In Me...



How many times I’ve heard the news before?

When prisoner or prisoners got some of the guards pregnant? When some of the prison’s employees helped inmates escaped? When prisoners were able to get help smuggling drugs or contrabands because of some corrupted prison staff? 

I see and hear that pressure as I work in the prison. Inmates pressuring newly-booked ones, especially those who are incarcerated for the first time. Asking for favors to be done for them or else…

But I don’t need to go to work just to see all these things…I just need to look outside my home and see and hear how much the things of this world are polluting our minds and heart. It is sad when the prison that is supposed to help the inmates change doesn’t occur. It is sad when Christians should be making changes in this place instead of conforming to it. 

I know…the change should start…

In me…

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!- Psalm 80:19 (ESV)
  
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.- Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.- James 4:8 (ESV)

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.- 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV)

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;- Psalm 19:7 (ESV)

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.- Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV)


Wound For Wound



But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
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He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. – 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)

Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being. – Proverbs 20:30 (NIV)

I just had to go there,” I told the medical secretary when she received a phone call from one of the units that housed female inmates.

Her concern was evident on her face as we were just told over the radio traffic to clear it…Meaning…No one should use it not unless necessary as they had just closed and limited all the movements. Especially with inmates. Sometimes…it was an unannounced drill. Sometimes…it could be the real thing if the whole Custody staff should be looking for a missing inmate or someone who could have escaped.

The call was urgent. One middle-aged female tried to get down from her top bunk. Unfortunately, she slipped and hit her head and a big pool of blood was on the ground. Someone from the unit advised our secretary she had gotten up already. But my expectation was not to move her especially coming from a fall. She could have hurt something in her spine. I told them I would be on the way and that just make her still for me. No matter what position. No matter where she ended up. Just let her stay there.

Loud crying was what I heard as I ascended the steps that reflected a little of the light the control unit had turned on for me. Lots of nosy stares from all the locked cells were by the windows. The deputies yelled to quiet the murmurs going on from those nosy inmates. I saw a deep gash on the downed inmate on her left side of head. Blood had dried up already on her hair and a big amount on the floor where she landed. She denied any medical issue. Except for a long time use of heroin. But she said that was long time ago. She wouldn’t allow me to put pressure on the wound. I apologized to her. That though it would hurt, I had to. To control the bleeding. As I asked the female deputies to call for an ambulance for me and carry with them the spinal board.

She kept crying. Yelling with pain at times. I told her it was expected that it would hurt a lot. Because the wound was big. But she would be treated soon at the county’s hospital. 

Just try to relax,” was all I could say. The arrival and departure of the ambulance seemed forever. As I started feeling a little achiness on my right hand from keeping that pressure on her gash. The bleeding did stop. That the EMT’s were able to apply the neck collar and put her on the board. She was calm at that moment. A stark contrast when I first arrived.

I got home in the morning. Exhausted from a very busy night that night. And lack of staff. Considering I was only working lesser hours than the regular employees. I prayed no one would get burned out. I turned on the t.v. Trying to relax and forget the stress at work. Only to turn it off right away. There were no good news at all. 

Bombing in Boston Marathon… Robberies… Rape…Murder…

This must have hurt more than that lady’s wound. How many of us are careless with the affairs of our souls! Even with religion, it can harm someone when it lacks the knowledge of what one should know. The evil nature is in each one of us. Sins that are wounds to our souls. Sins that put us in that wretched conditions. Yet, by wounds, those are also healed…No other way than what Jesus had done.


The Only Intervention





“Why do you wanna’ hurt yourself?”

“’Coz….I just wanna…”

“Ayyy jwust feel like I’m ahhh…depressed…”

“And why are you talking funny? Did you take someone else’s meds?”

“Nawww….Ma’am….I’m just twired and sleepphhyy…”

“Any medical problem?”

“Nahhh…”

“Did you take Psych meds before?”

He looked up. This young, male inmate. Incarcerated for almost two weeks in our prison. He never had a problem except a few dog bites on two of his digits of the right hand and slightly on the left side of his head…Yes…From the K-9 dog which pursued him when he tried to elude the arresting officers. He was just on antibiotics and there was no indication from his medical history that he had other problems…Like mental issues. Except last night…

When their unit deputy called the Clinic and brought him down. Cuffed wrists behind his back. Talking in slightly slurred speech as if he was drunk. But he denied taking medications not given by the medical staff. I believed him. He must not be sleeping well since his arrest. 

Because he had been missing his Psych meds. Night after night…12 days in a row…That he finally had to say something when his mental condition was slowly nudging at him. To become uncomfortable. To think suicidal ideation. Perhaps, guilt...Despite him not hearing any voices. It was a good thing he never acted yet.

“Here…,” I told the deputy as I handed him a form that allowed him to bring the inmate for Suicide Watch. I explained to the inmate the procedure. Of the importance of bringing him there because he confessed to me how much he wanted to truly hurt himself. That all his clothes would be taken away and he would just be covered with a suit designed for suicidal inmates not to be able to use to harm themselves or himself. Like those others who had gone to that place before him. But the most important thing would be that the Psych Doctor would give them priority. To see them all first thing in the morning. And be given medications that would apply to their conditions and hopefully, would help them not have those thoughts.

He got up. Slowly. The weariness walking with him. The shoulders dropped so low as if the weight of the world was on them. And his thoughts…Only him knew… What was going on…

It was hard that he had to come through a nurse to tell of his symptoms and mental problems that plagued his mind and heart. Before he could see a Psychiatrist…

Behind all this…what’ s not seen is the fact. Of how easy it is to confess what’s residing heavily in one’s mind and heart. The first step to yield to the calling of the Cross and the easy yoke it places instead on one’s heart. No need for mediation. One can go directly to God for His redemption and forgiveness. Because of Jesus… His sacrifice…The only intervention needed. By all men...

And even believers who had already asked for His forgiveness must still continue to confess every sin that is committed…Because it helps to keep one’s fellowship with God in good standing. Daily… 

For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity--the man Christ Jesus.
- 1 Timothy 2:5 (NLT)

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. – Hebrews 4:14 (NLT)

Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

Quick To Blame

"If you don't do your part, don't blame God..." - Billy Sunday



The code to be not denied with sick call request was well-known. By prisoners who had come and gone. And to those who would stay forever behind those bars.

Chest pain

Especially late at night when another day was just starting. The phone rang next to where I was sitting and immediately, I recognized one of the units calling. Stating the specific problem or complaint from a newly-housed prisoner, the person on the other end of the line wanted my approval if it would be okay for them to send him…

“He complained of difficulty breathing and having chest pains!” she explained. Both of us knew…I couldn’t say “No!”

He was breathing okay when I was observing him as his tall, lanky figure entered the Infirmary. A few, dry coughs were the ones noticeable. I immediately let him in to the exam area so I could start getting his vital signs. Without asking. I wanted him to tell me the symptoms himself. 

“Ahhh….This place…Since I got here, I started having this cough and it’s like…it’s like…I have a lot of saliva or something and it’s hard to swallow…” 

I remained silent. He kept blaming the “jail”… “This place…”

No mention of “chest pains.”

I asked if he had sinus allergy. He denied it. He said it was the first time he had those symptoms. I explained…whether it was in the jail or outside, it was the season for allergy sufferers as the pollen count was high daily…If not, he could be developing the symptoms. I tried not to be rude. It was easier for me to just tell him not to commit a crime…So he wouldn’t be in “this place” in the first place. Or…that…he was not having any “chest pain”. He could have put a sick call. The normal process inmates do by putting a request slip until the sick call nurses would get in each unit to do the sick call there in the morning. Night shift nurses only tried to see life-threatening or urgent cases. But most of them, even minor colds wanted to be seen right away.

I gave him some “allergy pills”. I told him to put a request slip for another sick call if those medications would not help.

“Drink a lot of water, too, Sir,” I added as he got up and thanked me and slowly re-traced his footsteps back to his unit.

I thought I saw myself in him. Quick to blame God for any suffering. Instead of me listening to His Word, I demanded for Him to give me what I needed and wanted. Instead of trusting in Him, I wanted to solve some problems my way. My strength. Despite me knowing I couldn’t do it on my own.

Help me Lord. To always trust in You. To always remain joyful despite the trials I face. To remember that I am not alone and that You are always there for me. Helping me go through each storm in my life. Increase my faith Lord to help me overcome the “Impossible” that are not to You. I thank You Lord for Your endless love, grace and mercy. I know I need you...Always...In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 


Be Not Forgotten



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I barely started the 4 hours I committed last night to help the short night crew, when the Charge Nurse handed a medical chart and requested if I could see a pregnant female prisoner. Already on her way from her unit. Complaining of increasing contractions and back pain. She was on her later term of pregnancy. 39 ½ weeks to be exact. Anticipating an eminent arrival of a newborn baby, I prepared the Labor and Delivery Kit, a sterilized package that housed the needed things in case she delivered in the jail. 

We called for an ambulance. I saw her grimaced as I asked her to try to walk and be transferred to the exam table instead of sitting on the waiting area. So the IV and oxygen could be started. We heard her trying to push.

“Oh no! Don’t push! Try to concentrate on your breathing,” I commanded, as I touched her upper back and reassured her.

“Trying to relax is the best you can do. I know it’s not easy. But you are not fully dilated yet. We’re just waiting for the ambulance so you can get the better care at the hospital.”

“Thank you,” she uttered. As the wave of the painful contractions seemed to have come and gone.

It was her first baby. A baby boy she told me. A baby who was sentenced along with her while inside her womb. After birth, the baby would go to her mother to care for him. As she had to be returned to the prison after and served the rest of her sentence…Few months…To maybe a year. It wasn’t only her. Many women, young as she was, entered the prison. Pregnant…Some wanted the babies. Some opted for abortion… Some trapped with the habits of abusing illegal substances. 

“I’m glad you never used street drugs and seldom drank alcohol,” I whispered to her right ear, her back facing me as I continued to coach her with her breathing.

“I hope you’ll get a chance to be out of here to be with your first baby…He is precious,” I added.

She smiled. Alternating with some grimaces. As two paramedics walked in, pushing the guerney and the heavy emergency bag. I started cleaning up the exam room as soon as she left. Thinking how awful it was. That she wasn’t alone in her suffering. But the baby had to face that, too… All I could do was pray. For her and the precious gift God had given her. For her to be able to go home…And be able to make her remember how it would be like…To be a loving mother to her first child…And make that child… BE NOT FORGOTTEN like the other children…Born by their incarcerated mothers… 

I prayed…for her to be a loving mother like how God was and always is…to His children…
  
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. – Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)
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Encouragers

The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]


Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.


Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.


All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.


When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.


The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.


When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.


[Source: Life Application Bible]:


We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.


“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14


Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].


Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.


Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.


Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].

Friends