Dear Brethren and Friends,
Greetings in the name of the Lord, the One Who says to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness so that in its full effect, we may be perfect and complete lacking nothing (paraphrase of James 1:2-3). Trials. We all have them. I have them – yes, even in jail. In fact, as I write this, the dorm TV, which just happens to be only approximately 4 feet from the foot of my bunk is blaring loudly (#65 on loudness) on a popular music game show (3 hours long!) whose messages are of . . . well, let’s just say the songs speak of things and situations which break all Ten Commandments including Jesus’ expansions of those commandments (Matthew 5:27-28 and I John 3:15 for example). Since I’m bunked due to the break time of our C.O., I am stuck sitting at the head of my bunk, eyes averted downward.
I asked one of the girls what the purpose of the show is. Her comment? FUN! Well, it’s not my kind of “fun.” Instead, I prefer carafes full of milk coffee with scones of any kind or fresh grated ginger bars or a slice of any of Isabella’s single layer cakes or almond joy cookies or Nana’s fudge or . . . well, you get the flavor picture) paired with rocking chairs and friends with the beautiful, sweet sound of their chatter. (I particularly miss my red carafe coffee times!) Now we’re unbunked and the girls have pulled up their chairs in front of the TV, clapping, laughing; cheering and shouting comments – all at the foot of my bed. Out of 15 girls only 3 are not watching it (2 are coloring and I am writing you all). “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” I Cor 10:13
Maybe you’re wondering as to why the TV is at the foot of my bed in the first place? You see, I’m living in a county jail that houses Federal prisoners, and county jails are different than Federal jails. HOW? I can speak of this one only, of course, and compare it to the Florida Detention Center.
One of the differences is that here I have to ask to use one pair of unit nail clippers (yes, they do disinfect them); whereas; in Federal we buy our own and are able to keep it in our room. In county, razors must be requested and are handed out only at specific times then are blade-checked upon return as they are not communal razors; whereas, in Federal, we can keep as many as we want in our room. In county, all medicine including my thyroid medicine is given via a nurse, and upon med call, those taking meds line up to wait our turn to approach the medicine cart so we can tip our pill, which is housed in a small paper cup into our mouth, chase it down with water, making sure we then show the C.O. who is guarding us our empty cup, our water cup, our open mouth, and under our tongue to prove we took our medicine. However, in Federal I can keep a 2-week supply of my medicine in my room. One more example is that in county, inmates can move around only in an enclosed area such as a dorm or a cell area with the door to the “outside” locked at all times, not necessarily the outside-outside, but rather any area outside that locked door, where in the Fed we can move around from our cells to various areas such as the recreation area, the computer room, or the cafeteria (in county we are served the food in our designated living area such as here in the dorm where I am living. Oh, the TV difference is that in county there is one TV per designated area (on my side of the dorm up to 16 women can live in an area the size of a 55 x 22 1/2 tile space with a tile being the size of a size 10 shoe with 1 TV housed on a 4 foot TV shelf) where in Fed, the TV is either in a separate closed room or mounted high and silent in the main room where it can be heard only through purchased headphones.
Many of you have asked me about being able to wear a head covering. At this present time, I still have not been granted the wearing of a head covering (according to 1 Corinthians 11). I have formally requested twice (and spoken to several persons in charge) to wear the veiling here at Niagara County Jail and twice (formally) at FDC to no avail. I am still hopeful especially because a sister in Christ has been instrumental in contacting the appropriate people here to help in the education process of the 5 W’s (5 W’s being: Who, What, Where, When and Why) of a head covering because the Anabaptist/Mennonite faith is not listed in the corporate handbook. Please continue to pray with me on this situation.
Last but in no way least I want to thank all of you for ALL that you have send me. If I have not sent you a thank you note it is because of one of the following reasons: I don’t know who the sender is because the jail rips off the return address (sometimes this happens even if the return address is handwritten); the package doesn’t contain the name of the one who sent the item (consequently, please write me separately to let me know that you sent me something); as I recently discovered I’m not putting enough stamps on the letters going out of the country, or my writing supplies were too few (however, for the month of April God through some of you who are anonymous to me has supplied that need – thank you so much!). May I say that letter writing is a ministry (especially during COVID when one cannot have visitors – oh, how I feel for those in nursing homes!) and I appreciate all of you writing to encourage me and uplift me in the Lord. Thank You! Thank You! And Thank You!
“The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
P.S. Just a reminder: MAILED ITEMS NOT ALLOWED
If your inmate is mailed anything other than a letter, postcard or greeting card it won’t get through.
However as stated above, because of the increased smuggling of drugs, more and more jails are only allowing pre-stamped or metered, solid color or white postcards to be received by inmates.
Examples of prohibited items include:
Stamps and stickers.
Musical greeting cards.
Altered mail such as perfumed or lipstick covered.
Paper with any type of stains such as grease.
Crayon, felt tip or hand painted drawings.