In prison, if there is one rule to live by it is this… there is always an unexpected element that comes up. In day two of the Hope event, there happened to be a morning lockdown for A cellhouse, that is the cellhouse I live in. I’m not exactly sure why, but noone was allowed to leave that morning. The good news is this didn’t spoil the whole day, we were allowed to leave at about 10am. The even started at 7:45am, so not all was lost.
The second day was a lot of fun. One of the highlights was an inmate Christian rapper that goes by Juice. Let me tell you, Juice has the skills in the craft of rapping. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to see this guy have a record deal in the future. He records his own music in the prison band room, has a producer and is continually working on his music. He’s found a way to be productive with his time. In the second day of the even, we got a little taste of two of his tracks. He performed them live. They were great… really good!
One of the speakers was a man named Joe Stewart. I really enjoyed him as I could relate to a lot of his story. He grew up in the Kansascity area and got involved in the club scene. He’s about my same age (I’m 30) He was really lost in the life he was living. At one point he was even close to death from his substance abuse. One of the big wake up calls he had was when his father called. They had not spoke for almost a year. His father told him that he was sitting next to a table of law enforcement officers that morning and over heard them say Joe’s name. He listened a bit closer and heard they were watching Joe’s house for drug trafficking. Talk about a wake up call! (Literally in every sence) Over time Joe changed completly. His story was one of change, strength, and Gods grace.
Joe actually wrote a book about his journey and what happened through grace in his life. He handed out about 60 copies to the inmates in attendance. I jus got done reading the book today. The story it titled “The Stones You Can’t Put Down.” By Joe Stewart. The stones you can’t put down represent your past, the things that have happened but are already written in stone. I have so much that I’d change about my past if I could. But of course that isn’t the way things are set up in this life. The stones that are in the future are yet unwritten, these are the other types of stones he talks about in the book. I’d recomend it as a great short read if your looking for a bit of spiritual inspiration on change and hope.
Joe happened to be the small group leader of the group I was assigned to. When we broke into small groups of about 6 to 8 inmates with out group leader, we were able to hear more about their story.
Today, Joe is clean and raising 3 children with his wife. He works as a missionary going places like India to preach to word. I am a HUGE lover of culture and travel. One of my favorite things was hearing his stories of his travels throughout the world. It’s something I could completly see myself doing someday.
The Relentless Hope events are so much fun!!! Spending half the day in the chapel area, able to congragate with others, eat really good food, and just relax is so much needed as a stress releaver to the constant noise and stress of prison life.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about this two day adventure as much as I personally enjoyed telling about it.
Blessing to you in abundance
Lansing Correctional Facility, Kansas