being away from my children that long...the time I have spent away from mine was too long! My heart breaks for hers. I think blogs are so cool because you find out things about people you would not automatically. Thanks for sharing. Prison can be such a bleak place. The ones Jon and I have had experience with (him working at Plainfield Men's prison and me working at the Boys prison) there isn't a lot or really any rehabiliation that goes on there. Just a holding cell. Its cool that you have spread the word about prison ministry...I will look into it. LOVE YA

The Chinlund Family said...

Hey Girl!! can you please post a new belly picture, I'm dying to see the cuteness! How are you feeling? Only a few more weeks to go!

Lee and Becca said...

When you are 32 wks 5 days pregnant you have an excuse for not having your Christmas decorations out yet....

Also I like to have my Christmas stuff out RIGHT after Thanksgiving so I have plenty of time to enjoy it!

before you know it you'll be able to beat me with zillions of baby pictures!