VOLUMEa OCTOBER 2002
October 10, 2002
This happens at least once per year and sometimes more. Today
my prison is on "lockdown". Everything is shut down, and all the inmates are confined to our cells.
At 6:30 this morning the wake-up bell sounded throughout the
facility, as it does seven days per week. 6:30 is the first official body count. Every corrections officer assigned to a cellblock
must go from cell to cell to count each man to make sure that no one has escaped or died during the night. Each inmate must
be awake and standing by his bunk as the officer goes past.
6:30 is the start of every prisoner's day, although I am usually
up earlier that this. And our kitchen workers are up at 5 a.m.
Anyhow, at 7:30 our cells usually open for the breakfast meal.
It is the same routine for all seven days. So when the cells did not open and the time began to reach 8 o'clock, we all knew
that a facility lockdown was here.
A lockdown is both a blessing and a curse. It's good for me
because now I have the whole day to myself. I don't have to to to my work assignment. I can rest, read and catch up
on letters. I also need to sew a shirt, which I've been wanting to sew for weeks but never seemed to have the time.
The curse, however is that later on teams of guards will have
to search each cell. they will search mine. Every single piece of property I have and every square inch of my cell will be
examined. Nothing is missed.
I'm used to this and I really don't mind. It is a change from
the norm, and every inmate gets the same treatment. But the hassle comes when I have to put everything back in its place.
It's like putting one's house together again after being hit by a hurricane.
October 11, 2002
THE SNIPER SHOOTINGS
I am still under a lockdown along with all the other prisoners
here. We may have one more full day of all confinement until this institutional search for contraband is over with.
My cell happened to get searched today along with those of
all the men in my housing unit.
The truth is, this week has been very difficult for me.
And this is putting it mildly.
Right now my heart is crushed. Each day has been a challenge
for me both spiritually and emotionally. The reason is because of what is now happening in the Wahsington D.C. area with the
sniper killings. This is a terrible tragedy. My heart has been so heavy for those who've lost a loved one. I pray for those
who are now suffering great loss. May God help them.
For me it is as if I am reliving a nightmare. I feel as if
my heart has been ripped out.
I am undergoing a lot of personal grief because the media keeps
mentioning my criminal past.
Especially in the New York area the media has been going crazy
over these incidents with their comparison making and other comments.
I have been praying about this situation. Like every one else
I can only hope that the person or persons responsible for these crimes are apprehended very soon.
October 13, 2002
Late yesterday our "lockdown" came to an end. It lasted three
days. All the inmates had been confined to our cells. I am expecially happy to now be able to take a shower. I was also able
to go to the chapel this morning for our worship service. It was good seeing the brothers as we all missed each other.
My cell got search just like all the other guys. I had no "contraband"
but I did lose about a dozen plastic hangers. These were the outdated kind that I guess someone decided are no longer permitted.
It's no big deal. I will just get the newer kind when I go to the commissary.
In prison one learns to make do. A certain item that has been
permitted for many years--like ball-point pens with a retractable point--can suddenly become ' unauthorized" the moment a
prison official decides that inmates should not have these anymore.
Again, it's not a big deal. We can still have the standard
ball-point Bic and Papermate pens. But if a man happened to own the kind of pens with the top that you can press down to bring
the point out or back in, he'll find that he will have to hand over his pens to a guard.
Meanwhile, this lockdown and search resulted in a big commotion.
Three .22 caliber bullets were found in another cellblock. It was a major find as far as contraband goes. The discovery was
even reported on the newspapers and on the radio.
No one knows who put the bullets inside of a hollow mop handle.
But they were found nonetheless.
Thankfully no one got hurt. Now it's back to the normal routine.
October 22, 2002
Weak and Weary
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of
the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
I must confess that I have been weak and weary, and struggling.
My heart has been overwhelmed. And this is nothing to be ashamed of. For even the noble King David, the anointed of God and
the sweet psalmist of Israel, had his time when he felt the same way. So I must be in good company.
The past several weeks have been difficult. My heart began
to fill with sorrow when the "Beltway Sniper Case" began to unfold. I felt no connection with this other than having to endure
the grief of having my own name mentioned over and over by the media, associating my name with evil.
Of course I know God's word. My old life has passed away and
Christ has long since made all things new. Still, I am human. I'm not a stone wall. And even though my life is now hid with
Christ, I can still experience pain. Even Jesus wept. I'm no different. I am not a "spiritual Superman"
In any event, I am far behind in my correspondence. I've had
to lay it aside for a few weeks now as I go deeper into prayer. I have been praying fervently several times per day that whoever
is doing this will soon be apprehended. I'm sure that millions of Christians are praying the same prayers.
October 25, 2002
"---they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the Lord
was falllen upon them."
1 Samuel 26:12c
I'm so happy! It's as if a dark and demonic cloud of death
has been lifted off me.
Yesterday I began to hear the news reports about two men being
arrested in connection with the "Beltway Sniper" shootings. It seemed to good to be true, but it was. And now I can thank
the Lord that this rampage from Hell has come to an end.
The Lord answered my prayers for the arrest of the ones who
were responsible for these crimes. Christians everywhere, I'm certain, were flooding God's throne with petitions for this.
Millions were and still are praying for the families who lost a loved one, too.
I believe, also, that the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall
upon those two men. (1 samuel 26:12c). They ended up sleeping for hours at an open rest stop along the Interstate while hundreds
of police gathered around their vehicle. These guys did not awaken until it was time for this ordeal to end.
In the bible there are incidenets where god caused people to
go into a deep sleep while He accomplished something supernatural.
One such story which comes to mind is that of King Saul and
his rival, the destined-to-be-king, David. the Lord caused Saul and a battalion of his troops to go into a deep sleep in order
to allow David and a few of his men to enter King Saul's camp, come right u p to h im as h e slept, and take Saul's spear
and water jug.
If God can put an army to sleep, He can surely do the same
with two criminals on the run.
October 27, 2002
God always seems to work in unfathomable ways. He takes the
situations which Satan has meant for evil, and turns them around for the good that he may receive the glory and honor due
Because of the sniper-spree shootings in the Washington, D.C.
area, the media began to mention me over the radio and on television again and again, to associate my name with evil. This
has been very painful, but the Lord has a plan to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
The renewed interest in my criminal past apparently caused
the folks at CNN (a media outlet) to re-air the enterview I did with Larry King. I couldn't be more pleased.
Out of all the interviews I have ever done, this one touched
more lives and resulted in more opportunities to tell others what Jesus Christ has done for me, than any other interview I
did previously or afterwards.
The re-airing of the Larry King interview came as a complete
surprise. I did not ask him to do this. I know however, that the Lord put it in Larry's heart to pull this from the archives
and use it again.
This program was first aired on August 16, 1999, and it was
shown again on October 26, 2002. CNN has now taken lt all over the world, even to the Middle East.
Jesus Christ was proclaimed and the devil is pissed. God has
won; the devil lost.
October 29, 2002
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.
God has taught me so much during this October month of sefferings.
Many times I felt the soaring pain of these fiery trials as they came crashing against my soul and spirit like wild waves
during a violent storm.
I cannot say I liked these hardships at first. But something
amazing has begun to happen..
I don't know when this inward revelation hit me, but suddenly
whithin the past week I found myself actually starting to welcome these afflictions.
Almost every day this month I had been crying out to the Lord
because of all the pain I was feeling at the time when this "sniper" thing was going on. The news media had thrown me right
into this mess.
Yet when this ordeal was over, the Holy Spirit touched my heart
in such a special way. He showed me how blessed and beneficial all my sufferings have been for my own growth, and for keeping
me humble and totally dependent upon the Lord Jesus.
I don't think I am ever again going to go through another trial
of my faith---(like this one) (or) there will be any trials yet to come that will ever disturb me anymore.
I have had a breakthrough: I cannot put it into words right
now. Maybe I will talk more about this tomorrow. But for now, suffice to say, I am actually learning to rejoice in my tribulations
More next time...
October 30, 2002
MORE ON SUFFERING
I want to finish this month's Journal by writing a little more
about suffering and the spiritual fruit it brings into our lives as Christians.
Through my hardships I am continually learning to walk by faith
and not by sight. By "sight" meaning not only what the eye can see, but actually, by my five senses.
I believe that it is a privilege to suffer for Christ. The
world hates me and despises my testmony. For my testimony, the story of what the Lord Jesus did for me, has already brought
hope, strength and encouragement to many people.
The devil is a sore loser and he cannot tolerate the fact that
one of his most effective servants of destruction---which is exacty what I was---has, through Jesus Christ, walked away from
him and escaped his clutches.
So I guess I catch the heat from both sides. There are those
who hate me because of my crimes. Then there are now those who hate my profession of faith in God.
Still, whatever tribulations that I must go through these days,
I am learning to echo what the apostle Paul said. I am to "glory in tribulations also; knowing that trilbulations works patience:
and patience, experience, and experence, hope" (Romans 5:3,4)
I am convinced that God is working to accomplish something
good in my life. He wants to bring forth the character of Christ in all His patience, mercy, and love. He is doing the same
inside of every Christian.
And while I do not like pain, hardship or difficulty, I am
learning to see these things as being beneficial to my growth.
Now I am ending my writings for October 2002.