Jen became a grandmother at a much younger age than she ever imagined. She felt bitter that a new, unexpected grandbaby would derail her teenage son’s future.
When her grandson, Matt, was born at Christmas and she finally had a chance to hold him, her anger faded away. “I looked at him and it melted my heart,” she said. Jen promised to never abandon that little baby.
But Matt’s life was not easy and he made some costly mistakes. The day Matt was sentenced to prison, Jen stood outside the courthouse shaken. She wondered how Matt’s life had come to this and pondered what his future would look like. A stranger who had been sitting in the courtroom during the trial came up to her and looked her in the eye. She said with compassion yet firmness, “I want you to never give up on that boy.” It was shocking statment coming from a stranger, but also just the encouragement Jen needed in that moment. As though visited by an angel, she said to herself, “We will not give up on him.”
Jen put Matt in touch with OCPM and helped find a priest to visit him while he was in prison. OCMP has gotten to know him and been a support to Matt while he is in prison. Jen has watched him grow and become close to the Lord. As Matt serves out his time, Jen visits as much as she can and speaks to him on the phone every week. He will be released in a few years and Jen knows that his spiritual growth and the consistency of his grandparents will be key to his success when that days comes.
Jen wrote to OCPM, “Thankfully, our Lord is in all places with us. He has been with us in our struggle since our beloved grandson has been in prison. Your ministry has been so helpful to us and to him.”
Matt’s story does not end with his arrest. His story is still being written. As the Lord doesn’t give up on us or abandon us, we will continue to support Matt and his family throughout this journey.
This Christmas, when “the true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world (John 1:9),” we remember that Christ illuminates all who seek Him, even in the darkness of a prison cell.
As a difficult 2021 draws to a close, we thank you for being with families like Jen and Matt’s by supporting the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry. In doing so you have remembered to visit our Lord in prison.