One of our clients learned that God’s idea for your life may be different than what you want, but His plan is always for the greater good. From prison to Riverside House, he shares about how an encounter with an old friend while here with us gave him the confirmation that God is Good.
For crimes I had committed, I was sentenced to two years in Federal prison. While inside, a good friend I met in the building asked if I wanted to go to church. I agreed to go because I had nothing to lose. To my surprise, I had the most amazing three nights in a row listening to the Spanish pastor. On the last night, I was asked, along with everyone else, to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, which was the best thing that I have ever done in my entire life.
I was born again on 09/17/17. Over the course of a year, I have had so many blessings, starting with my sentence. I had signed a five-year plea deal in my case, and by the glory of God, I ended up only getting two years. After my sentence date, I was told that my destination was going to be a Miami camp, where I could play baseball outside and eat super good food, so I was eager to reach that destination. A week later, my counselor told me that wasn’t the camp I was going to, but that I would be staying in the same building I had been in for six months already with no sun, grass to touch, or recreational location to enjoy fresh air. I was also transferred from the ninth floor to the sixth floor, where all the cadres had worked to maintain the building.
I was so angry and bitter at my God. I blamed Him for that sudden change of destination that was going to ruin 18 months of my life. Despite blaming God, I never stopped praying and learning from the spiritual realm and reading the Bible every day.
After six months of living on the sixth floor, we heard the news that nobody was getting more than two months at a halfway house for a sentence of two years like mine. I prayed so much every day, and on my last days of those six months, they called me in to sign the halfway house papers. At first, I thought it was a mistake. I went in very nervous about what was about to happen, so I prayed and told God that He had control of that meeting. Remember, I was almost ten months away from getting out on probation, and the most time they were giving was two months or even 45 days at a halfway house. The lady was nice and asked me my name and inmate number to confirm that it was me. After she confirmed my credentials, she asked me to sign three documents and print my thumb into one of them. When I was done, she said that was all. I felt weird and went to the exit door, but before exiting, I said to myself, ask the date and time you were given for the halfway house. She told me it was 08/02/18, which was eight months in a halfway house. I was given a chance when all odds were against me, and that was when I knew God had touched somebody for me to leave that place at that specific time.
God loves to show up and bless us when we least think about it or when we least expect it. After my happy departure date from that building, I finally got to breathe the fresh air and feel the sun after over 13 months. I was really happy to have God’s favor in my life. A month into my stay at Riverside House, I saw a new arrival inmate that I used to hear preaching the word of God back in the building. Three days later I saw him at the gym, and we started catching up about a lot of things. I asked him what his destination was after that building we were in together, and he said the same Miami camp I was denied. Right there I blew up and told him that God was good with him, but not with me, because He did not allow me to go and enjoy the sun like him. That is when he said, “Are you kidding me? Those were the saddest and roughest times I have ever experienced.” I said asked him why. He said that because some inmates received cell phones while inside, they were cut from all the good things the place had to offer. They shut down the baseball field and all other sports fields, out of eight TVs, they turned off five, the food was terrible, and they only had six showers and four toilets for 210 inmates.
I was shocked by all of this information that I was just learning about that place. Then he said, “Thank God you didn’t get to go there with me.” Right then, I started crying and asking God for forgiveness for all I had said to Him, and I thanked Him for having my back when I thought He left me and didn’t care what happened to me. The reality was that He never left me; I just didn’t understand what He was doing behind the scenes with my life at that current moment. I was blessed not to go where I originally wanted to go, and today that is another confirmation that He always cares. He loves us so much that sometimes we want something, but only He knows what’s best for us. God bless you and your family.