February 21, 2021 Update
Dear Brethren and Friends,
Greetings to all of you in the name of our Lord who knows all things. Today is the “Lord’s Day” and I find that I am experiencing it quite differently than I have in the past. Typically, Sunday is media- and technology-free (with the exception of viewing or listening to a sermon) and it is a day of quiet rest. As you can imagine, it is not quiet here and unfortunately there are no services for “Christians.” In fact, I was told that this detention center does not even have a regular pastor or any type of ministry for “Christians,” Catholics and Jews, yes, but Christians, no. Even the anticipated Bible study (see last update) fell through. Nevertheless, I will use my lock down time wisely, especially since I now have an “Annotated Reference Bible, which is allowing me to study God’s Word more in depth. I will also resist the temptation to check my email. (Oh! The pull is strong because this is the first time in 11 years when I can go to a computer that has instant connection to email. It’s like a child in a candy shop!) Confession: I did check email today . . . next Sunday I hope to remember to resist that temptation!
Again, I want to thank all of you who have been writing to me. Your letters have been a witness to others; allowing me to testify to the Truth that “Yes, there are unified bodies of Christ followers living and breathing on our earth.” What a joy it is for me to tell those inmates who ask “Why you got so much mail” . . . “We’ve been here longer than you and you get more mail than us. Why?” My mail comes from complete strangers and that those “strangers” are actually brothers and sisters in Christ, which makes us family in Christ.
When one suffers, we all suffer; therefore, I thank you for following Christ’s mandate to “visit those in prison.” Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31-46 is one of my most favorite admonitions of His and now that I’m living a life in prison, I can better understand the significance of His admonition especially as it relates to showing His glory; “so that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is a none beside Me . . . (Isaiah 45:6a). Because you are obeying Jesus, I am able to witness more effectively with cold hard facts: Bless you!!
Life on the floor is measured in segments. We’re locked down about 20 hours each day. There is a 10:00 a.m., 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. stand up count where the officers walk by our locked doors to check to see if we’re still alive. Meals are served roughly on time. After my door is unlocked, I line up on the main floor, take my tray, walk back to my room, scoop out any food I want and put it in my plastic container “bowl,” then walk back downstairs to bang my tray against the inside of the trash can in order to empty it of any unwanted food before returning to eat. I must say that in my room, I do contribute food to support the saying, “There are starving children in China, which could eat that.” Unfortunately, prison food is not conducive to my food allegories. I try my best to stay away from the 4 deadly whites, but that’s next to impossible here. The one food item that I do look forward to is tater tots. The first time I saw them on my tray, my Bunkie thought I’d gone crazy. It’s been 11 years since my taste buds savored those little bundles of processed shredded potatoes and I admit that I continue to look for them every mealtime.
Other than those tots, I only crave the fresh no mayo chicken salad (unfortunately, it’s a rare food item in here). I am grateful to be fed and I’m sure that many of my fellow inmates are eating way better than if they were “out on the streets” (lingo for life outside prison). Even though I miss cooking for and eating with Isabela, it is a treat to go to a “restaurant” every day.” 😊
I’m still waiting for a pack out (lingo for being transferred to your final destination upon being sentenced or for trial). According to the new laws, we as inmates are not permitted to know when a pack out will occur. We had anticipated that we would know roughly the date because we are supposed to have a COVID test and be quarantined for 2 weeks prior to transport, but that is not always the case (recently, two inmates were moved without those requirements being met). I do know (at least that’s what the Marshalls told me) that I will go to the Oklahoma Detention Center (not sure which one) to await another pack out to my designated prison in Buffalo, NY (for trial).
As far as I know there is no new information regarding either my criminal case or any civil case. I’m waiting on the Lord. In the meantime, I’m trying to serve Him where I am by “running in the path of God’s commands (Psalm 119) and by stay[ing] and strong in service to the Lord (David Malbuff).
In His Service,
I Corinthians 9:19