November was a busy month inside the prison that I serve at, as we hosted Thanksgiving family nights for our Faith/Character Based Honor Dorm. For many this proved to be the most special time of the year as their families traveled from near and far to have a Thanksgiving meal with them. For many this was the first time in years to eat a meal with their families! The responses that I received since these nights have been filled with gratitude. Below is a note that I received from one of the men that participated in the family nights.
I have been incarcerated for over 26 years and have had very few opportunities to spend the holidays with my mom. She lives very far away and comes to visit when she can, but plane tickets can get pretty expensive during the holiday season, so most of the time we don’t visit during the holidays. I haven’t sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with my mom since I was 16 years old…until last week. I don’t know exactly how it happened, (I believe the Lord made a way), but somehow my mom was able to fly in to Alabama last week for our Family Night. We sat together on the Visiting Yard, with two of my closest friends in the prison with us, and had a wonderful meal…turkey and dressing, potato salad and cranberry sauce, fresh tomatoes and squash casserole, green beans, macaroni and cheese, fresh rolls, brownie delight…and did I mention the ham, wow! I ate way too much the first time around and still went back for seconds. Everyone was complementing on how good the food was, everyone was smiling and laughing, there was so much love out there. It was such a wonderful time. A lot of the volunteers were there, too, and it seems like everyone stopped by my table to say hi. My mom was glowing, she was so excited to meet everyone. It is times like these that form the memories that are so special. I do not think I will ever forget that night. I thank God for everyone who helped make it happen. I am so grateful for that opportunity.
There are many more testimonies much like this one and I am excited to see how God has worked in the hearts of these men and their families during this time. Families are under attack in our world and I am humbled to be part of an effort to help restore the family institution!