Although the pandemic has kept me from going into the jail, my ministry is still going strong. I am putting as much into writing to prisoners as when I was going into the jail 3 or 4 days a week. Please join me in prayer for these men. Pray that the Lord will use my letters to bless them and help them to grow.
Please pray for “P.” He came to America from Thailand when he was only 9 years old. He began a long prison term when he was still a teenager. He finished his sentence on September 8th. At that point, as expected, he was handed over to ICE for deportation to Thailand. He is looking forward to starting over. However, he has been trapped in a very crowded for profit ICE detention center in Jena, Louisiana for the last 60 days with no end in sight. He is living in a room with 80 men all packed to the hilt and though his handlers insist it isn’t prison, it is in fact the worst prison he has been in. “P” spent several years in solitary confinement in Maine State Prison. At this writing, he has spent an entire month in the polar opposite of solitary confinement, but in an environment just as cruel. He is packed into a room with eighty ICE detainees – most from Central America, where the noise is unbearable and the blazing lights are kept on 24/7. He is sleep deprived and suffering terribly. His deportation, which should have taken a matter of days, has now surpassed 60 days From his point of view, ICE means “Isn’t Coming Ever”. He deserves far better than this but he is grateful for the prayers of many friends who have reached out to him. His faith has helped him to endure.
Please pray for all those being held in these inhumane conditions, awaiting deportation. Please pray for “M,” an undocumented immigrant who had been here In America for ten years. “M” walked many hard miles with his brother when he was 10 years old. They were fleeing gang violence in Honduras, and hoping to find a better life in America “M” was arrested for a minor offence in Manchester, but Immigration officials were notified, and he was quickly deported. “M’ had made a commitment to the Lord, and he had hoped to stay here and be a good father to his newborn baby, but he is gone. He returns to the same gang violence he left ten years ago. The gangs are sure to try to recruit him, and threaten him and his family if he resists. Please pray that the Lord keeps him safe, and he can find Christians in Honduras to help him grow strong in his new faith.
Please pray for “J’” I mentioned him in my last newsletter: “I heard he was back in jail. His parole would probably be revoked, and he would be back in the prison where he had already spent more than twenty years. (He also spent much of his time in Segregation.) Please pray for him not to be bitter, angry, or resentful. Pray for “J” to pray, and seek a stronger, deeper relationship with God.” When I heard about his arrest, I wrote him and. he got right back to me, writing, “I greatly appreciate the Bible, the scripture, and the letter of concern…I’m better than I was. I was a mess for a while. I was jaundiced at the start of the month…I’m blessed with a great deal love and support, and I humbly ask the Lord to restore my body, and save my soul…Thank you for caring for me all these years, even when I didn’t care for myself.”
I’ve known “J” for 20 years, but now he was asking the Lord to save his soul, in a way he had not before. So I wrote to him, “You can’t just dabble in following Jesus. You have to jump in with both feet. Jesus warned us, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Jesus says following him is a lot like taking up a cross. Back then the cross was where criminals were executed. And something in us has to die, if we really want to follow Jesus. He challenges us to put to death what is “criminal” or sinful, in us. I’m sending you some books about it. I’ll be praying for you”.
Sometimes men who knew the Lord in jail, seem to lose their way when they got out. When they come back to jail, they feel a lot of shame and condemnation. I reassure them that God can forgive, heal, and restore them. But they must humbly and honestly confess, showing true regret for their sins:
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
And they must repent: change their hearts and minds so that it shows in their changed behavior:
Jesus said “ Unless you repent, you will all perish” Luke !5:3 “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” Luke 15:10 ‘”This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.You are witnesses of this”. Luke 24:46-48
Please pray for “M”. I baptized “M” in the chapel in Maine State Prison in 1998. He seemed serious about following the Lord. But now The World, The Flesh, and The Devil have taken their toll, and he is back in prison. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” Pray for “M” to listen to the Shepherd’s voice again. He wrote to me; “I have been hounded by the Holy Spirit these last 6 months about truly committing my life to God and his will. As you know I struggle with lots of addictions both with drugs, pride, anger, and things of this world. So, I would strongly plead with you to pray for help with all of this.”
I wrote back, “‘There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.’ I’m praying for you to see yourself the way God sees you. Father God created you, and he doesn’t make junk. Jesus paid a great price on the cross to redeem you. You are precious in his sight. And the Holy Spirit has come to live within you. In Christ, you can be a saint! The State may think of you as a felon. Your own family may think you’re a failure and a loser. You may even think of yourself as a hopeless addict. But God sees you as an overcomer, called, equipped, and gifted to serve.”
Please pray for “T,” I wrote about him in an earlier newsletter, “I’m afraid he will get bullied. Or maybe he’s just depressed, or mad at God. We used to have great conversations in the County Jail. He became a Christian and was reading the Bible avidly. But since he went to the prison I haven’t heard from him”
“T” finally wrote to me. He is struggling. But at least we’re in touch now. He wrote, “I’ve been going through a lot here. I have seen Segregation, and it’s not fun. I’m not in for long, but still not doing the best. I’m having lots of trouble fitting in here, not made for prison life. I’m feeling so lost and sad! I definitely could use support and prayer. I received the books and papers. They were awesome!”
I wrote to T, “I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time. I sent you some more books after I got your letter, hoping they would encourage you, make you feel better, or at least distract you. In your letter, you write “I’m having lots of trouble fitting in here. I’m not made for prison life.” Well, maybe you should be glad you don’t fit in. Please hang on to the conviction that you’re not a felon, you’re not a criminal.”
I’ve known men in prison who tried to fit in, but they lost track of who they really were. A lot of my ministry, in Maine State Prison for 18 years and Rockingham County Jail for the last 10, has been helping men to find their true identity as children of God, followers of Jesus, temples of the Holy Spirit.
Please pray for “A.” Five years ago, I reached out to him while he was in the County Jail awaiting sentencing. He wrote, ”My time in Brentwood (Rockingham County Jail) with you helped me prepare for sentencing. I remember looking back at you and I knew you were there for me just like Our Father and I knew I would be okay. You were there in Brentwood for me. I miss your powerful prayers, The word of God is written on my heart. I will keep you in prayer till the last day, Amen. Love you and I will never forget you. Thanks for everything.”
I wrote back to A, “Thank you for your letter.! I was really blessed to read about your memories of the talks we used to have in the Jail. We had good fellowship because the Lord was with us. He was pouring out the Holy Spirit on us. In the Bible, they used the anointing oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit poured out on believers.
Psalm 133: How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
Then Moses poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him. Lev.8:12
Jesus said, ”The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
I raise my own financial support for my ministry, and it is the primary income for my wife and me. If you are interested in contributing you can send checks to:
Rev. Matt Kantrowitz
Isaiah 61 Ministries
PO Box 461
Goffstown, NH 03045
You can email me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.