I met Kelly upon first arriving in jail. He was around my age, and since he was Caucasian too, we ended up hanging out from time to time. In GOD’S sovereignty, GOD not only had Kelly and myself in the same jail, but now we were both in the same prison and living right next door to each other. When Kelly came into the prison, he got himself into a little trouble with some of the other inmates. This is when a couple of the popular Christian men offered to help him out. GOD used these Christian men to protect Kelly and to keep him safe from some of the other inmates. At the beginning, Kelly always joined us in church for all of the events, but as time went by, he slowly fell away. Bobby and myself, and even others talked to Kelly on a regular basis about coming back to JESUS, and about surrendering himself to JESUS and the love of GOD, but Kelly just wasn’t able to do this. Kelly was a pretty good guitar player too, which is why we hung out quite often. Kelly was also one of my friends who usually played basketball on my team each night and lifted weights with us out in the yard at nighttime. Kelly fell farther and farther away from our church events as the year passed by. About one week before I was going to be released, I asked Kelly to meet me upstairs on the indoor track. I also invited a friend of mine to join us and to help me talk to Kelly one last time about JESUS. All three of us slowly walked around the track for the entire hour, as we patiently and kindly talked to Kelly about salvation, JESUS, the LORD’S love and many other topics. Unfortunately, he just didn’t want to invite JESUS into his life or have a serious relationship with JESUS. At the time of my release from prison, Kelly still had about two more years to go until he would be free. As the years passed by one after another, I stopped getting letters from Kelly. After about four years, I happened to check the internet looking for Kelly. I found out that he had died! He overdosed on drugs and went into a coma. He was rushed to the hospital where he died a short time later.
After dinner one night, I was watching TV in the public cell block area. This was an open area in the middle of all of our cells where the men could hang out together playing cards, watching TV, or even just talking to one another. I had to use the bathroom, now in prison, when you use the bathroom, most people usually turn off the light in their cell and put up a piece of cardboard to block the small window that was built in to the huge iron door. I turned off the lights, put up the cardboard, and this is when JESUS personally taught me something else that is really cool. He told me then in the dark to dedicate all of my bathroom time to HIM. Or in other words, he wanted me to dedicate all of the time that I would be spending in my bathroom for him and him only. That was awesome when he taught me this. I have been using all of my bathroom time for the LORD during all of the years of being free going back to that night in prison when I learned this from HIM. I have shared this story and the technique of using all of our bathroom time for JESUS with many, many, many people throughout the years, encouraging many others to do the same. To dedicate all of their time in the bathroom each day and night for JESUS.
One day, about three months before my release, I was sitting down watching TV in the main public area of our cell block. I noticed that there was a brand new prisoner sitting right next to me. I had never seen him before up to this time. JESUS told me to say hello to him, so I did. He was what we called a short timer, which meant that he only had a short time to go in prison until his release date. He was of Middle Eastern descent even though the Black men in our cell block tried to force him to hang out with them. He wore these nerdy glasses and he always had a smile on his face. I found out that his name was Amir, and to my surprise, I also noticed by talking to him that he had a huge curiosity about JESUS. Well Amir found himself talking to the right man. I talked to him about many different aspects of JESUS, and explained to him about our hope of living in heaven for eternity. Amir drank all of this Christian information in. He accepted my invitation to join us in church, and we welcomed him into our church right away. Johnny was released now, and the cell block administrator came to my cell and told me that I could stay in the cell alone for a few days, but that he wanted to know whom I would have moving into my cell in three days or less. I am sure that JESUS wanted Amir to move into my cell, but because the black men thought he was black, I decided to run this idea past Fast Horse who was an expert on prison politics. After all, Fast horse spent decades in prison locked up behind bars. Fast Horse went on to tell me that there should be NO problem at all. I then proceeded to talk to Amir about moving into my cell, and he was all for it enthusiastically.
Even though Johnny had been released one week earlier, and he was now living at the halfway house, a brand new problem arose from him. Johnny, before he left prison, had promised his bed to one of his friends. Now, in prison rules, that is un heard of to do. The man leaving prison has no rights to the cell, but the man staying behind in the cell, he now owns the entire cell. So when we found out what Johnny had done, I just couldn’t believe it. We had two different problems to deal with. First, the Black men didn’t want Amir to live with me, even though he wasn’t black haha, but now one of Johnny’s gang members wanted to move in per Johnny’s permission. While Amir took the brunt of trouble from the black men, I decided to go talk to the Mexican man who wanted to move into my cell. It just so happened, we knew each other from jail. We were able to work it all out, and he agreed that Johnny had no right to promise him the bed.
Amir moved into my cell a few days later, even though he was getting some threats from a few of the other men. For those of you reading this, besides the born again Christian men in the prison systems, the prisoners are completely walking with Satan and racism is rampant in the jails and prisons of the USA.
One of my friends in the cell block where I was living, allowed me to borrow his acoustic guitar for a few days. Ill never forget what happened next. It was about 3pm in the afternoon, and we were all locked down in our cells. Amir was sitting up on the edge of his bed listening to me, while I was playing and singing a few different Christian songs. He started to sing a little with me, I say a little because he didn’t know the words that well, and right in the middle of our playing, he started speaking in tongues. What a scene to see. Amir speaking in tongues real loudly while I was playing and singing Christian music locked up in our cell together.. My time was really winding down now, and my release date was just a few weeks away at this point. Up to this time, Amir kept coming to our church events and he did speak in tongues in the middle of our church congregation on a few different occasions. I would be leaving the prison in a week or two later, so Amir and myself decided that we wouldn’t keep in touch. The last week or two up to my release, Amir started to act a little funny. He probably realized that I would be leaving soon, and that he would be stuck in this prison for a few more months. This probably caused him to get sad and depressed. Because of the fact that he was acting slightly funny now, I didn’t push him to get his personal contact information so as to keep in touch after our release. I found out later that Amir was taken to the hospital because of a serious stomach problem. That is the last I ever heard about him.
One night again, while in my cell using the bathroom, I was feeling like my spirit was on fire for JESUS. This was wonderful, but what happened next wasn’t so wonderful. Because I felt so powerful in the LORD, and because I was a brand new Christian, I then made a bad mistake. I asked JESUS to allow me to enter the spiritual war with Satan. I went on telling the LORD how ready I was, and how I wanted to battle Satan, and how I knew that I could win in this spiritual battle. What happened next was absolutely incredible. Upon asking JESUS to allow me to battle Satan, I immediately started to get very depressed, and extremely sad. I started focusing on my life, and how I had lost two years of it behind bars. I start thinking about how on earth would I be able to make a living when I got out of prison, and who would possibly want to hire me. This was a terrible 2-3 day period for me. In fact, it got so bad, that I found myself curled up in my bed not even being able to get out of it. On the second or third day of living in complete hell and suffering emotionally and spiritually speaking, I cried out to JESUS for help. I was curled up in my bed with terrible amounts of worry and depression racking my brain. Out of nowhere I decided to ask JESUS for help. THE SECOND I ASKED JESUS FOR HELP, he set me free from the demons who were attacking me. Literally only five seconds after asking JESUS for help, I rose up in my bed, hopped down to the floor, and got ready to leave my cell and to continue with the powerful Christian routines that I had been doing up to that time. Wow, what an awesome GOD we serve, and what a powerful lesson that was. I now learned that I had no power over Satan, but it was JESUS in me where the power over Satan lies in. I decided I better start asking JESUS for much more GODLY or biblical type prayers in the future.
It was during this same time, a month or two before my release date that my friend Matthew came into church sharing with us some bad news. Matthew was a short African American man usually with a big stomach. Haha, I guess Matthew loved that prison food J. while living in prison, Matthew was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, that is cancer of the Lymph nodes. Something came upon me real strongly then. JESUS put a huge amount of love inside of me for Matthew right then and right there. I called all of the men who were in church that night to come around Matthew and lay hands on him. Most of the men came over right away to lay hands on Matthew as I prayed for him. I say most of the men, because there were a few men who knew that Matthew from time to time would have a porn magazine in his cell, and I guess they were being judgmental of him. With about 15 men all laying hands all over Matthew’s body, I prayed out loud a powerful prayer of healing. We all agreed and then the prison bell sounded which meant we had ten minutes to walk from church back to our cell blocks. Right before I was released from prison, Matthew came into church and told us that he was completely healed, praise JESUS! After my release from prison, I continued to write letters to Matthew for about one year, then he was released and able to go back home to his wife who had been waiting for him all of these years.
Here was another tough lesson that the LORD had taught me himself. Walking back to my cell block one day, and right before I was to enter the guard shack to be searched for weapons, that is when I did something spiritually foolish. I had said to JESUS that I wasn’t going to pray for myself for a one week period. I went on to tell him that I just wanted to pray for family and friends, and that I felt kind of selfish praying for myself a lot. Well, I cant even begin to tell you how bad that week was for me. Each day of the week, I had said to myself, hey, things are going really badly for me, what’s going on here? The one week period ended and wow was it a terrible week for me. Nothing bad happened to me, but spiritually and especially emotionally, I was a complete wreck again. The LORD JESUS clearly taught me that he very much wants us to pray for ourselves all the time without ceasing. Yes he does want us to pray for family and friends and other loved one’s, but he definitely wants us to pray for ourselves as much as we can each day and night.
Just like with Kelly, I had met David back in jail too. Once again, in GODS sovereignty, JESUS had David and myself assigned to the same prison. He was also assigned to my same cell block which meant that we saw each other all the time. JESUS, once again, used guitar playing to peak the interest of another man. David was a totally beginner guitar player when I first arrived at the prison. He found out that I could play pretty well, and this was reason enough for us to hang out together all the time. I would give him a lot of guitar lessons, and David was a very fast learner. At the end of the year upon my release, David was actually a pretty decent guitar player by that time. David also was usually on my team when we played basketball against the other men. Because of basketball, and guitar playing, we were able to form a little friendship during my stay in prison. I say during my stay, because David had to do about five years of prison time longer them myself. David was Caucasian like myself, with a real slinky but strong body. He had short light brown hair, and he usually kept himself in great shape. I invited David to come to church on a semi regular basis, but he always really politely said no. I often times tried to get him to play some Christian music on his guitar, but he really wanted to learn Rock & Roll from me. I talked to him on a few different occasions about JESUS, but he just wasn’t quite interested enough yet. Towards the end of my one year stay in prison, I found myself inviting David again to come into church. This time he said, well, ummm, im not sure. He didn’t show up this time, but I wasn’t going to give up yet. A few more weeks passed by, and because I was going to be released shortly, I decided to ask David again to come and hang out with us in church tonight. This time he said yes! David sat close to the stage where our band played the worship music, and he did stay the entire hour. I noticed he had a serious look on his face the entire time. I believe that the HOLY SPIRIT was really working on David at this time, and David probably felt a little uncomfortable. The next week, as far as I can remember, David showed up again at church. And this went on for about four weeks in a row until the time of my release. Right before I was released from prison, David came up to me and told me that he had given his life over to JESUS. Wow, what a great feeling that was. I knew I had only 1-2 weeks to go until I would be leaving the prison, so I helped David to get a bible, and I talked to him about many different things having to do with JESUS, faith, sins, and heaven. After I left, I did write David on a regular basis over the next 4-5 years while he was still doing time behind bars. In my letters I always tried to get the topics to JESUS the very best I could, but when David would write me back, he rarely if ever mentioned JESUS or the bible. Upon David being released from prison, I never heard from him again.
JESUS super blessed me by getting the book (practicing the presence of GOD) into my hands. Another Christian brother named Jay found the book in the library, and praise GOD, Jay thought of me and brought the book to me. I just loved reading that book, and JESUS used that book to turn my entire life around. Upon reading the book, I actually started practicing the presence of GOD. Laying in my bed each afternoon waiting for the guards to count all the inmates in our cells, I would envision JESUS always sitting up in my bed with me. This really started to change my relationship with JESUS. Everywhere I went, I started practicing keeping JESUS right by my side. Because I was a brand new Christian, I didn’t yet have the ability to keep JESUS by my side like I am able to tonight, but in prison just practicing this, I found it was wonderful to have JESUS with me everywhere I went. Since then, I’ve gone on to teach literally thousands of men and women how to practice the presence of GOD too. What an incredible blessing it is to share this wonderful news with my brother’s and sisters that they actually can keep JESUS with them at all times no matter where they go or what they are doing.
I met a German Christian Brother in prison the very first week upon my arrival. We were both sitting in the Christian movie room, watching a movie about King David I think. He had orange sandy hair with freckles on his face. Jay was born again many years earlier, but I guess he got hooked on drugs. He couldn’t support his drug habit, so he decided to rob a bank at gunpoint, which was an automatic five year sentence or more. He was now trying to re dedicate his life to JESUS again, which was wonderful. At that time, he had much more bible knowledge then me, and was able to give somewhat good advice to me on a regular basis during my one year in prison. Jay was a musician, and in fact he had a wonderful voice. Jay also loved to write original Christian music. I found out that his songs were actually pretty good. He also could be very outspoken and quite hard to deal with too. One day, the LORD JESUS did a supernatural miracle for Jay and myself. We were sitting outside together with the sun shining on us and a bible in our hand. We asked GOD to give us some specific special messages for us. Well, JESUS did! I closed my eyes, thumbed through the bible really fast, and stopped quickly with my finger on a verse. I went on to read the verse to Jay, and then Jay would do the same. With his eyes closed, he thumbed through the bible and stopped and read exactly what his finger was on. If I remember correctly, we each did this four times. With my eyes closed thumbing through the bible four different times, JESUS painted a wonderful picture and story to Jay and myself. The LORD’S special message here for both of us was to stop worrying about money when we get out of prison, and that the LORD wouldn’t let us down and to put our faith in him. To let the anxiety go about what job we would get or how we would make a living. This was a wonderful miracle that JESUS did for me being a brand new Christian. When I was forming our brand new worship band and choir, I immediately thought of Jay to be one of our lead singers. I guess Jay had other plans though. Jay loved playing the piano, and even though we needed a piano player in our band, the problem was, Jay was still a beginner on piano. I met Jay approximately two times a week in the music room to give him lessons, but the learning was very slow. Jay had a lot of trouble paying attention to what our band was performing or rehearsing which bothered me a lot, because I had a patience problem, or you might say that I had no patience upon entering prison. During our one year together in prison, we had a few arguments always over music and usually during our rehearsals. The LORD once again taught us soooo many different lessons together about patience and humbleness among many others during our one year of playing music together.
Jay loved JESUS very much, and he was always willing to help out the Christian brother’s in anyway that he could. Jay was always in church with us, he rarely if ever missed a church night. During the one year of piano lessons, he was slowly making progress and our band was sounding better and better. Sometimes Jay would give me some words of wisdom or encouragement, and many times I did the same for him. We had a good friendship for that one year that we spent together in prison. When I was released from prison, Jay still had about one more year to go. We constantly wrote each other letters and kept in touch the best that we could. When Jay was released from prison, and after he was also released from his Half Way house, we kept in touch on the telephone on a regular basis. From the time I was released from prison, to one year later when Jay was released, I had grown tremendously in the LORD. So when Jay and myself started talking again on the phone, he could barely recognize me. He complimented me all the time on the spiritual growth that JESUS was doing in me, and I prayed for him and encouraged him on a regular basis too. This isn’t to say that Jay never prayed for me, Jay prayed for myself and actually both of us all the time on the telephone, and he shared with me some wonderful words of wisdom. But when Jay was released from prison, I found that he was focusing too much on worldly things like fixing his credit, or making money, or girls, or sex, and all of the other worldly topics too. After his release, we talked on the phone on a semi regular basis for three years. Slowly so slowly he was getting into more and more trouble, and our friendship was going down the drain too. There was a two year period where we didn’t talk at all. I guess the LORD was working on us and some of the darkness inside of us was making it difficult to keep up a friendship. Very recently, we just started talking via the email again, praise GOD.
It was late afternoon again, right when the guards would do a head count. So all of the inmates were locked in their cells while we waited for the guards to walk by counting us prisons one at a time. I was practicing having JESUS set next to me in my bed, when out of nowhere, I asked JESUS to show me all that was wrong with me. Uh oh, bad mistake! For the next 30 seconds image after image, and thought after thought passed through my mind at an incredible rate. The HOLY SPIRIT was now showing me all that was wrong with me, spiritually, emotionally and in every other way possible. After the thoughts and images ended, I immediately went into a bad depression. I was feeling so much better now that I was with JESUS, I foolishly thought that my entire life was healed. Of course I was a brand new Christian, and this is how some brand new Christians think, but oh how I was wrong. After seeing first hand all that was still wrong with me in my life, I felt really sad and depressed. This valley experience lasted about 3-4 weeks. Some of the Christian brothers would ask me from time to time, what is wrong with you Garrett? But I never answered them. What a humbling experience it is to learn from GOD first hand all that is wrong with you. Wow what an experience that was to go through.
From the moment that Fast horse and myself starting talking, I knew that we would be good friends. He was a great listening and during the one year that we lived together in prison, JESUS had spoken through him on soooooo many occasions. Fast horse worked a 8-4am job Monday through Friday, so we usually found ourselves hanging out together before dinner in our cell block, then from 9pm to 11:30 until the time that the prison forced us back to our cells for lock downs. Fast horse told me the story of how JESUS had called him to be born again and saved, but Fast horse refused the HOLY SPIRIT. During our year together, there wasn’t much use of asking Fast horse to accept JESUS into his life, or for him to repent his sins to JESUS, but that didn’t stop me from trying. I invited him to come to church to watch our band play, but he never showed up once. I thought that I would ask him to just come and hear our music, then he could leave, but he was very wise and knew exactly what I was trying to do. Fast horse was in his 50’s, so of course he has incredible worldly wisdom. All of the other American Indian men in the prison, would all look up to him, and he was an incredible basketball player. He only played basketball with me one time, but everyone was shocked about how good he was. Think about this, except for the times when either of us might be sick, we talked every single night for over two hours. We talked about almost every single subject imaginable, but as the months went by, and I proceeded to get closer and closer to JESUS, our talks then took on a whole different meaning. The last six months of my stay in prison, most of our talks would always be on spiritual topics. It was soooooo easy to know when Fast horse was talking, or when it was JESUS talking through him. I am not saying that JESUS spoke through him every single night, but on a weekly basis, JESUS got many, many messages to me by speaking through Fast horse’s mouth. Night after night, week after week, and month after month we hung out together. He told me so many different stories ranging from his child hood all the way up to being a grown man and living in the penitentiaries. I shared with me a lot of his grisly prison stories, which were not too pleasant to hear. Fast horse was a very evil man, and he could snap on one of the inmates in a single second. But to me, GOD showed amazing grace in our friendship. Only one single time did Fast horse get angry at me, and that was my fault. He told me over and over again during the one year we were friends, that he could leave the prison anytime he wanted to. I didn’t know what he meant. Upon hearing him tell me this, I was always confused about how could he possibly get out of prison. I wondered if maybe he was going to be released soon, or maybe his attorney had called him and told him that he would be released at any time. During our year together being friends, Fast horse told me that he wouldn’t leave until he made sure I got safely out of prison. I asked him many times about this, but he never told me what he really meant. He just kept saying, I could leave the prison now, but I wont leave until I make sure that you safely get out of here first. I never understood what he meant. After one year of having deep conversations and building up our friendship nightly, now my time was really winding down. The last few weeks before my release, Fast horse too started acting slightly funny. I guess he was starting to get sad that I would be leaving soon. I think I asked him a few times during my last two weeks for his contact info, so I could keep writing him letters, but each time I asked him, he side tracked the topic and changed it. The night before my release, we hung out together in the TV room. He didn’t ask me for my contact info and I decided not to ask him either. The two hours went by fast as we watched TV together. It was now 11pm at night, and I knew we had only thirty more minutes before lock down. I stayed with my first decision and I didn’t ask him for his contact info. At 11:30pm, we shook hands and gave each other a hug as we said goodbye. knowing that at 6am in the morning I would be leaving the prison, I was very excited to be leaving, and sad at the same time. After my release from prison, and once I got into my own apartment, I checked the internet to get his contact information, but I couldn’t find it. Then a few months later, I received a letter from one of my other Christian Brothers in prison. I opened up the letter only to find some of the saddest news I had ever heard. The letter went on to explain how after I left, Fast horse had attacked a female prison administrator. After harming her, he then grabbed some pens that were on her desk and stabbed himself in the neck, killing himself Fast horse was NOT with JESUS. I miss his friendship a lot, and how I wish I had just one more chance to talk to him about JESUS.
JESUS used me this entire year to pray to give his Christian men music, and to lead the worship and to preach to them. There were many, many men not mentioned above that I had interacted with during this year. What a great blessing it was to be used by GOD in this way to help others. I really appreciated it, and I still do today after all of these years. JESUS also used men to bless me, and to teach me a few Christian principals and to teach me many other things about myself too.