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Thanksgiving — ’Under the stairs’

EDITOR:

Not at grandma’s with turkey and all the goodies. Not over the river and through the woods with a sleigh, horses or bells, but “under the stairs”.

About five weeks ago a group of about 10 men started meeting in close contact, with no COVID concerns, for about an hour each night after dinner — to share, listen and become closer in friendship, respect and spiritual insight. In time they began to see their current place in life in a better, brighter perspective. They weren’t so down, depressed or hopeless. They even began to be somewhat thankful despite their hard situation and circumstances.

These 10n men are locally incarcerated in the Delta County Jail in South Charlie Unit. And, on their own initiative, they began and continue a nightly Bible reading and prayer time — under a staircase in their cell block. n such an open, encouraging environment, in a rather odd place perhaps, good things are happening. People’s hopes rise when the word of God is present. God’s own word says that when the word is sent out it does not come back void. No Bible scholar or preacher exist in South Charlie, just 10 men with an interest, curiosity and hope to look up beyond what they can do for themselves.

No outside source leads this group. It is done by peers. I am in contact with most of them and they tell me great stories. One tells me that he is not happy about jail, but that his spiritual journey is growing dramatically and is vital to him now more than ever. One of the leaders was to be “out’ on bond by now, but had a hard time raising the small amount of money. I told him that perhaps God had bigger plans to keep him inside longer. One of the men asked me for a Study Bible. Ordered and in their library now and more coming. Yes, these men are prisoners, but they are also fathers, sons and brothers. And, this group is not normal; they wish to better themselves. They seek help and there is no better source of help than the Giver, Sustainer, Creator and Finalizer of Life. They thank me for help; I thank God.

Thanksgiving behind bars is no treat as we all know. But, for at least 10 men, it is not “hell in a hand basket” this year. Pray for them — they desire that. Perhaps you have a place in your home during COVID-19 days “under the stairs” at Thanksgiving also. Be grateful you are “out’ and not “in“. All inmates leave incarceration either “better or bitter”. You can see the direction of these men, yes?

Mike Olson

Escanaba

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