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