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Remembering Those in Prison Remembers Jesus

He had served 17 years in prison, was in his late 70s, and now tasted freedom. He related the detail to me in a letter received this afternoon:

  • J. Grant Swank, Jr.,
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He had served 17 years in prison, was in his late 70s, and now tasted freedom. He related the detail to me in a letter received this afternoon:

"Now I am back home and it is great to be free from prison - to be home. They were two difficult days in the process of being released, especially because it was real cold — twenty degrees. Most of the time I was in thin cotton pants and short sleeve shirt, no jacket. Some of the time I was in a jumpsuit with no sleeves, so it was cold."

Believers in Maine's Lakes Region came to meet Myron through an article I had written and he had come upon in a church magazine. With that, letters were mailed back and forth. Prayers were offered faithfully so that Myron became "family" — one of us.

"It all started Wednesday night when they told me to pack up my property at eleven o'clock as I was going on the chain in the morning. Six o'clock they took me to the back gate to catch the chain bus. It came at seven and we were in town at nine. I had to stand outside in the cold for two hours. Then they took us to the cold gym, as we stood in our shorts waiting to be processed in. Three o'clock in the afternoon we were assigned our cell and bunk. In the evening we attended lectures until eleven o'clock."

Jesus told His own: "I was in prison and you visited me…." Therefore, when believers remember someone in any kind of prison - jail, loneliness, desertion, refugee camp, betrayal — the believers are ministering to Jesus as well as the one incarcerated. To minister in such a compassionate manner is truly a privilege.

"They got us up at four-thirty in the morning and took us to the cold gym. There was no place to sit down, except the cold cement floor, so I stood. My legs and back ached from standing and the cold. Eight o'clock they took us to the processing room, as they did our paper work. There were about three hundred of us going out. It was there we received our fifty dollars. We were issued free clothes, a pair of pants and a shirt, no jacket and they were used clothes. I was so glad to leave the white uniforms behind. Eleven o'clock they opened the side door and let us onto the sidewalk. We were free, no more handcuffs or guards."

I never knew why my friend had served time. I didn't need to know. It was not for me to know, unless there was a reason which would help him should he decide to share that with me. But he didn't.

"My son, Andy, was there to meet me and the first place we went was to McDonalds. I had a cheeseburger, fries, and strawberry shake. Then we went to the city to report into the sheriff's office and get a travel card. We went to my hometown and drove to see my wife's grave, as it was the first time I had seen it. It was well kept up and had a nice marker. Finally, we went out to my place and Naomi was waiting for us. We had a roast beef, potatoes, vegetables, and cake dinner — a real treat compared to prison food. There were eight of my children there."

We believers had waited over Christmas, wondering if Myron would be released in the new year. He sent letters but did not mention any detail regarding release. We figured he did not want to write anything about that until he actually tasted freedom.

"The next two days were real restful with no count time, slamming of metal doors or any guards shouting. It is so peaceful and quiet here in the country. My sons, Matt and Peter, came to see me, so we talked till midnight.

"Thank you so much for your prayers and letters to me. 'The Lord is faithful who shall establish you and keep you from evil. II Thessalonians 3:3' May God's richest blessings abide upon you. In Christ, Myron."

  • J. Grant Swank, Jr.
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