Adrian Torres Update

Adrian is at Mule Creek State Prison.

His address is:

Adrian Torres T30064
D17-C204-2 up
P.O. Box 409089
Ione, CA 95640

Adrian covets your letters, and please continue to pray for him as he serves the Lord in a California State Prison.

The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**
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Labels

“The labels came off these.”

The store manager held up two cans of roast beef. “They are not old or expired. The labels came off, that’s all.”

I was a bit suspicious, but I only had $8 to spend (my monthly earnings for working 150 hours) and I wasn’t going to debate the person who knew her product. “Okay, I’ll take them,” I said to her. I also added two packs of Peanut M&Ms and a bag of refried beans (dehydrated.)

I walked off excited, thinking about the wonderful roast beef I would be enjoying that night. And to go with it, a nice-sized helping of beans. For dessert, M&Ms.

At night I took out one of the unlabeled cans and heated it up in my hot pot. I prepared the beans by adding 3 jalapenos (sliced in wheels) and 7 yellow hot chilies. (What? I’m Mexican.) I opened a pack of M&Ms as I waited.

About 15 minutes later I removed the very hot can out of the boiling water and prepared it to be opened. My mouth watered just thinking about the delicious roast beef that waited inside.

I took the can opener and clamped it onto the lip of the can. My mouth now watered even more. The can opener’s one claw pierced violently into the lid, causing it to bleed out the juices that were trapped inside.

Seeing the juices bleed onto my fingers brought of tsunami of saliva in my mouth. I felt rabid. Animal-like. Very Fred Flintsone-ish. So I cranked the can opener even harder. Even more hot juices majestically flowed down my fingers. Such a beautiful mess.

Too much of the can’s nectar was on my fingers, so I paused the cranking to lick them.

Strange. It didn’t taste like roast beef juice. So I took another – but slower – taste. Yup, it wasn’t roast beef but beef stew. My mouth went dry.

I finished opening the can and confirmed what my taste buds were telling me. What a letdown.

I don’t dislike beef stew; it’s just that I had my heart set on enjoying roast beef. I still ate the beef stew with thanksgiving, but it wasn’t the same. Even my heat-packed beans felt bland.

Labels on cans are important. I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll never buy unlabeled cans again.

Labels are good for many things, like for organizations. Clothing. Gas or diesel. Men’s and Women’s restrooms. Labels are good, but not on people. Labeling people is very hurtful.

When we label, we judge, and make ourselves better than those we label. If the label is ugly enough, it causes the “labelee” to be boxed in.

As an inmate I have been labeled many things by staff – by other inmates – by society – and even by my own family. The worst label, however, is that which is placed on inmates the minute they are sentenced. Murderer. Molester. Rapist. Thief. This is the label you are known by from that day forward. A label one can’t remove. This is the label other inmates use to judge who you are. Eventually this label causes separation, hate, depression, and violence. This is one of the reasons prisons are so full of hate – because some crimes – sins – are viewed more favorably than others.

The night of my Mystery-can Surprise, after eating my beef stew, I sat on my bunk (yes, while eating my second pack of M&Ms) thinking how Jesus hung around a whole bunch of labeled people. He purposely befriended tax collectors and sinners, two groups with the ugliest and lowest labels in His day. Yet He publicly was seen with them and never really cared what others thought.

The Pharisees did their best to discredit Yeshua by pointing out how He hung out and ate with them. But what the Pharisees didn’t care to understand was that Yeshua left heaven to find, and dine with, the lost – the labeled. It wasn’t a surprise to Him. Yeshua knew and expected others to judge Him for his actions. Yet He continued anyway.

He wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty with the outcasts. He purposely embraced them to change their labels from “Sinners” to “Saved.”

I wonder how many of us are purposely staying away from the labeled? Not wanting to be affiliated with the outcasts? Shying away for the sake of our reputations? If we are to be like Jesus, and are His disciples, why aren’t we seeking the labeled?

You probably know someone, or have heard of, a labeled person to whom you could actively reach out, yet you don’t. Why not? Are you better than he is?

Let’s not forget that we too had the “Sinner” label on us. Yet Yeshua tore it off and graced us with a new label, sealed by His Holy Spirit, that reads “Saved.”

There are many labeled souls out there who are waiting for your non-judgmental love.

… sticking to cans with labels …
Adrian G. Torres

 

 

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Kites, Virgins & Failure

Kites.

Kites are notes written on small pieces of paper.

They are intentionally small so that they can’t be easily detected by the authorities.

Today a kite flew under my door. At first I didn’t know who sent it, but in truth it really didn’t matter. What mattered was what the message said inside:

Adrian, how are you homie? Since you are a man of the cloth, I know you will be able to answer my questions. First, if I become a Christian, do you think the man upstairs will get me out of prison? And second, if I start reading the Bible, what parts do I need to read to make the the big man love me?

The note was signed, “With deep respect, El Loco.” I wasn’t sure if I knew the guy, but I was certain it was one of the new guys that arrived seven days ago. El Loco lived in another building, which made the note even more interesting because he had gone through a lot of effort to make sure the kite arrived at my cell.

I’ve had other inmates ask me similar questions in the past. It’s actually a pretty common misunderstanding. Some think that if they become a Christian, God will automatically swing open the doors for them. But as you and I know, it’s not that simple.

God forgives our sins, and makes us whole again, but we must still reap what we once sowed while we lived in that sin. If becoming a Christian would swing the prison gates open just like that, then everyone in prison would be instant believers. There wouldn’t be any more people in prison. But it’s not that simple.

It’s always hard to answer this kind of question. Like I said above, if I answer yes to his first question, then everyone would falsely become a Christian hoping the gate will fly open for them. But if I would answer no, then the interested man might begin to doubt the power and love of God.

So how did I respond? I found him on the yard the next day and tried my best to explain the Gospel and what it truly meant to be a Christian. Sadly, he wasn’t interested in the God of the Bible. What he was looking for was a genie in a bottle.

Weeks later I ran into him in the chapel. I noticed he was walking out of an Islamic service. “Hey, Loco, how are you?”

“Oh, hey homie, I’m doing good. I’m now a Muslim. They couldn’t promise me Allah would open the doors, but they said, as a Muslim, I now have a boat load of virgins waiting for me in heaven. So cool, huh?” He actually said this with a convincing smile..

I knew it was a lost cause to try to correct him there and then. I decided it would be best to talk to him when he wasn’t surrounded by 20 other Muslim men that were big enough to rip my head off with one strike.

I’ve not yet been able to talk to him in depth. He’s been neck deep in scheduled prayers and learning to read the Koran. Sadly, I think he will never make the time to hear the truth.

It all started with a kite … and yet I believe I failed him. When he reached out for answers I failed to give him the direction he needed. Now he is traveling down the road that will not lead him to heaven or to a boat load of virgins, but to hell.

One of the worst feelings I’ve ever known is the feeling of failure. And in this case I failed Loco and I failed God.

Not a happy ending
Adrian G. Torres

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Hard to Like

“Do you get angry at your cat for scratching you at times?” My question surprised him. He didn’t know I, or anyone else, knew about his kitten.

“How you know?” he questioned me, but with a smile.

“Who told me is not important here. Just answer my question.” I wasn’t going to let him get off the subject. He had been complaining to me about his neighbor, not just today but for weeks now. And for weeks I had no wisdom or advice for him, until I found out about his cat.

His neighbor is like most in prison. Most were raised by the streets, not parents. Manners are void. Pride and selfishness are great. Loud is the only level they know. Caring about others is false and many times absent. In truth, most in prison act and live like beasts. It’s just in their fallen nature.

“No,” he answered my question, knowing I wasn’t going to give up my source that easily. My kitten doesn’t know any better. When we play around she gets a little rowdy at times, and scratches. It’s who she is and what she does. She is an animal, a wild prison-cat animal.”

“But do you get mad at her?” I asked again to make sure he would understand the point I was about to make.

“Can’t,” he said.

I used his explanation of the kitten’s natural rowdiness to make my point. An animal or beast knows only what it knows. It acts like an animal because it is an animal. His kitten scratches because it’s in her natural being to do so. And, even when his wild prison-kitten grows up, it will continue to be an animal.

Just because a street-raised man is now in prison doesn’t mean he now has manners. A dead soul doesn’t become alive just because his neighbor is a Christian. Their nature is who they are. And what they are is dead. Children of a dead, animal-like world. They can’t help being, and acting like, animals. It’s natural to them.

I reminded my cat-loving friend that he and I once were like his neighbor. Our animal, beast-like ways were part of our dead natures. Not only offensive to others around us, but most importantly, toward God. Our manners were void. Our pride and selfishness were great. Our sins were loud. And our care for others was empty. It was all about us and our desires to fulfill our lives with everything worldly. Shaking our fists toward our Creator and scratching at those He sent to show us the way.

We were beasts, animal-like. Dead. It was our nature. And yet, even with all our beastly ways, Abba Father still gave us His Son. Yeshua freely and willingly went out of His way to love us.

“So what you’re saying is for me to stop complaining and start loving my problem neighbor?” He knew the answer already. But he asked me anyway.

“Love him like you love your cat,” I answered, almost laughing. But he understood.

We all have our hard-to-like neighbors in our lives. They can be our bosses, co-workers, teammates, even our own family members. It’s easy to get mad at them, even trashing them by complaining to others. We reason and make excuses for our anger and frustration.

However, as children of the living God we are to love our hard-to-like neighbors as Yeshua did (and continues to do) for us. Our witness to them, by loving them, just might be the only gospel they will see and come to know.

“So,” my friend was burning to know. “Who told you about my kitten?”

“Duh!” I said with my eyes crossed. “You did!”

“What?!”

“Your arms are all scratched up. Your neck has scratches too. You now collect the state’s mystery lunch meat from everyone. You hate the meat. It was obvious, to me, you either had a cat or you had gone mad.”

He looked at his arms and said, “Oh, I see what you mean!!”

… thanking God for loving this animal …
Adrian G. Torres

(UPDATE: The very day I finished writing this story, my cat-loving’s hard-to-like neighbor was moved, by the officers, to another building and cell. Guess whose neighbor he is now? Mine. I guess I must practice what I preached.)

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Rescued

Martho is viewed as a hero. The pride of our old Jurassic tier (hall of cells.) He knows he’s dearly loved, so he struts like a celebrity. It’s rare that one of us doesn’t offer him a meal at least once a day. Martho always openly accepts the meals with glee.

Martho doesn’t stay put for long; he is always  active, coming in and out of the building dozens of times a day. Even with a well-rounded belly (from all the free meals he eats), he still moves with light feet and acrobatic agility. I’m not sure when he sleeps because at all hours of the day Martho can be spotted roaming around.

About six months ago Martho was found all alone, in a dark corner, caring the best he could for his wounds. His friends and family had turned against him, attacked him, and left him for dead.

When Martho was found he was thin, shaking, and barely breathing. Martho was given simple first aid to clean the wounds, along with a good warm bath to clean every inch of him. And some very good food to give him nutrition. (Side note: when Martho was found, we thought he was a Martha … but quickly learned he was a Martho.)

Martho has been a key ally in the battle to control our rat problem. Almost daily Martho is seen with at least three rats in his mouth. Martho has a natural-born instinct to trap and kill rodents. It’s not a surprise to us for Martho is a cat; one of the many that live in the small, dark wrinkles of this aging prison.

I’m not sure why we all love Martho as much as we do. There are dozens of prison cats all over, so why Martho?

I think it’s because Martho’s story reminds us of ours. As inmates in a prison, it is obvious that somehow we each lost our way. In our lost journey we ended up in life’s dark corner, drowning in our sins. Trying to care for our oozing wounds, choking from the stench. Hopeless. Future-less.

Yet in that dark corner Abba Father reached down and rescued us from death. He gave us heavenly first aid and anointed us with His holy healing oil (the Spirit.) He washed us in Yeshua’s blood and cleansed our filthy rags, making them as white as snow. He saved us, adopted us into His family, and has been feeding us His Word.

When I see Martho, I take a quick second to thank God for saving me from death’s grip. If it were not for His love, grace, and sacrifice I’m not sure I would still be alive.

Have you taken the time to thank God for rescuing you from death’s grip? Life is so busy at times that we forget from where Father rescued us.

How about you thank Him now?

… proud of being a rescued one …
    Adrian G. Torres

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Starving Inmates

Most inmates are starving. Hungry to be filled but no nutrition to be found. Going from one place to another looking for something to quench their appetites. Unfortunately most inmates die hungry.

You would think I was talking about food, but I’m not. To be perfectly honest, California prisons feed us very well. The food might smell and taste like rotten dog food; however, three meals a day is much more than some families eat today.

So what am I talking about? Spiritual starvation. Inmates are inmates not because their crimes got them here, but because their longing to fill that spiritual hunger drove them to drugs, alcohol abuse, crime and pride. And that drive to fill their void got stronger by the day. It became so normal to wake up each morning with spiritual hunger pangs that it became part of their natural lives. It numbed them to the consequences of their quests to fill their hunger via drugs, alcohol abuse, crime and pride. They continue to seek ways to fill that empty void. They find ways to use drugs. They become master brewers of fruit to make alcohol. And they even turn to homosexual activities to fill the hunger pangs within.

It is a sad reality. A reality that is an opportunity for us who are full with God’s love and grace. In Proverbs 27:7 it says “He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.”

Now, I know this verse is used to teach that a man  who is rich and has it all is not moved by the simple things in life, and a person who has nothing finds pleasure in the simple things of life. But I believe this verse can also be taught a bit differently. Basically, when one is full, then he will not be hungry. Nothing tempts you because you are full, content, not in need of more. However, when one is hungry, even things that don’t taste good (like prison food) will be delicious.

I can testify that prison can drive you to participate in things that  you never intended to do, yet gave in to because at the time even the bitter tasted sweet. This is why Christ is very important in prisons. Because if we can fill the hungry souls of these inmates with Christ’s love, mercy and grace they will find that they will be too full to even take a second look at something else.

What I mean is when we fill our lives with God, we will not be tempted to sin. Filling ourselves up with the love, joy, and peace of our Lord will give us the foundation to resist temptations, impure motives, adultery, immorality, addictions and even sin-driven depression. However, if one does not have God and this goodness in him,  he will always be seeking ways to be filled with ungodly things, making excuses and convincing himself that even the bitter tastes sweet.

Please pray for those inmates and ministries that are working with the hungry and showing them how to  find the Eternal Bread and Living Water that Christ has to offer. It is not easy work. Unfortunately, most that have been living hungry for so long have now gotten used to it – wanting to seek no further than their own vomit.

Please pray that the Holy Spirit will pour His power upon all the prisons and the hungry that live within their walls.

–Adrian Torres … not hungry (spiritually)

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Better Than 90210

“This prison should be torn down,” expressed brother Javier in a semi-angry voice. “The kitchens are rat infested. The cells stink like rust. The water is a shade of brown and tastes like urine. Most of the staff is rude. This place is a class A dump!”

I couldn’t blame him. Technically he was right. This prison is an older prison and older prisons tend to have a long list of inhumane sub-par problems. Compared to other prisons, this place can be considered a dump. No argument there. However, the day Javier expressed his gripe to me, Father had taught me a lesson in the morning that now could be shared with Javier.

As I do most mornings, I read my Bible and meditate on what I’ve read. On this particular morning I felt a strong desire to read the whole letter to the Ephesians. So I did. Once done, I sat in the quiet still of the new morning, digesting all six chapters of what I had just read.

My mind raced back and forth from nugget of truth to nugget of truth found in this awesome letter to the Ephesians. However, my heart was not fully at peace. There had to be something important God wanted me to see that I had not yet grasped. So I turned my handy book light back on and started to reread Ephesians.

Three verses in, the answer hit me right between the eyes. I noticed that even though Paul was in prison – in a dump of a prison – I could not tell or feel any ungrateful or negative attitude coming from him. He had all the right to complain about the unfair treatment he had received, and about the true dump he was in. Yet he chose to set his hope, sights, and trust in heavenly things. His circumstances would not snuff out his joy in the Lord.

That morning I decided to write down a list about the beautiful things this prison held. The same list I pulled out from my Bible and showed Javier. “This list that I hold in my hands,” I explained to Javier, “is a list showing me why this prison is better than Beverly Hills 90210.”

He thought I was joking, until I started reading it:

I live in a gated community.

Free weekly laundry services.

Three square meals a day, rain or shine.

Private cooks and chefs.

Twenty-four hour guards, seven days a week = A+ security.

Private fitness area.

Private medical care 24/7.

Rent-free room and board, utilities included.

Million-dollar views of the Chino Hill mountains.

First-class union-hired maintenance workers (i.e. highly-paid handymen).

After reading my list I reminded Javier that if we dwell in the heavenlies, even in a dump of a prison like this we can escape our circumstances and focus on the blessings that surround us. Paul set a great example for us through his letter to the Ephesians. Paul chose to see the blessings and not the ugly. “We, too,” I advised Javier, “must choose to see the blessings and not the ugly.”

Javier understood and decided to make a “Better than 90210” list for himself, too. He said he would pull it out in times of “ugly.”

Are you going through some “ugly” today? If you are, maybe making a list of all your blessings will help you. If you need inspiration, read the letter to the Ephesians. You will be surprised that Paul was even in prison. Yeah, it’s that good.

From my private suite –

Adrian G. Torres

 

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Rewriting Men’s Stories

“THE MOST CONSISTENTLY ENDEARING human trait is warmth. Everybody responds to the person who radiates friendliness from a serene core. Such people are lovely to be around because they don’t reject or belittle and, best of all, they bring out the best, most generous qualities in the people they encounter.”

  • Barbara Walters

It started as a simple visit to his step-daddy’s work site. His intentions were simple: Go visit, chit-chat, and interact with the labor workers. It was to be a simple and relaxing day. His plan was to let them know he was a supporter of them. However, what this day held for him was far from planned. —

As he arrived he heard a disturbing noise coming from around the corner. Curious to what was happening, he went to investigate. To his surprise, he found a supervisor beating one of the labor workers. A rush of anger boiled within him. He could not just stand there and let this happen. He had to do something! No time to call the authorities, he decided to take the matter into his own hands.

Looking around to make sure no one was looking, he ran and attacked the supervisor. As they wrestled on the ground, the victim managed to get up and slip away.

Not knowing how hard he was holding him, the wrestling match turned fatal. Releasing his grip on the supervisor’s body, he noticed that the supervisor’s body had gone limp. In the heat of the moment he had taken the life of another. Scared and not knowing what to do, his thoughts raced a hundred miles an hour. He was well-educated in the legal system. He knew that the law would frown on him and never understand. The whole situation would be twisted and used against him, instead of for him. There would be way too much explaining to do and not enough people willing to listen.

Looking down at the lifeless body that rested on the dirt floor, he decided to once again take matters into his own hands. This was a secluded part of the work site, and he was pretty sure there were no witnesses, so he dragged the body to a sandy area and buried it. Satisfied with the job, he returned home to clean up and rest.

The next day, testing his theory that no one saw him, he went out around town. However, once again he found himself in the midst of a heated fight. He decided to approach this one a bit differently. He stepped up and asked the aggressor why he was hurting his fellow man. The answer that was given took our hero by surprise, “Who made you ruler and judge over me? Are you thinking of killing me too, as you killed the supervisor yesterday?”

With his heart in his throat and his stomach feeling very ill, he felt each and every one of those words like a sharp dagger being jammed into his side. It was then that he realized that his secret was no more. Fearing the authorities, he fled to the desert and became a fugitive.

Before I tell you how this story ends, let me bring you into my cell…as I sat here today, praying for this prison and yard, I let my mind inventory the pages and pages that could be filled with stories from the men that live here with me, all from different walks of life, cultures, races, and education. All with a story of their own.

I can’t say I know or have heard all the stories here. In fact, I am sure I have only heard less then five percent. Personally, I know that every story that is here is heavy and weighs on our shoulders. Many of our stories have been misunderstood, twisted, and even perverted. Many have pushed their stories deep within their hearts, locked them in closets, and thrown away the key. Retelling the story would be like reliving it. Why would they want to do such a thing? So that one can get misunderstood again? To be looked down on, like the trash of society? Why even go there?!

Can I share a secret with you? Deep down, every man that walks this yard is a crying heart waiting to be heard. Yup, you read that correctly. You see, the load is heavy. It’s hard to carry it some days. And like all humanity it feels good to vent sometimes; to have a loving and caring ear to talk to; someone that will not judge, but uplift.

Every story has an ending. Some are not very pretty. Some go on to get darker and darker, never finding the Light. However, those are stories that were written by “self”. On the other hand, the stories that end with a joyful twist always end in the Light. They are not written in “self”, but co-written with (1) a helping hand and (2) the Master Author.

I know hundreds of men with dark or misunderstood stories that would welcome a helping hand, a listening ear, and a gentle leading to the Master Author. The Author who can update and rewrite their story.

Please, I urge you to join us in prison ministry. I am not asking you to take on a whole prison or yard. One person is all it takes; one seed; one heart; one love; one Gospel; one Truth… simply one of you.

So how does our friend’s story end? Well, after 40 years as a fugitive, living a new life, under a limited identity, he was used mightily by God to change history and rescue a whole nation. You can read about it in the Bible. The book of Exodus contains his wonderful story. Moses will be one story that will forever change people’s hearts.

…thankful to have you as a listening ear. Straight from Adrian’s Cell.,,

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NIV)

 

 

 

This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated.  Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**

Hopeless and Desolate?

I hate to admit it, but the view from my six-man cell (dorm) is almost beautiful. Just outside the multiple 10-foot fences, razor wire, and the deadly high-voltage electrical fence is a small lake tucked into a shallow valley of lush green trees. The trees stand tall and proud, rising from a floor of rich green vegetation. Multi-colored wildflowers speckle the ground with eye-popping color.

This beautiful vista does not always look like this, however. Extreme heat and extended periods of rainless days dry the trees, flowers, vegetation, and even the small lake. The view then is hopeless and desolate, and I avoid looking at such disappointment. But all is not lost, because resting deep within the dry soil are seeds which are ready to die, then spring into life at the first drop of water. New life will rise from the once hopeless, desolate land, transforming it once again into a site of beauty.

This land reminds me of the sights that fill my vision when I’m on the prison yard. Men, who in their youths were filled with life, now roam around lifeless, hopeless and very desolate. The heat of their criminal lives slowly dried them up. This is true for the majority of men on this yard, and sadly most have embraced their despair and have no hope for a vibrant future.

A few, though, have found hope, life and the Living Water which is Jesus Christ. These once dry, hopeless men invited the Seed of Life into their lives. This Seed – Yeshua – died and rose again to give life – vibrant and beautiful – to these men. The waters of God’s Spirit have flooded into their dead souls, bringing forth fruit.

Giving up on those in prisons is a mistake, for God, the Creator of life and Giver of salvation, is taking these hopeless, dead inmates and giving them new life. And for anyone reading this who feels hopeless and desolate, you are not. The Creator of life can give you love, grace, and new life. Invite Him in today, and see life spring forth into your once-dead heart.

….wishing my bald head would see new growth….

Adrian G. Torres