Last Spring, our church received a letter from a woman in prison, asking if someone could please write to her. She wrote to our church, because her father had attended our church, and had recently passed away. Because she was in prison, she was not able to attend his funeral.
This letter was given to one of the leaders of our women's ministry; she brought it to me, and asked if I would be willing to write to her; she said she thought of me, because of the experiences I've had with my son. I told her I would be glad to do this.
Thus began our relationship. I have corresponded with Nichole ever since that time; we are able to do this by e-mail now. I have learned much about her. The first thing I wanted to know was if she had accepted Christ as her Savior. She assured me she had, but that she needed someone to help her grow and encourage her.
I gave her some scriptures to read, and have since sent some books to her. I sent her "The Purpose Driven Life", and she went through it faithfully, chapter by chapter. Over the months that we've corresponded, I truly believe she has really grown in her christian walk. She says she has a much more positive outlook, and she has shared the books and her faith with other women there.
I have also sort of become her advocate on the outside. She asked me to phone her Grandmother, as she wasn't able to call her. I did that and found her to be a sweet christian lady, 82 y/o. Nichole also has 2 little children, ages 2 1/2 and 3 1/2, who are staying with their aunt, who has guardianship. Nichole's grandmother and this aunt were supposed to take the kids for a visit to the prison on December 11th. But at Thanksgiving, the father took the kids for a "visit for a couple day", and has not allowed them to go back to the aunt. So this visit didn't take place.
Obviously, Nichole has been very upset with all of this. She asked if her grandmother and I could come for a visit. So we made arrangements to do that. Yesterday, I drove her grandmother, Colleen, and I to Rockville for this visit. We had a wonderful time conversing on the way down, and she filled me in on more of Nichole's background.
We were able to spend 2 hours with Nichole. I found her to be delightful. She has a bubbly personality, and has maintained a positive attitude through all of this. She has taken a CMA and QMA course while there, and is now in a labor apprenticeship, learning factory skills, and will be labor-certified. She is making plans and has goals for when she will be released, hopefully in May 2010. She of course was tearful about her kids. She will be sending a notorized document to the aunt, which she can then take to the police, to get the children back. (The police had said they couldn't do anything without a court order from the mother). There are circumstances which make it rather unsafe for her kids to stay with their dad.
She was so excited to have us visit. She is a beautiful young woman. I prayed with Nichole and her grandmother before we left. I continue to pray for her, that she will indeed be able to get a job and get her life back together when she is released.
I told Nichole that I truly believe God brought her into my life for this period of time. She is very grateful, and says she values our friendship. I also am praying for her kids, that the Lord will keep them safe until she can be re-united with them.