Shower Time

The odor makes my eyes water. The walls are covered with dried clumps of hair and soap scum. The ¼” of scum lies silently at the bottom of the broken sink. To label it filthy and unsanitary is an understatement.

Ad Seg (the Hole) doesn’t have inmate workers. There are no inmates assigned to keep the common areas of this ancient building clean. In a regular facility inmates are assigned to clean the hallways, tiers, benches and showers. If left neglected, the showers quickly begin to smell and a layer of grime builds up. At minimum, showers have to be cleaned twice a day, and once a month they are deeply cleaned with floor scrubbers and heavy-duty disinfectant.

The Hole, however, doesn’t have the luxury of inmate labor; and you can bet your life the officers aren’t going to clean the showers. If it was privately run, the health department would shut down the showers here.

I have no options, so in order for me to wash I have to enter the dirtiest place in the Hole. As long as I avoid the walls, and keep my feet firmly in my shower sandals, I come out pretty clean.

The majority of the staff in a prison is jaded; they believe that no inmate really changes while in prison. They think a criminal is always a criminal. To them, those who appear changed are only playing a role; but they have never seen the transforming power of Christ.

I am witness to the fact that once-hardened criminals can be truly transformed. Men who never felt an ounce of pity for the victims of their crimes now have consciences, and hearts that ache when they upset someone. Men who once carried a gun, ready to kill, now proudly carry a Bible, ready to give the Words of Life. Men who freely took what was not theirs now unselfishly give of their possessions and themselves, knowing all are from God.

True change does take place behind the walls and razor wire of prisons. Souls are cleansed in the filthiest location society offers.

Prisons are filled to the brim with the filthiest, most sinful people. The darkness of sin lives around and inside prison walls. If sin had an odor the stench would radiate from prisons in plumes of thick clouds.  If sin had a vacation destination, prison would be number one on its list.

At times, however, God uses a filthy place, like a prison, to clean His own, just like the shower in the Hole cleans me. It is there He provides time for the Word to penetrate deep into a hardened heart; and it is there that His love, grace and mercy mold the once-hard clay, to create a vessel for His use. But….yes, there is a “but.”

Just as I must not touch the walls and floors that are covered with grime, the inmate must stay away from the sin that is ever-present in prison. By remaining clean, one can come out ready to serve, and live for, Christ.

Yes, prisons have a lot of filth, but God uses places like prisons to raise up some mighty men and women, who love Him and serve Him.

Please don’t doubt the power of God to change a sinful man, for it is that same power that changed you.

….….thinking it’s time to wash my armpits…….

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.**

 

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Sweet Melody

My emotions were in a tangle. I wasn’t mad or agitated; I was sad and happy at the same time.

Waiting in Ad Seg (the Hole) to be transferred is nerve-wracking. An inmate in the Hole can wait up to five months – or more, in some special cases – to be put on a bus. Every day one pays close attention to listen for his name announced from the weekly transfer list.

Ears perk up and the air goes still as we all try to hear the officer making the announcement. Whoops of happiness and cheers of joy can be heard from those on the list. But disappointment is also heard through the sighs and groans of those whose names were not read. So far, I’ve only been on the “groan” side – until last night. Well, sort of.

It was dinnertime and our plates were being shoved through our door’s tray slot, when something occurred to the officer. Looking past me, to my cellmate, he said, “Um, you made the list. You’re leaving on Tuesday.”

I moved into his line of sight. “Who, me?” I was hoping he was actually talking to me (you know, all Mexicans look alike, right?) I was hoping he was mistaken, because I’d been waiting a full month longer than my cellmate.

“Nah,” he responded, looking beyond me once again.

My heart dove to the pit of my stomach, but just as quickly it jumped right back where it belonged, out of joy for my cellmate. My heart was being pulled in two directions. My feelings were jumbled. I was happy, yet sad. The rest of the day I wavered between the high of happiness for my cellmate and the low of not making the list myself.

At night, trying to go to sleep, I began to pray and give my low feelings to God. I can’t remember how exactly I said it, but I was expressing to Father that I didn’t want to feel sad; I wanted only to be happy for my cellmate. I didn’t want my disappointment to lessen that happiness, nor to hinder me from praising God for His perfect providence in my life. I didn’t want to bring bitterness into the sweet melody for the Lord.

The following morning we were having a nice conversation about the things we miss most. Since he is an avid guitar player, he missed playing and making music. I had come to enjoy the way he always spoke about his love for his guitar. Almost daily he would bring up a function where he played his guitar, enjoying every minute of it.

That morning, as he recalled another one of his “Melody Memories”, I began to see why God had not yet snuffed the “low” out of my heart. I realized that to make sweet music on a guitar, one must strum, and pluck, both the high notes and the low ones. Both notes – strings – are vital to make pleasant melodies. If either one is left out, the melody would be forced.  So the guitarist uses both notes – highs and lows – to elicit from his instrument the music meant to be heard.

Although the disappointment was still real, I was able to embrace both the sad feelings, and the happy ones, honestly giving praises to the Lord through it. My joy that my cellmate would be leaving Ad Seg deepened, and my gratitude to my Creator became more vibrant. My heart was able to use the high and the low to make melody unto the Lord.

Life is filled with many highs and lows. Some are expected and some come as surprises; but God, being all-loving, allows these highs and lows to come into our lives so that we can take them and blend them, making music for Him. In order for us to know true joy, we must also know the lows, the highs, and all that is in-between. Using them together, our hearts can praise the Source of all true joy, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Are you facing a low right now? Well, use that low and combine it with your highs; praise the Lord with sweet song. It’s not nearly so sweet without the blend.

……..do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do……..

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.**

No Laughing Matter

I tossed. I turned. I flipped. Nothing helped. I could not fall back to sleep. I wasn’t sleepy, and I had just finished a nice dream, so I knew I had slept for a little while, anyway. Now as I lay awake, I wondered how late – or early – it was.

Even in prison we try to keep up with world events. TV, radio, and letters from loved ones help us see, hear, and read about the outside world. With all the devastating natural disasters, and incidents of hate happening all around the globe, in a weird way those of us “inside” are safer than those “outside.” Our thick concrete walls keep us away from most of the natural disasters. Our distance from civilization removes us from riots and uncontrollable mobs. Prisons are rarely terrorist targets; the trip hazards in today’s fast-paced world don’t really make their way behind the high fences. Our snail-paced plodding continues, unaffected.

It’s a little different story, however, for those of us in Ad Seg (the Hole.) We don’t learn about world events until days, and sometimes weeks, later. When I learn of a happening while in Ad Seg, I slowly process it. Depending on the extent, my mind might ponder it for days.

Naturally, I use Scripture to filter the information. As many already know, I’m not one to be yelling from the rooftop about end-of-the-world events, not because I don’t believe that we are living in the end times, but because I simply don’t understand it all. However, the latest events I’ve heard about have made me take a closer look at my life to make sure I’m ready for Christ’s return. One of my mentors even wrote and said, “Jesus’s second coming is near. Keep looking up!”

All night I had been taking inventory of my life, and was praying about it. I must have gone to sleep without knowing it, and actually had a restful sleep; yet I woke up before dawn.

As I tried and tried to force myself back to sleep, I kept saying, “I wonder what time it is? Should I ask the officer next time he walks by? Lord, give me some way of knowing the time.” I was humoring myself because it really didn’t matter; even if I knew, I would still just lie there, praying and hoping to go back to sleep. Yet I kept repeating it over and over again. “I wonder what time it is? Should I ask the officer….”

You may not agree with what I’m about to say, or like it, but I believe that our Creator has a beautiful sense of humor, and He was going to show me a little of it. As I lay there, wondering about the time, this verse popped into my head, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”

I almost lost it. I restrained myself from laughing out loud for my cellmate’s sake, but a snort or two escaped. I was so sure the Father had put these words into my head so I would stop worrying about the time. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

At this point in my writing I usually turn it around and offer some Biblical advice or wisdom, but today, in light of all that is happening in our world, I only have one question.

Are you ready? The signs that we see are no laughing matter.

…….keep looking up……..

Adrian G. Torres

 

Hypocrite!

“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 metal shelf 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.

He’s there.

……………….still playing “Laundry Lotto” every Tuesday……….

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.**

Lighting Issues

I knew they wouldn’t believe me, and I began to get a little anxious. I looked up to the light fixture and calculated the distance. I figured by using the toilet to climb onto the sink, I could reach the light and bang on it.

The light right outside my cell door’s window stayed on last night – all night. Normally the night watch turns off all the lights so we can sleep, but for some reason tonight the light stayed on. I could not sleep because, no matter what position I tried on my bunk, the light shined in my eyes. I broke the world’s record for tossing and turning. I kept asking myself, “Why can’t they turn off the light?” but it stayed on.

Now, because I’ve gotten used to waking up at 4:00 a.m., it’s natural to be fully alert at that time. I don’t have any way of telling time in Ad Seg (the Hole,) so I lie on my bunk waiting for the morning to begin. Between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning the watch officer “forces” all the lights on. Inmates can turn the lights in their cells on or off, but the officers have a master switch that overrides the cell switches. That first light is my sign to get up.

Since the light outside my door had kept me up all night, I was awake when my cell light was forced on. But something was wrong; instead of my light turning on, it flashed, then went out. I continued to lie on my bunk, praying as usual, waiting for the wrong to be righted. As I waited I began to hear toilets flushing in the other cells. This meant everyone else’s light was on, and each inmate had begun his morning ritual. I jumped out of my bunk and turned on my light switch.

Nothing. I flipped it up and down several times. Nothing. My light was out. The flash was real. My cell light just didn’t work. This was not good! No! This was more than just not good; this was horrible. Not having lights in a cell in the Hole is a big security risk. And then I began to dread the inevitable sequence of events that would follow.

The first officer to my cell, who will bring my breakfast tray, will ask me to turn on my lights. I will, of course, tell him that the lights don’t work; he will have me flip the switch a few times to make sure. Then he will automatically assume I did it on purpose. You see, inmates in the Hole somehow get tobacco or marijuana, and they use the small gap between the switch and the plate to catch a spark. They use a paper clip, or something similar, and jam it into that gap. By grounding another clip on the screw, and bringing the two clips together, a large spark will result. By having a toilet paper wick ready, an inmate can use the resulting flame to light whatever he has to smoke.

At times, however, if the system doesn’t work quite right, the fuse is blown and the light goes out. This is what I was afraid the officers would assume had happened in my cell. The procedure to follow in such a case is etched in stone. After determining that my light is really out, I will be transferred to the shower area while my cell is searched for contraband. Then I will be placed in a dirtier cell – one with lights – and be written up and charged what it costs to fix the problem.

The first officer had not yet arrived, so I still had time. I flipped the switch over and over. Nothing. In desperation I even blew in between the switch and the plate. Nothing. I knew I would not be believed, so I looked up to the light fixture to see if I could possibly reach it. Maybe something was loose. If I banged on it, it might turn on. So, having nothing to lose, I used my toilet as a step onto the sink, then I stretched out my fist and hit the light. Nothing.

I knew I was beginning to panic, so I lay down on my bunk and began to pray. I said, “Father, I don’t think they are going to believe me. I need favor in their eyes. I’m really worried, so give me peace in this situation, and may You be glorified in this. I trust and believe that You are making this right, so I’m putting all my anxiety on You.”

I lay there, knowing God was totally in charge. Or did I? As I lay there listening to my forced, steady breathing, I had a nice sense of peace. I was sure I had turned over my worry to my Father. I was so much at peace I didn’t hear the first officer at my door, “Torres, turn on your lights.”

My eyes shot open and as I jumped up I began to explain that the lights didn’t work. “Um…sorry ma’am. My….my…my lights are not working. There was…um…a fla…” She interrupted me before I could finish. “Oh, okay.” She opened up the tray slot and gave me my milk and a sack lunch for later. She closed the slot and moved on to the next cell.

I could not believe it. She didn’t blink at my comment. She didn’t even want to hear my explanation. Somehow I had found favor in her eyes; but I brushed it off as a mistake. “She’s just a nice officer,” I told myself. “The next one will not be so nice.” And not two minutes later an officer came with the breakfast plates. “Turn on your lights, Torres,” he said as he reached for a plate.

“Well..,” I began again, knowing this time it would not go well. This officer was not a nice officer – he’s very tough. “My lights are not working. I tried the switch sever…” He didn’t let me finish either. He opened the slot and handed me my breakfast tray. As he walked off, he yelled back, “I’ll see if I can get them fixed.” I almost dropped my plate. I was having a hard time believing that he not only believed me, but would go out of his way to fix my lights. Still standing at the door, what I heard next made me weep like Peter wept when he denied His Lord. “Your lights aren’t working, either? None of the cell lights are working up here!” The officer was going door to door, looking into every cell.

I knew then that when I asked God for favor and peace, handing my dilemma to Him, I still doubted. Twice He had clearly given me favor from the guards, yet I didn’t recognize His hand. But when I heard that every cell light in the third tier was out, I realized God had this situation under control.

I wept, begging for forgiveness. How could I doubt Him, after all He has done for me? Every moment of each day He had faithfully shown me He was by my side, and I could depend on Him and trust Him. I put my plate at the foot of my bunk and got down on my knees. I had no words, just tears.

About ten minutes later, as I finished my breakfast, the lights turned on. Everything was back to normal.

I share this event with you because I want you to see how weak I am. I stumble. I doubt God’s care for me. I know that sometimes what I share with you makes me look stronger than I am. But I struggle. I’m growing, just as you are.

If you’ve had a day that you’ve doubted the Lord, or a time of worry, you are in a large crowd of believers. God understands, and catches us when we fall. So be of good cheer. Our God is a faithful God.

……….hoping they turn out the outside light tonight……….

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.**

Love Affair

“How do you do it?” This man I had known for less than five minutes was letting down his guard a little. “I have tried, pastor, but it’s too hard.” (Argh! Those who know me know I don’t like being called “pastor” because I haven’t earned that title!)

I sat in the cage-booth that is used for visits in Ad Seg (the Hole.) I, along with four others, had just finished our enjoyable visits from friends and family. The visits in Ad Seg are only 60 minutes long, through a thick glass and a germ-infested phone. Even so, it is a blessing to receive such love.

When our visits end, our visitors are escorted out, and we are left waiting for the plethora of officers to come retrieve us. While we wait, we get a rare opportunity to talk to one another without having to yell through vents or doors. Normally I sit quietly and mind my own business, but on this day I was “all ears.”

The man on my left knew the man on my right. In normal voices they began to have a conversation. “Hey, Big I, are you going home soon?” said “left” to “right.” “Two weeks,” Big I replied. “How about you, Young Pooh?” (These are seriously the names they go by. I wanted to laugh, but didn’t.)

“I got three days!” Young Pooh was excited. His voice proved it. They went on and talked about their cases and families. They caught up on old buddies they both used to know. Then Big I asked Young Pooh what he looked forward to most when he got out. Young Pooh didn’t even have to think about it – he had it all planned out. “I’m going down to the connect and get high. I can’t wait to fill my nose with the finest powder around. Man! I can’t wait!” Big I agreed, and they continued their discussion, noting the best places for white powder. It sounded like a drug-users Yelp!  These guys were ranking drugs by stars! They knew people who had used the connect and certain drugs, and highly recommended them. Really, reviews??

It was funny to hear, but I was also deeply saddened. I knew these two men, with funny names, would not only be freed soon, but would eventually end up right back in. It is obvious neither knew God. Their conversation ended when the flock of officers came in to escort us back to the Hole. Handcuffed and with a three-officer escort per inmate, we marched down to the next stage of the process. There I saw a third man standing quietly.

“Hey, you a Cristiano?” He was asking if I was a Christian. His question took me by surprise, because certainly this man had never met me before.

“Si, si soy” I told him. But I was still surprised by his question. “Why?” I asked.

We were still cuffed, so he was squatting, trying to scratch his nose with his knee. “Because you look like one,” he said. What?? How does one look like a Christian, especially in the Hole?

Jokingly I said, “So my bald spot gave it away. Kind of looks like a halo, right?”

I don’t think he thought that was funny, but kept talking. “I just got married, right before coming to the Hole.” He paused, wondering how much to share.

“Lucky you,” I said.

He smiled, “Yeah, she’s a princess. I can’t believe she loves me. I love her like nothing before. I want to change for her. But I always seem to get it wrong. I want to be a Cristiano like you. But it’s not easy.”

I knew I would not have the time, or opportunity, to begin to give him a full answer, so I went short and sweet. “You have to stop trying to be a Cristiano, and start having a relationship with God.”

“How do you do it?” he asked, in a very sincere way. He truly wanted – needed! – to know. “I have tried, pastor, but it’s too hard.”

“You fell in love by getting to know your new bride, right? So in a similar fashion, read God’s Word. Fellowship with His family. Pray. Get to know Him. And I promise you, you will fall in love, and you will experience a relationship that is a whole lot easier than just trying to be a Cristiano.”

That’s all I could share. The officers were ready to take us away. One by one we were escorted, each man to his cell. I never got his name. But as I meditated, I realized this man’s desire to know God was what every inmate needed. The two who didn’t know God would eventually come back to prison because they had a long-standing relationship with sin. The third man, however, I believe will find that relationship he is seeking. Once he does, he will never want to come back. Because once someone truly falls in love with the Father, it takes more effort to sin than to obey.

Maybe you’ve been fighting hard to “be a Christian.” I suggest you stop trying, and start having a love affair with the One Who loves perfectly.

Get to truly know Him by opening up His Word and reading it. Surround yourself with others who are head-over-heels in love with Him, too. And talk to Him. Do these things and I promise your relationship will surpass any desire to be a “better Christian.” You won’t care about the label. You will be in love.

……….trying to cover my halo with a comb-over……….

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.**

P.R. Representative

It happened twice, two days in a row. Both times I was forgotten. Time moved, but I didn’t. I was left alone, cuffed, in a stand-up-only cage.

I love business. I truly enjoy the art of growing a business and pivoting to keep up with demands and market trends. Business comes easily to me. I am intrigued by the working parts, especially sales and P.R. (Public Relations.) All businesses are based on sales, and to sell itself a business needs P.R.

The image of the business is carefully shaped by a good team. This team must always be ready to provide the image the company wishes to project. This is exactly what I’ve been practicing in Ad Seg (the Hole.)

I have made it part of my Business Plan to be a witness in all that I do. My testimony – my words and actions – speak volumes while I am here. I remind myself to say “please” and “thank you.” I obey all orders from the start, and try not to complain, even when I’m treated unfairly. The small things speak with loud voices. Through God’s kindness, I was twice shown that at least someone is listening to my quiet witness.

The first time, I was surprised early in the morning that I was going to be taken to have my picture taken. As I left my cell, cuffed and under escort, the officer in the lead was told to halt. I was then taken to the stand-up holding cages. These cages are a bit smaller than phone booths, and only meant to be used for short periods of time. I was left cuffed, with my hands behind me, with the assurance that I would not be there very long. Sounded okay to me, but it’s not like I had a choice.

If I pressed my face against the grill, looking left, I could see the clock on the wall. Ten minutes passed, with me thinking it was nine minutes too many. Thirty minutes after I was put in, an officer walked by the cage on his way somewhere else. As he walked past me, he stopped, looked at me, snapped his fingers and pointed at me. “Oh, yeah!” he said to himself, as if he had just remembered me. Then he left.

I didn’t say a word. I just stood there quietly.

Sixty minutes after I was put in, I could hear the breakfast plates being passed to each cell. The “clank” of each tray slot opening, then closing, echoed to where I stood captive. I wasn’t worried about missing breakfast, because I was certain my cellmate would request mine and would hold it for me. I stood quietly, giving silent thanks for the breakfast the Lord had provided that morning, knowing I would enjoy it later.

One hour and five minutes from the time I was put in, another officer walked by and was stunned to see an inmate, cuffed, in the cage. “Whose inmate is this?!” he yelled. Someone returned his question with a curse, then said, “He’s mine! He is going out for a picture!” The officer who asked looked at me, then continued to his intended destination. I didn’t say a word; I just stood quietly.

A full hour and 45 minutes after I was put in the cage the first officer came back. “Torres, we are going to take you back to your cell.” “’R&R’, (the department where the pictures are taken) canceled. We will reschedule it for tomorrow.”

“Great,” was my only reply.

An officer nearby came over and addressed his partner. “This inmate has been nothing but patient. He didn’t complain or kick the cage like most would have if left in there cuffed for this amount of time. I like this man’s attitude.” He then turned to me and said, “Did you eat yet, Torres?”

I shook my head. “Give him double,” he told his partner.

I interrupted in the most polite way I could, “Sir, I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure my cellmate is holding my plate.”

“Honest, too,” the officer told his partner. “For that give him an extra breakfast plate AND an extra lunch sack.”

I was then taken back to my cell. Once inside, the officer slipped in an extra lunch and tray. Within three minutes the officers were back. R&R had called for me again. I smiled, downed my milk, and happily went to get my picture taken.

The following day I had a scheduled doctor’s appointment. According to my notice, received the day before, my appointment wasn’t until 11:20 a.m. This gave me plenty of time to use the restroom, write a little, answer mail, and maybe fit in an early lunch. To my surprise, at 8:30 the escort officers came to pick me up. They took me to the same set of stand-up cages. I was told I needed to wait until the doctor made his way down his patient list.

I nodded my head, indicating I understood, and prepared myself for a long wait. It’s a good thing I did, because that is exactly what I did. Others in cages next to me kicked their cage doors in protest as the minutes ticked by. They complained in rude tones every time an officer passed by. I stood there quietly, smiling at everyone who happened to look my way.

At 11:35, fifteen minutes after my scheduled appointment, the doctor called my name. Once I was done with my appointment I was taken right back to the cage. I was told I needed to wait until everyone was done.

“Okay, sir,” I said, and smiled. The officer looked at me, then his wrist watch, and yelled to his partner, “I’m taking this one back to his cell.” Then he told me, “I like your attitude.”

Once in my cell I rejoiced at my P.R. opportunity to represent the One I served. My heart danced, knowing my quiet witness had been heard.

The world is getting worse, and many times it’s difficult to share your faith with words. Your job might not allow it. Your government might have laws against it. Maybe those who need to hear the Gospel are just plain hard to talk to. There is still hope.

Quiet witnessing, whether through actions or speech, is the perfect P.R. tool. We might think, because we are quiet, we are not being heard. In truth, our quiet witness may be louder than everything else.

So don’t lose faith. Shout your witness with quiet P.R., for the glory of God.

……..in the business of souls……..

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.**