There is an inmate who is very young that arrived at the jail about a month ago. He’s in the place in the jail where men have the most serious situations. When I first saw this inmate, he was very cold, staring at me in a sort of unfriendly stare-down sort of way. When I saw him, another inmate immediately started talking to me about something to do with a Bible verse. Only about five seconds into that conversation, this first inmate, the very young one, who was looking at me unhappily, said to me:

“Have you ever been on this side of the bars ?”

Inside my soul, I was so happy that he talked to me! I did not expect that. I thought he was going to be cold for some time, until he saw that I was his friend. And wow, from that point, what a surprise I received from what this inmate was all about. He immediately went and got his Bible and went to a passage in the Gospel of Luke, that he wanted to discuss with me. We proceeded to talk a bit, and about five minutes into the conversation and talking about Bible verses and prayer, the inmate told me that when he went to sleep at night, one of the days over the past weekend, and when he awoke in the morning, there was a message written in pencil on his wall, which the inmate interpreted could only have been written by GOD, a note from GOD. I found it amazing that this inmate trusted me, at this point, after my initial impression of him, to share this information with me. I told this inmate that for something like this to happen, he would be greatly blessed by the LORD. I mentioned it to another inmate later on the other side of the jail, and that inmate said to me,

“I bet he drew it on there himself.”

Then this young inmate was moved to the other side of the wing—again, the wing of the man that tend to have the highest sentences. I found him in this other spot a few days later. He and I talked again, where he seemed very confident in his faith, saying that God was with him, revealing Himself to him, loving him. And he also said the writing episode happened again in this new cell, a second time. He went back into his one-man cell (he was out in the long social area of that cell block, and walked back into the cell), and pointed to the writing. The inmate read it out-loud to me:

“Have faith; you will win your case.”

The one-man cells of this cell-block are locked down during sleeping hours—all the men sleeping next to each other in their individual one-man rooms, so another inmate, for example, would not be able to get into the young inmate’s cell at night to write something on the wall. I am not saying the inmate’s story is true, or false; I am merely reporting to you what happened inside the jail.

Then this inmate was moved a third time, on the same wing, at a different cell block. That’s when I saw him early this past week. When I saw him, I was so excited to see him. I yelled at his name, and said,

“So great to see you!”

This very young inmate always would have the toughest expression on his face, always the aforementioned stare-down expression, never letting-up. Even through the deepest, most profound and beautiful discussions of the LORD (YHWH) that he and I have had (quite a few times by now), he always had that tough expression, unfailingly. But when I walked up to him and saw him, so excited to see him, just for a flash, a microsecond, he broke into a smile. He might not have even known I notice. But he immediately went back into the same tough expression. We talked for a while. One of the reasons I was so excited to see him, is because the cell he was moved to the third time is full of really wonderful guys, all of which I have known for quite a while, and who I talk to at length every week: they are all reading their Bibles and discussing them, they are reading theology books and philosophy books, they’re all praying and praising Jesus deep within, and from what I can see, they are all growing and faith. It’s a special world, in ways like a monastery, and therefore, I was so happy that this young inmate was on this specific block—

But to my great surprise, I got the feeling when I was talking to this young inmate, that my other friends on the cell-block were not being completely nice to this young inmate. As soon as I became aware of a hint of that, I said,

“Brothers, this is a great guy right here. He’s a young man; you have to take care of him, teach him, be a good mentor. That would feel so so good, in your soul, compared to any level of cruelty. This inmate is very close to GOD. I want everyone to be nice to him, to take bring kindness to him.”

I did not know if that was right thing to say, but it sort of just burst out of me thoughtlessly.

So, I talked with the young inmate. He told me about his case, I said yes! That’s right! How did that go? He looked right at me, like always, continuing his same as always, tough expression. But he did not say anything; instead he just looked at me for about 10 seconds, before talking, and then monotone, with his tough expression, he said 


When I heard him say this, I was jolted with excitement! I was guessing that he was in a tough situation with his case (which does not mean he’s guilty, but only that’s going to trial for a most serious crime), due to his classification in the jail. He and I prayed so hard for things to go well over the past few weeks, and here was the confirmation from the LORD. Please note: this happened during an answered-prayer breakout that was going on in the jail, see this video:

So, right after he said this point, I started to smile, looking through the two sets of bars.

“Brother, you have to be kidding me!” I said to him.

Then I said again, “You have got to be kidding me! Are you serious!?”

Then I did a, “YES!” with an arm pump, like after a touchdown. And then, it was one of those events where I knew it was going to happen a microsecond before it happened, I think probably a lot of you know what I mean by that, one of those situations where the mind knows something just a little sooner than the event itself, a little sooner than something happens. And what happened was the inmate couldn’t control it anymore, and he smiled a huge smile. He looked like a different person. It was a smile like a happy teenager.

I went back to this same cell block the next day, and this young inmate was outside of his cell, in the social area, talking with the guys, appearing very comfortable, and appearing happy, enjoying his deep new friends. Nobody was being mean to this  young inmate in any way; he was now part of this wonderful group. Praise Jesus! I will go back and see him on Monday.


Lead Chaplain, Founder, Kalamazoo Jail Ministry