One of the most endearing stories Chuck Colson shared is found in his book Loving God. He wrote of Myrtie Howell—a 91 year-old woman he met in an “old folks’ home” in Georgia.
Myrtie was born poor, had only one year of schooling, and was married at age 17. During the late 1930s, death claimed one of her children, her mother, her husband, and her father-in-law. Shortly after that she lost her home.
She worked at various jobs throughout her life to support herself and her children. Yet heartache after heartache came her way. Her youngest son died, and her oldest was in declining health. At that point, Myrtie went into spiritual depression. She was ready to give up, and prayed to die.
But the Lord instead spoke three words to her heart: “Write to prisoners.” Myrtie had no training or experience, but she knew she wanted to obey the Lord.
In the remaining years of her life, Myrtie wrote to hundreds of prisoners. “The real blessings, they’re in the answers,” she explained to Chuck. She showed him stacks of letters in her apartment.
“Oh, the Lord has just blessed me so wonderful, Mr. Colson. I’ve had the greatest time of my life since I’ve been writing to prisoners.”
It is never too late to answer the call to “remember the prisoner.” There are many opportunities for people of all ages to get involved in ministry to men and women behind bars—from in-prison ministry, to mentoring and preparation for those preparing to leave prison and enter society, to praying for those impacted by crime and incarceration. And Angel Tree offers a chance to serve families with children who have an incarcerated mother or father. To learn more about these or other opportunities to make a difference, visit our action page.