Happy Thursday all!
Sorry I missed an update last week, there has been some minor turmoil in the family that slowed me down. Good news though, I am locked in this week, and on top of that I am going to be posting the first actual letter to Brian today.
Unfortunately I don’t seem to have any of the letters from Brian’s arrest in 2015. I am going to keep checking because I know that they did start corresponding during that first prison stay. If I find any obviously I will share.
For now the first letter is from September 2, 2016. This means it was the final time that he was incarcerated, for the longest stretch of time. This is following all of the ups and downs of the previous prison stays. At this point Brian has had his change of heart and is focusing on what God is doing in his life, and what he can do to improve himself going forward.
I think it’s interesting that as I go through these letters, the one thing that sticks out to me the most is the positivity and hope. Pure encouragement. Curtis has mentioned to me multiple times that when it came time to writing these letters he didn’t use his words, he used God’s words. The first time he told me that I kind of nodded and shrugged, thinking yeah that sounds about right. That is what you are supposed to say right? “God spoke through me”.
The more that I read these letters though, the more that phrase is kind of resonating with me. Mostly because these words don’t sound like Curtis’ words. I sit across from him and listen to his old man grumblings every day. This is not to poke fun at him, he is a kind man with a kind heart. But when I compare the words that he puts in his letters with the way he normally talks, it doesn’t sound like the same person.
So that’s where I am at right now as I dig further into these letters. I am struck by the words, and can only imagine what they meant to Brian as he sat in a cell, with an unknown amount of time in front of him.
Battle!!! What is it about this witness (Jesus is Lord) that can make a difference to those that are in darkness? It is that we are warriors in God’s army, prepared to meet the forces of evil. Though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. Strongholds… think about what that word means. It is the cover for those on the inside that repeals an assault. Being there with those men is a battle too free them from the stronghold of darkness that covers their minds and hearts from the light shining by Jesus. Again I say that your witness is pulling down strongholds that covering to those men trapped in darkness. Be bold for God is with you today. Do NOT grow weary while doing good, but be encouraged that there are no boundaries that hold back God using you. Where you are I know it is difficult but we believe that is only for a season. What you’re doing will last a lifetime for the men you speak with daily on behalf of the LORD. Guard your heart daily, so taht you will not allow the enemy to use your carnal mind against your inner man. Be strong in the Lord and the power of his might.
I am waiting for the day of your release but I also understand that you are on a mission for God to those men with you. Tell Jesus Nino that I have him on my heart and not to be discouraged. Forget those things that are behind and press on to the high calling in Jesus. GRACE is there for Jesus to receive freely. He needs to just understand that it is God’s gift.
I have named your group the dirty dozen just like in the movie. Those men (in the movie) all were the worst of the worst but were used to bring down a German strong hold. In doing so they all gained their freedom. That is like what you have formed there. Battle all things that try to rise up and crush the men in that cell block.
Always be kind and respectful to those Officers charged with your detention. They have always known that they were called Peace officers. Change their opinion of what and how GOD can use one man to make a difference in their world.
I will say it again be the light always & fear not what man can do to you. Read Psalm 1:1-3 to remind your inner man of how the peace of God can keep you We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony.
We continue to look forward to your returning back to us but know that indue time if we do not waver God’s will be done.
Read proverbs 4:18-27, it is guidance for you and those with you. Break the words down slowly and study to know how God speaks to you through the holy Spirit. Repent of sin daily. For God requires a clean vessel to fill with Holy Spirit. Read Psalms 51:10-13. You are that Man! Pray about everything!
God Bless You Brother
As I go back and type those words out, two things stand out to me more than anything else. First, that at this point Brian is already on a mission to impact the other inmates around him in a positive way in the name of God. This is something that he has carried with him since getting out of prison. He is currently working on a mission trip to go speak to inmates in Belize sometime in the coming months.
The other thing is the way that Curtis puts in that section about the prison guards. This sticks out to me particularly because Curtis actually has a background in law enforcement. I think that that says a lot about Curtis and about his intentions that he is still trying to make sure that the guards are taken care of spiritually as well as Brian and his fellow prisoners. In a previous time, Curtis and Brian would be in opposition to eachother, each on their own side of the law. Now they are just brothers in Christ, looking out for one another.
That is something that has stuck with me this week as I have been working on and thinking about this. There’s a lot of turmoil in the world currently whether it’s economic, social, political, or whatever. Too many people on opposite sides screaming at one another and not getting to the root of the problem. Hopefully something can be learned from these two. In the darkest times, focusing on being a positive influence on the world around them.
For the other posts in this series click here