Dear Mrs. Dukas (Mama-Joe), I have had an extremely hard time writing to anybody since I have been here, [name of prison] this is a very bad place. It is the week before Thanksgiving, every day (I read) the words of a card you sent me some four years ago, “No one but You oh Lord can put together what has crumbled into dust. You can restore a conscience turned to ashes. You can restore a soul lost and without hope to its former beauty. With You there is nothing and no one that can not be redeemed, You are love; Your are the Creator and Redeemer. We praise You singing: Alleluia!” (Kontakion 10, Akathist of Thanksgiving). The card has a rainbow over a lake. I keep it in my Bible. I read these words every day. Thank You. Every day I thank God for you and the people of St. Nicholas. In so many ways I am a better person for having you in my life. I don’t believe y’all completely understand the power of what you do. Dear God, for these people I thank You. O Lord, I thank You for enlightening the darkness of my heart. O God, I thank You for the chance You have given me to be a light unto Your Glory. O God, I thank You for the chance You have given me to know You, to walk in Your Way. O God, I thank You for the incredible depth of Your Love. That through Your Son we all may come to know Your Salvation. O God, You who are sovereign of the universe, I thank You. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9). You and the work you do are part of this promise from God. This time last year I wrote to you concerning hope. I now think I had gotten ahead of myself. The Word does tell us to seek God and His Kingdom first. And towards that end I would appreciate any and all materials, information, etc. that you can send me concerning baptism into and the complete commitment to the Russian Orthodox Church. I do not make this request lightly. A question has arisen, “Why Orthodoxy?” this is a question that I would love to be able to fully answer but do not feel that I can as long as I am still technically outside the Church. So, I will end this letter here. Hopefully this letter has helped to unblock what ever it is that has been interfering with my writing. I will leave you with the Words of God that come to us through Paul. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18). Your brother in Christ, Elijah
I’ve been so busy with family, work, church, and planning a prison ministry workshop that I’ve been slack in my day to day prison ministry efforts, like letter writing. I was going to skip sending a Thanksgiving card this month and haven’t even started on the November December Good-Newsletter. Then I got this letter from Elijah and, well, I let you read it for yourself. Sometimes we think what we do doesn’t matter, but it does. Every prayer, every pocket full of change tossed into our donation jar, every signature on a birthday card is, as Elijah says, “part of this promise from God” Thank you for your support! Please visit our FaceBook page and promote our Prison Ministry Workshop to your Orthodox friends and family.