UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
Jesus is the best friend anyone can have. However, Jesus is also the least found friend among prisoners. Only 30% of inmates receive mail from friends and family. That leaves 70% who don’t get any news from outside and just live the same old systematic life day after day. That means they will feed off of the 30% who do get fresh news and ideas. As those on the outside write and fill the inmates’ lives with hope and heartfelt goodness and thoughts, it touches others as well. It is so important for friends and family to write about what Jesus is doing in their lives. Many inmates think Jesus is just a religious symbol. Many others who know Him as their Savior need a deeper friendship with Christ. Friends and family can help an inmate to develop a deeper and stronger friendship with Jesus by example and frequent communication!
When communicating with your friends or loved ones in prison, keep in mind there is a large culture difference. It may not be so apparent at first but as time goes on and your loved one is in prison perhaps year after year, the difference will grow. Prisons have their own culture as you can sense from this book. Be patient and try to express things clearly and with tenderness. He sees things from a whole different perspective. There may be things that are very important to you that have no importance to him or visa versa. Things can be interpreted in different ways because of the environmentally created culture gap. The best way to communicate is with simplicity and encouragement. Try to see things from the inmate’s vantage point. Stay positive and uplifting.
Also, remember when writing there is a time gap between receiving and answering letters. It may be days or weeks before communication is received concerning a thought that was communicated. Many events, thoughts and feelings could have been experienced in the interim by either party. It always helps to keep copies of what you wrote last to your friend or loved one so that you can refresh your memory on what you wrote to him last before reading his response. Being a consistent good friend or family member to an inmate can be hard at times. It takes patience, energy, time and prayer. Think of it as a ministry or a way to serve God and help save a life for Him. If ever things get confusing in your communication, remember that you and your loved one serve the same God and have a common bond of love through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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