Above is one of the drawings Mac gave our team as an appreciation gift during our wrap-up at a recent Workshop.
Mac had spent over 7 years in solitary (for a very serious crime in prison) when the man in the next cell passed a scrap of paper to him. He looked at it and saw a scripture verse. His anger and disdain for God caused him to send it back. He had no interest in such nonsense.
But his neighbor sent it back and told him, “Read it.” So Mac did. Then he wanted to challenge his neighbor with some questions – but they needed a better way to communicate.
So the neighbor told Mac to scoop the water out of his toilet, use a towel to dry out the pipes, and they could talk about what that scripture meant. Thus a daily Bible study began, toilet bowl to toilet bowl. And over the next year, Mac committed his life to Jesus.
I met Mac when he came to an interview to participate in a Workshop. He was a smaller man with gray hair, downcast eyes, and hesitation in his voice. He said he suffered from social anxiety and thought this program might help him. We don’t bring trained counselors, but professional artists in to provide an environment for guided self-discovery that is full of challenges for our participants. I wondered if our program would meet his needs or if Mac would have the ability to do what we asked. Especially when he told me that just 8 months ago he had been moved into the general population after 10 years of solitary confinement.
But a few days in, Mac’s growth was already apparent. He was looking directly at people as he increasingly interacted with his peers and our staff. He joined in all the team activities and pushed himself to be a full participant on the Spoken Word team. In a break, I asked him about his story. It began with one of the most horrible childhoods I ever heard described. A life of crime followed, which he summarized as full of evil and awful intentions. However, he told me how he had met Jesus a few years ago and found peace, hope, and even joy, despite his situation.
A month after the Workshop we visited the team and Mac walked in with confidence in his eyes and step and a big smile. He described himself as more outgoing, patient, and tolerant of others than before the Workshop. And he said he was sharing with others more often, especially to encourage those who were facing difficulties.
A new vision of life provides new direction to individuals and affects entire communities in very positive ways. Thank you for your support as we continue this work!
P.S. Many thanks to all who have contributed to our annual “Support the Workshop” campaign! We have exceeded part of our goal with over $12,000 donated, but still need 5 more monthly donors to complete the campaign. Visit Support the Workshop to partner with us!