The goal of writing to a person in prison is to let them know they are not forgotten. Through letters, we show compassion, caring, and understanding. I joined the Twin Cities Prison Ministry several years ago to help provide a presence to those affected by incarceration.
In a letter I received from my first pen pal, Donald, he said how sorry he was for taking so long to write, but he didn’t have money to buy stamps. He went on to say how my letter put a very big smile on his face. “Friends are hard to find” he wrote, and “Where there was no hope, now there is hope.” I also appreciated knowing he’s praying for me and my family. Every letter ended with “write real soon.”
Lenny’s first letter began with how happy and thankful he was to receive a letter and for taking time out of a busy life to be a pen pal. What he wants to do when he gets out of prison is to start a homeless shelter which he believes will provide purpose for his life. He realizes he will need to start small by donating his time to help out. He asked to “pray for me that God will reveal His plans for me.”
Something I have in common with my current pen pal, Bradley, is we both like to read and write. We often share titles of books. In his last letter, he enclosed a poem which he had written and submitted to a church that each year publishes a book, and his work was included. Here’s one stanza from his poem titled “Awakening.”
“He could have avoided this cell of his own making,
Awoke and realized not everything is for his taking.
Now his strong heart is breaking,
On his quaking knees he is finally making,
The choice to live for God.”
Note: The Pen Pals for Prisoners Program is operated through the Order of Malta and Twin Cities Prison Ministry. Letters go directly to inmates using only Pen Pal’s first name. Letters sent from inmates go to a PO Box and then are forwarded by the Pen Pal Coordinator. Commitment is to writing one letter per month for one year. Contact Program Director, Steve Hawkins – firstname.lastname@example.org