The following story is written by Jeff Freeman, a prisoner at the Pamlico Correctional Institution. It was forwarded to Prison Fellowship by Don Fulford, volunteer chairman for the Nehemiah Project, which seeks to “reach, reconcile, and restore the men at the Wake Correctional Center” in North Carolina.
When I transferred to this facility (Pamlico Correctional Institution) about a year and a half ago, I was worried that I would not be able to receive visits now that I was so far away from friends and loved ones. Being that most of those friends and loved ones resided near the Piedmont area of North Carolina, I figured there was no way most could make the six-plus hour drive to and from here often. So I kind of accepted the inevitable fact that I would not be seeing my family anytime soon, not to mention anyone else. But I prayed about this situation anyway. I prayed for God’s divine intervention. I asked Him to help me deal with not seeing anyone for a few years.
Then one day I received a letter from my minister in Salisbury, North Carolina. In his letter he mentioned that he had contacted another Christian congregation in this area, and that a guy named George would be “honored and blessed” to come visit me. Honored and blessed, I thought, how could one be honored and blessed to visit someone in prison whom they did not know? After all, in most instances, it’s a stretch to get folks to write a prisoner nowadays, what with the Internet and peoples’ ability to pull-up one’s record and conduct background checks, and therefore make a hasty judgment on one’s character kbased on that person’s lowest moment in life.
It’s a fact I know all-too-well: folks judge, “Christians” judge. That has been my experience over the years. Folks are simply afraid to reach out to prisoners for fear of being taken advantage of, or hurt, or both. But here a Christian guy from the nearby congregation mentioned he would be “honored and blessed” to visit with me. Wow, I thought, Who is this person? Who could this person be?
Needless to say, I added the brother to my visitation list. A week went by. Then came a letter from him. In his letter he said he would be visiting on the 10th, the following Saturday. He also noted that he would be praying for me. I was taken aback by bit all, really.
That Saturday came, and my name was called for visitation. I had no idea who George was, what he looked like, what to expect, or anything else. Nevertheless, I was anxious to meet this brother in Christ.
I headed to the visiting area. I went into the large visiting room and scanned around looking for this “George” guy. Was he old? Young? Black or white? I had no idea. I just knew he was a brother in Christ. I finally saw an older black man sitting alone at one of the tables. Other visitors had already occupied tables around him. I thought to myself, Is this the guy visiting me? Is this my visitor? He’s a black man; I’m white.
As I was processing all of this, the man stood up and held his hand in a welcoming gesture. I was struck—a black man visiting a white man in prison. I thought of all the racial stuff going on in our nation—the racially charged police shootings and riots. All of this went through my mind as I walked to meet this black brother named George. He was smiling—a huge grin lit up his face. I smiled back. We shook hands and sat down at the table together. And there we prayed.
We prayed, and the love and grace of Jesus made us eternal brothers. Sure, folks looked at us oddly. They watched us pray, though, and this truly warms my heart.
George continues to visit me often. And we continue to receive the quizzical looks from others. But the brotherhood and fellowship we share in Christ’s presence transcends all else. And the prayers we pray together let me know that Christ is working in miraculous ways. Praise God!
Be encouraged by Matthew 25:34-40. Go visit a brother or sister today. God bless!
To find out how you, like George, can provide encouragement and support to prisoners like Jeff, visit our get involved pages.