Adrian is now at Mule Creek State Prison.
His NEW address is:
Adrian Torres T30064
P.O. Box 409089
Ione, CA 95640
Please continue to pray for him as he settles into his new home.
Adrian is now at Mule Creek State Prison.
His NEW address is:
Adrian Torres T30064
P.O. Box 409089
Ione, CA 95640
Please continue to pray for him as he settles into his new home.
It was all wrong. Some could even call it blasphemous; but to me, it felt right. And not only did it feel right, deep inside I knew I needed to do it.
That morning I had been taken down, by the Ad Seg (the Hole) officers, to the phlebotomist. My doctor had ordered blood tests, and three full tubes of blood were being demanded of me. My arms’ veins cooperated nicely; the process didn’t take long, and I put on a brave front. Thirty minutes later I found myself back in my cell, reading my Bible.
As I read, my focus was off. My mind was not retaining anything. I found myself reading and rereading the same lines over and over. I closed my eyes, thinking of the three tubes of blood and wondering if they had anything to do with it. I got up and drank some water, then I stretched and took a few good, deep breaths.
I returned to my bunk and opened my Bible. About ten minutes into my reading I realized I was not reading where I had left off. I was not only in a different chapter; I was in a different book. But like a magnet to iron, my eyes kept reading the same phrase over and over again, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood.” I was reading in I Corinthians 11 about the Lord’s Supper. I knew I was in the wrong spot – but was I?
Being in the hole has removed me from so much I enjoyed doing with my prison family. One of those things was coming together once a month, with the English and Spanish groups, to celebrate our Lord’s supper. Having the blessing of being the main translator, I was given the opportunity to stand up front with the pastor. The beautiful saints who sat on the pews always – always! – touched me, deep in my heart.
Not only were there multiple races sitting next to each other, but the whole service was given in two languages. The roomful of once hard-core criminals, scars, tattoos, and all, taking communion together had always been a moment I loved. I always recorded those moments in my heart.
As I read “This cup is the new covenant in My blood.” it brought a longing, deep inside, to take communion. I began to weep. I could not explain the desire that erupted within me. It was a craving. A deep thirst. “Lord, I want that,” I said between sobs. Not only was I missing communion with my church family, I was missing taking communion.
I sat there, now with the light off, just praying. I didn’t use words, I prayed without words. As I did, I began to feel a motivation to take communion…but communion alone. I didn’t have any of the proper elements, so I dug into my bag of saved goodies and found a pack of saltine crackers and a small pack of fruit punch drink mix.
I laid a piece of paper on my bed. Placing the cracker on the right, I mixed the fruit punch mix with water and placed it to the right. It looked all wrong, but I didn’t care. I was being pulled by Someone to do it. I prayed as I sat there.
I cannot, and will not, say a miracle took place, but an overwhelming presence filled every cell of my being. I no longer thought I was taking communion alone. I gave thanks and broke the cracker. I ate it, then took a sip of the drink. The peace I felt caused me to shout out loud, “Thank You Yeshua!”
I broke out in song and sang for about thirty minutes. I sang songs half in Spanish and half in English. I’m sure I chopped and mashed many songs together, but I didn’t care. I was so happy that I had just been able to take the Lord’s Supper.
My experience reminded me yet again that even in the Hole, I am not alone. My Father has never left me, and continually reminds me of His presence.
I don’t suggest you take communion the way I did – with all the wrong elements, and alone. I know it should be done when the church comes together. But I also know that our Creator will not strike us with lightning if we don’t always get it right. And if you find yourself physically unable to take communion with your church family, why not take it with just you and Father? I’m willing to say that it will be a memorable experience. It was for me.
Adrian G. Torres
“Stand on the red-painted feet,” the officer ordered. “Don’t smile. This is not Sears Portrait Studio.” With my feet now on the red feet, I stood in front of a massive glass wall looking at a funny camera peeking through its side.
It was still early. An already-stressed-out officer came to my cell door. “Torres, get your jumpsuit on. We are going to take you to get your picture taken.” I quickly put on my shirt, socks, jumpsuit, and shoes. With a quick splash of water, I ran my fingers through my ever-growing hair. I was all set.
After two hours of delays and unexpected hurdles, I was finally taken from the holding cell to the photo department. Because I was an inmate from Ad Seg (the Hole), the path had already been cleared by several officers. Once inside, the officer gave me the order to stand on the red-painted feet. With my hands still cuffed behind my back I obeyed.
I stood there for about two minutes wondering when the bulb would snap. As I stood there, I overheard the conversation about me on the other side of the tinted-glass wall. “It’s a hassle bringing an Ad-Segger to take a picture,” the officer from the Hole was complaining to the officer behind the computer. “Why does Torres need a picture? His ID picture looks just fine.”
“Look at his old picture.” I assumed he was looking at the computer. “And then look at him now.” I figured he was pointing at the monitor that had my current image on it. “He has purposely altered his image.” I just couldn’t hold back a smile. I wanted to chuckle at his comment, but I knew I was not allowed to speak or make noise. So I contented myself with a slight grin. It was obvious he saw me because he told me not to smile because it wasn’t Sears. My smile quickly melted away, but inside the reason for the smile was still there. I wondered about the IQ of this officer. I had not purposely altered my image at all. The hair on my head and my facial hair had grown out because I had no access to hair trimmers. It was a consequence of being in the Hole.
We who are in the Hole grow hair – it’s what we do. And naturally our looks change. Yet, this officer had to understand my current caveman image would change again – sooner than he thought. What he didn’t know was that now that I had a cellmate, by rule we would share a shower for a total of ten minutes. As a single-celled person, I would only receive a total of five minutes to shower and shave. Yes, a total of five minutes! But now my cell mate and I would each get five minutes, and because we were in the shower stall at the same time, our total was ten minutes. While I used my five minutes to shower, he shaved. Then we would switch, and I would get five minutes to shave while he showered.
Since I knew one of my three weekly showers was falling on that day, I had already planned to shave all my facial hair. The officer who was updating my photo would actually find out I would need another. And that’s why I smiled.
As I write this I sport absolutely no facial hair, and look nothing like my ID. And it feels weird.
Although I had no bad intentions behind my altered looks, the Bible speaks of one who does change his appearance with evil intentions. The enemy. The devil and his demons will appear to us in many shapes and forms. He is the master of deception. And he will use the things around us to distract us from our walk with the Lord. The Bible says the devil will appear as “an angel of light.” But most of the time he will come to us through life’s daily events. He is a master at offering counterfeits, and hiding the truth, for he is the father of lies.
How do we see who is behind the mask? We must continue in truth – God’s Word. We must continue developing a true relationship with the One Who has no falsehood. And by knowing the truth, we will be able to identify what is false.
Be “on” guard, for the enemy will try to alter his image to catch you “off” guard.
……….enjoying my baby face………
Adrian G. Torres
The gods of the Ad Seg (The Hole) world control the doors. They open and close at their wills. No resident of the hole has any control over the opening and closing of the doors, but the residents do play a part in the process. Let me explain. In order to go through the door, the resident must first go through the small door.
Safety and high security are at the top of the agenda in the hole. No inmate steps outside his cell without being cuffed first. This is a must, no matter the distance that inmate needs to travel. From going to visiting, which takes about five minutes, to going to the shower (which is literally three steps from my door), I am cuffed. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
The choice to go through the door is mine, but the choice to open the door is theirs. The process is very clear, and the willing benefit greatly from it. The schedule of events outside my cell are known by the staff ahead of time, but we are only given a few minutes’ notice. If I am part of that event, an officer will come to my door. He will tell me about the event, for example a visit, by saying, “You have a visit. Do you want to go?”
Of course I can say, “No,” and the door will not open. But of course, I jump off my bunk with a smile from ear to ear and say, “Yes, sir!”
The door is made of heavy steel, and it runs on complicated motors and electronics. Behind a cage, down the tier, another officer controls the movement of the door with his space-age control panel. With only the strict orders of the officer at the door will the officer in the cage open it. But before the order can be given, I must do one more thing.
My door has a tray slot that can be slid open by the officer outside the door. The tray slot is tiny compared to the size of the door; it’s just big enough to push in a tray of food, or other items that will fit. Once I acknowledge that I do want to go to my visit I must then commit an act of obedience by turning around, giving the officer my back, then give him my hands and wrists. The officer then cuffs them securely. Once I’m cuffed, the officer gives the order for the door to open. With the door now open, I’m taken to what is for me a heavenly place – visiting.
This process is similar, but not quite the same, as the Gospel being offered in order to have eternal life. It all revolves around The Door.
As sinners born into a dark and fallen world, we have no choice but to live our lives without access to the Creator. We can imagine, meditate, and even read books about how beautiful heaven is. But those activities do nothing to grant you personal access. There is only one Door, and that is Yeshua – Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Perhaps someone in your life has invited you to go through that Door by sharing the Gospel. We must ask the Father to grant access to that Door – not the wide door the world chooses, but the narrow Door. When He answers our request and opens the Door, we become bondservants to the One Who holds the key. By going through the Door, we will have access to the Father and all He has to offer.
My analogy is not exact, I realize; but one thing is dead on. Without surrendering our lives to Christ and receiving Him as Lord and Savior, the Door remains closed.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Are you ready to accept the invitation? The offer will not always be available; time is running out.
…………….patiently waiting for my next visit……….
Adrian G. Torres
“I can’t send you back,” the counselor assigned to my case explained. “I’ll be transferring you. You’ll be moved within one to five months. While you wait, it’s going to be dead time.”
California prisons are greatly overcrowded. Facilities designed to hold 800 men are holding up to 1000. Due to the congestion, attention to rehabilitation and medical has been diminished. Through some court rulings, and some voter-approved measures, California has made efforts to release inmates who work toward their rehabilitations. Credits, as they are called, slowly build up and one can cash them in for days, weeks, or even months off a sentence.
A long list of ways to get credits – “Milestones” – is available. But in order to qualify, an inmate must be discipline-free and actively involved in the programs and work assignments that are available. Many now boast of the weeks they’ve earned, but there is a downside.
If an inmate gets a discipline, write-up, or gets sent to Ad Seg (The Hole), all credits get put on hold. In some cases, credits get erased.
While in The Hole, time is dead, meaning an inmate can’t earn credits, so zero progress is made toward release. Time in The Hole stands still. Credits earned get voided, and the reset button is pressed.
Serving “dead time” is not nice. It’s downright brutal, but the rules are the rules. I expected the counselor to remind me that I would be serving dead time, so I wasn’t surprised when he did. His attitude, however, was lacking. He almost giggled as he told me. He found it amusing, I guess. I didn’t react, I just listened.
I listened without worry because I knew something he didn’t know. I knew that “dead time”, for me, was really “alive time.” Dead time affords me a prime opportunity to seek a deeper relationship with my Creator. Dead time opens the doors for my thoughts – directed by God – to be put on paper sent out into the world. Dead time meant I could now focus on reaching the world with the Gospel.
Paul, the apostle, found himself doing a lot of dead time. He was constantly being thrown into prison; yet, from prison, in the ugliest holes of his day, he wrote a majority of his letters, which now comprise a large portion of the New Testament. These letters brought forth life in uncountable souls.
Although I can’t compare myself to Paul, I can identify. I can’t allow dead time to interfere with the calling from God I have received. I cannot, and will not, allow any wall, fence, razor wire, or dead time keep me from proclaiming the gospel of the grace of God.
Dead time is not dead time; it’s the perfect opportunity to grow, and share what you’ve learned with others. It may be that one thing I write will lead one person to pick up a Bible and learn of the One Who died for him. If so, then dead time is well worth it, for what was once dead is now alive.
Maybe you have a lot of dead time in your life, or you have been so busy that nothing really gets done. Don’t allow your time to be wasted. Don’t be idle. Use your dead time to enrich your relationship with the Lord. Prepare yourself to go further than before. And if you are too busy, clear your schedule for some dead time, for it is there you find life.
………nothing is ever dead with the living God………
Adrian G. Torres
“Five in – five out!” the officer bawled as he walked the tiers. It was Tuesday night, and that was our cue to have our laundry ready to exchange. The officer would be by soon, and he wanted us at the ready.
Every Tuesday night the officers in Ad Seg (the hole) come door-to-door handing out a roll of laundry. Each roll has five pieces: a shirt, boxers, socks, a towel, and a sheet. We are expected to return five pieces in exchange. The process is simple, but for a germ freak like I am, it’s stressful.
Laundry exchange day is like playing the lottery. We have no choice of the roll that is shoved into our cells, or the sizes of the clothes in the roll. Plus, the department that launders the clothes must use little water, no detergent, and jam-pack the clothes into the machine. The dark, stained clothing tells that story well. Winning a clean or newer item in the “Laundry Exchange Lottery” is rare, but when it happens we feel like luck is on our side.
I was ready with my five pieces when he got to my door. He slid the small tray slot open and squeezed the roll in. After it was in, I slipped out my five pieces, one by one, counting as I went. “I like it when you guys are ready,” the officer said as he moved to the next cell. I smiled out of courtesy, then turned my attention to my roll. It sat on the foot of my bunk like a burrito. I stared at it for a few more seconds, then picked it up.
A towel wrapped around the outside kept the roll together, and it smelled like a skunk. Its gray-brown color screamed “No detergent EVER!” I dropped it onto the floor. Then I began the “peel.” The boxers were next. I pinched the waist, and began to reveal my prize. They were a little brown, with a heavier brown color in the rear, but the worst is that they were two sizes (at least) too small. The boxers joined the towel.
Socks. They were tucked one into the other in a ball. That ball of socks lay directly on top of the last item, the sheet. The nicely-folded sheet surprised me by its very bright white appearance. I was excited, but first I needed to look more closely at the socks. I placed the sheet on the foot of my bed and refocused on the ball.
With two hands I unballed the ball and pulled out the first sock. It had holes in the toes and the heel. Plus, it was not a state sock – it was someone’s personal sock thrown away into the dirty laundry. The second sock was a well-worn state sock, but there was no way I could put my foot into that quagmire of germs. The socks joined the boxers and the towel.
My gaze then turned to the bright white sheet. I stood there in awe that somehow this beautiful white sheet made it into the hole. A passing officer noticed I stood there, with a contented smile on my face, looking at my bunk. He came close to the window, saw what I was looking at, and with an evil giggle said, “Looks white, huh?”
Looks white? His words startled me. There was something I didn’t know yet, but he did. “Sure does!” I replied. He walked away, and I could hear him laughing as he disappeared from view.
As soon as he was gone, I reached down to pick up the sheet. Nothing appeared to be wrong with this white, perfectly-folded sheet. I lifted it up to my nose and smelled it. No musky smell. No skunk smell. Actually, no smell at all.
Maybe the officer was trying to play with my mind. They like to do that. “That must be it,” I said to myself, as I grabbed two corners of the sheet and shook it open. A nice “snap” signaled its unfurling, like a flag on July 4th.
The horror before my eyes actually elicited a girly scream from me. Dropping the sheet, I stepped back. What was THAT? I had to look again.
I picked up the sheet and closely examined it. A large blood-brown stain in the shape of a body filled the middle of the sheet. Around the large stains floated smaller stain circles.
Either someone had bled to death on the sheet, or it was rusty from sitting on a steel shell while it was still damp. Either way, the spooky stain gave me goose bumps. How could such a sheet, promising so much with its bright white edges, hide such an ugly, dead stain on the inside? This sheet was a two-faced hypocrite! Nicely folded, it looked perfectly put together, but inside it hid an ugly secret.
I think back to my life before I knew Christ. My polished life appeared to be perfectly put together. My friends often said they wished they had my life. Neighbors would wonder how I did it. My perfectly folded edges gave a beautiful impression. But what people saw was just that – the edges.
I knew how ugly and dead my life really was. I put as much effort into hiding my stains as I did looking clean. The juggle was dangerous, but it was all I knew. God, however, didn’t need me to unfold my life. He knew how dead and ugly I was inside. My perfectly-folded white edges didn’t fool Him. My empty soul and dead spirit could not be hidden from the all-knowing Creator.
Praise be to God that His love was not deterred by the real me. Not only was He there, He sent His Son to die for me – to save me. And the blood that He shed washed me clean, inside out.
What was stained and dead was made alive and clean. A whole new me was born, and there was no longer a need to hide. My shame was gone and my hope was born.
Our Creator wants to do the same with you. Are you ready to stop being a hypocrite? Give your ugly and dead life to the only One Who can change it.
……………….still playing “Laundry Lotto” every Tuesday……….
Adrian G. Torres
The heat was unbearable. My body didn’t want to peel itself off the bunk. I tried to convince myself that maybe today I could take a break and just veg out….until I saw him.
He was all alone and scurried frantically about. He moved left. Then right. Forward. Then left and right again. I was intrigued and soon found myself mesmerized by his movements. His rhythmic walk invited me to join him.
I have lots of time on my hands, as I wait in Ad Seg (the Hole) for my transfer. I have set a routine to sweep, then damp-wipe my cell floor four times a day. A clean floor helps keep the rats and roaches out. Plus, having a clean floor gives me the freedom to walk barefoot, and even sit on the floor.
So it was a big surprise when I spotted a small breadcrumb right smack in the middle of the cell. I noticed it from my bunk, but in my heat-induced laziness I decided to wait until later to pick it up. It was even more of a surprise to see the lone black ant dance its way to the crumb. His walk-dance was impressive. He knew the crumb was there, but he didn’t know how far. Finally, his persistence paid off – he reached it.
With full determination, he examined the morsel, which was at least ten times the size of his little itty-bitty body. But because of his purpose and ambition, he did not let the size of the bread stop him. He pushed. He pulled. He knocked it left to right, then right to left. He climbed on it and tried to fit it under himself. He tried upside down, then downside up. When none of these worked, he began pushing and pulling again. His activity was non-stop. This ant was single-minded. He was set on taking the prize with him. He didn’t care about the heat. He didn’t care about the distance. He didn’t give up. No, “lazy” was not part of his ant vocabulary.
As I stared in amazement at the tiny black ant, I began to laugh at myself. I said to Father, with a smile of joy on my face, ”OK, OK Daddy. I get it. I need to learn from the ant.” I then jumped off my back, washed off all the stickiness, and prepared myself for a day with a purpose. I needed to focus on God’s work for me, and do it with joyful determination and ambition.
No matter how big the challenge, or high the price, I needed to push, pull, drag, and jump on it. I needed to run the race; laziness wasn’t going to get me to the finish line.
How often are our hearts not set? How often do we approach our lives with half-hearted purpose? We put our hand to the plow but then look back. This is true of our daily tasks, but even worse, it’s true in our service to our Lord.
Seeing the ant put his full heart into his job inspired me to do all things for a whole purpose, or not at all. I need to be like the purpose-driven ant.
……….looking for lessons from a roach, too………
Adrian G. Torres
Scars left from an abused life were front and center. Ugly gray cement dots the walls in a vain attempt to patch holes, cracks and years of wear. This cell is truly sad to look at.
I’ve lived in cells since 1999, and I have seen many. When it comes to the real estate of cells, I’ve lived in some nice ones (if that’s possible) and some poor ones. But in a cell to which one is assigned, one tries to clean and care for it. That cell becomes home, and homes need tending.
The Administrative Segregation Unit (The Hole) cells are far from “home.” Men get tossed in temporarily, and hardly ever under favorable circumstances. Cleaning and maintaining a livable cell is not top priority; and the anger, sadness, and frustration get taken out on the cell.
The cell suffers horrific abuse.
Walls sport writing and drawing. Paint is chipped. Years of kicking, and repairs, leave half-hearted patches that begin to crumble. Bunks start to tilt away from the wall. Stains build up on the sink and toilet. The floor becomes rough and abrasive from years of scuffling.
The rating of a cell in the hole is a solid zero. No inmate, if given the choice, would ever pick a “hole” cell as a “home” cell. The cells in the hole are nearly worthless. They carry too much baggage.
I realized today that my life is much like my cell. My history is also filled with scars and abuse – delivered by me. My worldly ways brought a lot of abuse – spiritual abuse – to this life. Every scar tells an embarrassing story. Every tattered piece of my past is a monument to a life without Christ.
Ego has lived in me, never caring on whom it stepped. Pride has visited often. Greed left its sticky claw marks by overshadowing all else. A trail of broken hearts spoke of lust. The baggage of this life piled higher than one could see. My life was truly worthless.
Although this cell is sad, ugly, scarred, and scratched in more ways than one can count, I have been able to make it home. I have used the cell’s defects to my advantage. I embrace each scar, and see the beauty behind the scratches on the walls.
My broken, heavy-with-baggage life was worthless too, but God still took me in. With cracks, scars, and plenty of history, He still chose to save me. He now lives in me. He uses my defects for Himself. Embracing each scar of my life, He calls me a son. This one worthless vessel is being filled by the all-loving Creator. He is remodeling my vessel to hold more of His love, for His own glory.
I, too, am using the time in this cell to prepare myself for God’s bigger plan for my life. The ruggedness of this cell has served as sandpaper, to rub the edges off of me – the edges that weren’t serving God. And the smoother me has begun to love more, and cut less. Thanks be to my Creator for seeing value in this once-worthless soul. Because of Him, I am a useful tool in His hands.
At times we feel we might have a past that is too ugly, too scarred, to be useful to God. But never forget that God didn’t save you because you were perfect. He saved you as you were. Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Luke 5:32. He washed you clean from all your sins, through the blood of His Son Jesus. He chose to make you His home. And he will use you, scars and all, for His purpose.
By doing so, Father will make a unique tool of you, reaching and touching more lives than you ever could have imagined. Don’t focus on your past; God will live through you. And you will see how your life will be a witness to many.
Scars and all.
……..from my five-star accommodation……
Adrian G. Torres
It’s been two days since my finger was ripped apart (okay, okay….it was only a tiny piece of skin that got torn off, but it felt like it was bitten off, chewed, and swallowed by a Viking), but I still struggle to hold anything with that hand. Everything lacks balance, and is clumsy. It’s truly frustrating.
I never realized that although my arm works fine, without the use of my finger the signals it sends to my hand aren’t obeyed. I can’t accomplish with one hand what both hands can accomplish. The pace is much slower, and I waste energy. Sometimes, in frustration, I give up.
God’s Word tells us the “two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.” Ecclesiastes 4:9. I have learned this to be true from my current injury, and also from the love and support I receive from you.
This year has been a challenge. Prison tried to extinguish my joy. At times, in my own strength, I struggled to stay afloat. But the strong flow of comments kept pulling me back. With one hand tied behind my back, I felt moving forward in ministry was impossible; my one-handed labor yielded small return. God’s power and strength was always there, but my effort was for naught. And, through it all, you were there, ready to join in my labor. Not only have you been my right hand, but you have been a brace for my left as well.
I thank you for not giving up on me. My grip was loose, but with you, my grip is now stronger than ever. You have been the faithful fingers of this ministry. Without you, nothing could be accomplished. The message God has given this ministry has reached all over the world, because of you.
Obviously I am deeply thankful for many things. God being in my life is number one, yet this month I also wanted to thank you, because I am more aware than ever that without you my labor is in vain. This ministry would struggle, become frustrated, and eventually give up. You are an essential part of this ministry, and my support. Because of you, we have realized a good return.
Those two words cannot describe my gratitude, and so I pray that God’s blessing fall richly on you for all you’ve done to keep this ministry not only alive, but moving forward.
…….wishing I had a Band-Aid…….
Adrian G. Torres