St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

April 22, 2018 Sunday evening Dear Mama-Jo, Stephen, Father Onouphry, Father Steven and all the brothers and sisters and young ones there at Saint Nicholas, I just wanted to write you and let you know that I received the beautiful birthday cared that all of you signed and sent to me… I couldn’t hold back the tears and I sit and read the names of everyone that reached out to me with love and fellowship on my birthday. Which, by the way, it today! ;o) I want to thank each of you from the bottom of my heart and soul for what you did. I truly have never received a more beautiful birthday gift in my life from anyone. I am so very proud and honored to be part of your blessed church and to be in your thoughts and prayers… I got very, very sick the 16th, this past Monday. I believe the sickest that I can ever remember being in my whole life. And I stayed sick right up to last night, Saturday, until a man of God that is in the cell next to mine laid hands on my head and prayed for me. Almost from the second he started praying for me I felt God drawing the sickness out of me. I just wanted to share this with you as a testimony of the power of prayer… It is my prayer that our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will bless each of you… and St Nicholas Church in a mighty and powerful way. Thank you again for accepting me into the Church family and again for my beautiful birthday card that you sent me… Love in Christ, Your friend and brother, John

Now look what you've done! You made a grown man cry!

It may be hard for you to believe that one little birthday card can mean so much, but truly, I hear this all the time! Men who had sad childhoods and are long forgotten by family and friends are overwhelmed with emotion when strangers take the time to scribble “Happy Birthday” and sign their name to a card for them; to think about them for even a moment. Many list and thank everyone who signed by name. John sent two letters, one to the church and one to “Mama-Jo”,  and a card thanking us a total of a dozen times! I’ll post the one letter and the card on the bulletin board.

Last fall John found the church address on “A Timeline of Church History” brochure that he inherited from one of our participants at Alexander Correctional, where Fr. Onouphry holds monthly meetings. He wrote, but his letter got misplaced. Months later, when I finally  sent an introductory packet, he wrote me two 10+ page letters in a week! John, like many of the guys who write, has been seeking God and Studying the Bible for a long time. Finding Orthodoxy is like finding a treasure. Finding a community to pray for and who will pray for them is priceless!

New people ask a lot of questions and share  testimonies about God working in their lives. God is very present in prisons; He is working on men's hearts! It’s wonderful to see how Orthodoxy can answer burning questions and give their time new purpose. It surely stimulates a lot of conversation!

Thank you for bringing John to tears on his birthday! Thank you for signing cards, for including John and our other participants when you pray for those in prison. Thank you for supporting this ministry with your prayers and donations.

The prayers of people like John are truly lifting our community up before God and we are truly being blessed by them.