“Remember them that are in bonds…”

Alan is one of the incarcerated men to whom we write letters every Friday.  I have known Alan and his family for many years.  I brought him down to speak to my classes at Helping Up Mission before he began his incarceration in January 2008.  From that day until now, we have kept Alan on our daily prayer list and we write him regularly.  Recently, we received the following letter from him.  It speaks of his own spiritual walk, truly strengthened by his incarceration.  It also speaks of his appreciation for the faithful prayers and notes from the men of Helping Up Mission today – none of whom he has actually met. 

To the Men at Helping Up Mission.
God bless you all in His Son Jesus.  Let me take a moment to thank you for your encouragement.  Who am I that you would take the time to lift me up?  It is nothing I deserve I can assure you.  I’m just a bum saved by grace.  However this speaks on your character, that you would take the effort to consider someone like such as myself.
For those of you who don’t know me – my name is Alan…  I am in a federal prison…as a result of my involvement with narcotics.  I have a few years in the system and, unless God intervenes, I have a few more years to go.  And that is all right.  God is good all the time.
Sometimes we question that.  I mean it happens we fall on hard times or witness tragedies like the one in Haiti and question “how can anything good come from this?” Well I’m not smart enough to match wits with God on why He does what He does in situations I know nothing about.  Even in my own circumstances I don’t always understand but He has taught me to trust in Him with all things.  Where I have failed God remains faithful.  And I know that to be true.
I don’t know all of your situations.  I assume some of you are at the HUM because you understand help is needed while others may be there for circumstances beyond your control.  No matter how you got there is not important but what you do there is.  You can only get out what you put in.  The Bible says in Galatians that you reap what you sow. 
In my situation I stay busy.  Lots of people assume that I sit around watching TV all day or lay in my rack.  This is not my life.  I have a job and responsibilities even in prison that I have to be faithful over.  So if I’m slow in responding to your letters please don’t e offended.  Many times I’m not sure what to write.  I would only want to encourage you as you are an encouragement to me.  As well as assure you that benefit from your positive message.  It is just another example of how God remains good in a bad situation.  I brought the bad on myself but God is bringing me out of it.  Praise His name!
Some of you expressed a desire to write.  If you desire to write I’ll be glad to get back at you.  But I have a request tell me about yourself and where you are at in life so I can know the person I’m writing.  Don’t worry about spelling or grammar that doesn’t matter.  I’ll ask you to keep in mind that I am a Christian and you’ll be receiving positive responses that reflect the truth of the Bible as God has revealed it to me.
That doesn’t mean you have to be a Christian or even like the Bible.  I just want to let you know where I’m coming from and tell you that we can talk on those real life situations that we all go through on some level.  God is always relevant and working even if we don’t recognize Him.  The Bible is the standard of truth we have for living. 
On top of that I will continue to do my best to respond quickly to your notes.  Though I will probably continue to write generally.  Each of you has your own style and way of inspiring me.  Your words are always appreciated.  Take my gratitude personally even if I don’t ever mention your name. 

You can pray for Alan, too.  And…if he has inspired anything in you, you can let me know and I will pass it along to him.  “Remember them that are in bonds…” (Heb 13:3).

Pastor Gary Byers

Spiritual Life Director