The Prison Preacher

  The day started out like any other normal day for Alice.  She always got up very early and headed for the gym for a workout before going to work.  It was an all night gym so all the members had keys.  When she let herself in, no one else was there so she enjoyed about 45 minutes of working out thinking about how God has blessed her over the years.

She realized it was about time to get a shower and go to work so she grabbed her gym bag and headed for the women's showers, never once did it enter her mind that she might not be safe.  She had followed the same routine for almost a year, ever since she'd landed a job just across the street from the gym.

As she pulled her tank top over her head, she stopped abruptly and looked around. "I thought I heard something" she said to herself.  "I guess not".  Before she could remove her sweat pants, again she heard a noise, she thought, who else is an early riser like me?  Still not thinking too much about it, many people had keys so she continued getting ready to take a shower, when all of a sudden the door opened and in came a huge man with a crazy smile on his face,  "Well, little lady, what a pleasant surprise".  "Get out of here" she yelled as she grabbed for a towel.  She was trembling and praying silently, "Lord I need you NOW, Please help me."

The man just continued smiling and reached out and touched her hair, "nice".  She could see evil in his eyes and she knew he had no conscience what so ever, and she knew that if God didn't intervene right then, she would be molested, maybe even murdered.  She thought about her husband, Gene, and their little girl, Maxie.  She thought she'd never see them again.  How would they go on without her?  Tears begin to run down her cheeks.

That seemed to excite the man.  He wanted her to be afraid and to panic so he started doing little things to irritate and frighten her. First he ran his fingers through her hair and pulled so hard that her head snapped back, a whine escaped her lips.  Again, silently she prayed,  Father, if it's my time to die, I am ready to meet you, but please don't let this man abuse me in this way.  Just let me die now, before he goes any farther with his torture.

A scripture came to her mind, even as she was wondering what to do next.  She was wondering what God was trying to tell her with this scripture when she felt him back hand her across the face, she went sprawling across the floor.  He was on her in a second, holding her down, looking straight into her eyes.  He said, "I think I'll enjoy myself awhile before I kill you."  Even while he was roughing her up, before raping her she silently cried to the Lord,  Father please tell me what to do to stop this awful man.

A smile came to her face that made the man let up on his hold on her and ask her, "Do you think this is funny?"  He slapped her hard across the face and said, "Go ahead, tell me what you think is so funny so we can both laugh."  She looked straight into his eyes with strength and peace she never thought possible and began to pray out loud,  "Father in heaven, I pray for this, my enemy, have mercy on his soul, for he doesn't know what he's doing.

This time he landed his fist to her stomach, when she could get her breath again, in all her pain and with her body bruised and bleeding, she looked at her attacker and said, "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord, I will repay."  Then she began talking to him in low tones, "Jesus loves you, He died so you could live.  He was buried, but he rose again so you could be redeemed."  To her surprise, he loosened his grip on her, "Jesus?  who is Jesus, and why would he love me?  Nobody's ever loved me,  My dad didn't love he, He beat my Mom to death while I watched him, I was just a little boy and couldn't help her, My dad said it was my fault, he was my dad so I believed him.  I guess my Mom loved me but she was the only one."

"Well,"  she said, "Now you know that someone else loves you too.  You don't have to be filled with hate and bitterness."  "But I've done so many awful things, I've hurt so many people, just look at what I've done to you, and what I intended to do."  She repeated John 3:16.  "You just don't know how many women I've hurt, or the people I've killed.  No, God couldn't love me, I'm not worth anyone's love.

She thought for a minute, then said, "Could I just tell you about Jesus?"  He sat there on the shower room floor with her and she began.  "God the Father created the heavens and the earth, He's God of the universe, but there was also God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.  God decided He wanted someone to talk to so he made a man and a woman.  He called the man Adam and his wife was Eve.  From this couple, the earth was populated.  The people became so sinful that God regretted that he had ever created them, so He destroyed them with a flood, He only saved one family to replenish the earth.  Again the population grew, but after many years there was so much evil on the earth  that the Father had to do something.  He knew that there had to be a shedding of blood to cover the sins, but it had to be a perfect sacrifice.  He said to His Son,  "Son, the people have turned their backs on me again, the evil on the earth is just too much to even look upon.  There has to be a sacrifice so those who choose to do so, can be forgiven and redeemed from their sins.  Son, my perfect Son, Will you go?

The man was listening so intently, she again prayed silently "Father please, give me the words that will touch this man's heart."  She changed her position to try and relieve the pain caused by his abuse, but feeling no ill will towards him, she continued.  "Jesus didn't even have to think about His decision, Yes Father, I'll go.  Whatever it takes to turn people from their sinful ways.  I love them so much, I will go."

"God prepared a young virgin girl to have a baby."   "Wait a minute! That's impossible," he interrupted, but she answered,  "With God all things are possible"  she continued, "The young girl's name was Mary, she was engaged to marry a young man named Joseph.  He loved her and believed her when she told him that she had gotten pregnant without ever being with a man.  They were not a rich couple so the baby was born in a barn surrounded by animals, his first bed was a feeding trough.

Jesus grew to be wiser than any of the teachers and prophets of that time. He walked on this earth for 33 years,  teaching, preaching and healing the sick. He even raised some from the dead."  The man asked her, "What does all this have to do with me?  It was a long time before I was even born."  She explained that Jesus didn't sacrifice his life's blood just for the people of that time, but for every living soul, past, present, and future and that included him.  "Okay," he said. "So what happened to him?"  "After 33 years some soldiers captured him and accused him of phony charges and He was sentenced to death by being nailed to a cross.  He had told his disciples that he would be killed and buried but then in 3 days He would rise again and He did just that.  But he didn't just die, first they beat him until he was unrecognizable.  They put a crown of thorns on his head,  They stabbed Him in the side, He took the sins of the whole world on his own body."  He said, "You mean he took my sins with him to that cross?"  "Yes He did, it doesn't mean you won't have to pay for the crimes you have committed but it does mean that you can have eternal life, after you die here on this earth, you can go to heaven and live forever in that beautiful place where Jesus is the light and there will be no more pain or sorrow, just love and peace forever.  Do you even know what peace feels like?"  He asked, "How do I get this peace?" Then she happily told him how to become a Christian, "All you have to do is believe that Jesus is the Son of the only true and living God, that He died of his own free will because of His great love for all of mankind, that he arose again after 3 days as he said He would.  Just ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to come into your heart."  He answered, "And that's all?"  She said, "The Bible says that He came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him might be saved.  That's You,  what's your name?"  "Sam, what's yours?"  "Alice."    "That's a pretty name, it was my mother's name."  "Well, Sam, are you ready to give your heart to Jesus and feel the peace that only He can give?"  "Yes, but I don't know how to pray."   "That's okay, just repeat after me,  But Sam, you have to mean it with your whole heart, can you do that?"   "I think so,"  And tears were already streaming down his face.

"Father God,  I am so sorry for my sins, I don't know how you could love me, but thank you for loving me enough to die for me.  I want to live a better life but I can't do it on my own. Will you come into my heart and cleanse me, and guide me, help me to make amends where I can and to face up to my punishment  from the law? Help me to learn more and more about you and how to live a Christian life so I can do for someone else what's been done for me today. In Jesus name, Amen."  He repeated each thing as Alice said the prayer.  He looked at Alice and she saw the love and peace of God shining there.  "Alice, can you ever forgive me for hurting you?"  She answered, "Already have, now go quickly before other's start coming in.  I have to go to work but meet me in front of the gym at 4:30 this afternoon, there's some people I want you to meet."  He was shocked that she would just let him go and not call the police, "  "You're not turning me in?"   "No I'm not, but we need to talk about how you should do that yourself, but first you need some prayer partners and Christian friends."

He left and she quickly got the blood washed off and dressed, covering the bruises the best she could with make up as she prayed that Sam would meet her after work.  She was a member of a prayer group and she wanted to take Sam with her to the 5:30 meeting.  After she got to the dress shop where she worked, she found some pain pills and took them, called Gene and asked him to meet her at the prayer group, and that she had someone she wanted him to meet.

She made it through the work day and trusted that God would work things out for Sam to be waiting for her. He almost didn't go but at the last minute he could hear her voice telling him about Jesus and he really did want to change his life and learn to be a Christian. If Alice thought it would be good for him to meet her friends after what he'd done to her, it was the least he could do.  So he was there waiting for her in front of the place where he'd abused her.  How could she have forgiven him so easily? 

When the pastor opened the meeting and  asked if anyone had prayer request, there were several.  When they were ready to pray, Sam spoke, "I wish someone would pray with me, I just met Jesus this morning and I don't know him very well yet."  Suddenly he was surrounded by praying people.  He'd never felt the Holy Spirit but he felt Him now.  There were lots of tears and some praising and shouting.  He was just in awe of what was happening. He loved it and never wanted to be without it again.

Sam got life in prison for all his crimes.  He led many prisoners to the Lord.  The people in the prayer group kept in touch with him and encouraged him all the way.  Sam was known as The Prison Preacher and God used him greatly for many years, until the day He took him home.

Written by; Carrie Kinyon  January 2023

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