"Letters from Inside" is a blog series featuring incarcerated women at Minnesota Correctional Facility–Shakopee, where Prison Fellowship® runs one of its Academies. Over the coming months, you will hear perspectives from women who are not only serving time for crimes but are now trying to live their lives for Jesus behind bars.
For more "Letters from Inside," click here.
JOY IN THE HEART OF A PRISONER
By Angelina of Shakopee, paraphrased as a letter
My name is Angelina, and I am incarcerated at Shakopee. I was asked to share with you about the joy I have, even though I am in prison.
As a prisoner, I find joy amid the second chances in my life. I live a simple life now, but I have an overflowing joy that puts a smile on my face.
JOY IN NATURE AND FAMILY
When I see birds out early in the morning chirping at each other, I find joy. When I see rain drops coming down to make things new, I have joy. And taking a walk outside to see the sky at sunset also brings me a quiet joy.
I find joy in my family. I love to hear how my children are doing, and it makes me happy to know they are healthy and happy on the outside.
JOY IN FRIENDSHIP AND MENTORING
I have been in the Prison Fellowship Academy™ at Shakopee for six years now. As a graduate of the program, I now walk beside new women who join us, praying with them and encouraging them as they grow in their faith. I find joy in impacting women’s lives and being able to bring them some joy.
When my mentor comes to see me, we are able to pray and laugh together. I have seen God answer not just my prayers, but the prayers of others as well.
Going through the Prison Fellowship Academy helped me to be the redeemed woman of God that I am today.
JOY IN FAITH AND GOD
But the greatest joy I have found is through communion with God. The true secret of joy is maintaining intimate contact with the Giver of life.
I feel so free and joyful just knowing that each and every day I serve God, and that I do that with others. When people ask me where I get my joy, I remind them of all that Jesus Christ had to endure—that He died so that we could have everlasting life. That in itself is pure joy, to know that our Father loves me unconditionally.
I find joy in many parts of my life, but ultimately my joy comes from my faith and my God.