I became a teacher’s aid for a well known and recommended class called Life Mapping. We have over 40 students signed up and it became the largest Xtreme SOULutions class. There is no better teacher for it than Bruce Seaman: he handles this large class with grace and comes out of the blistering cold for us. I like his class for several reasons, one of those being that he gives us inspiring quotes and plays us short motivational speeches called “Ted Talks.” Mr. Seaman gives us respect and encouragement to help us choose a path in life. I would like to thank him for taking time out of his day to give us love and support.
by Christopher B.
An anonymous voice speaking firmly over the intercom advises, “Stand by for chow.” Another day of incarceration begins in the FDOC. Slowly, I awaken. It’s February, 6 AM or before, dark, quiet and cool. “Good morning, Lord. Thank you for waking me today, let Your will be done and not mine.” This is my first prayer every day. I am a member of Xtreme SOULutions, I reside in F dorm among men of God, and I am blessed beyond measure.
I’ve been to prison five different times for various felonies. From the age of twelve the enemy began a campaign of deception to recruit me into acting as an agent of evil. I was caught in a complex web of lies and false beliefs for years. I believed I was hopeless and not loveable. That I was destined to die alone and drunk in some homeless camp or somewhere in a prison infirmary. Satan had me completely convinced that I was and forever would be my criminal record, a five time loser with “D” letter and a propensity to recidivate.
Arriving at Marion from Columbia Annex in May, 2018, was an affirmative answer to a specific prayer. I asked God to send me to Marion because I wanted to work for PRIDE. I was hired in June to work in a warehouse processing orders for FDOC officer uniform shirts. My plan was to save most of my earnings for when I was released in 2020 and to utilize PRIDE’s transitional resources for employment and housing. While living in G Dorm I learned of Xtreme SOULutions. During orientation I met Blaine Whitt and he told us two things, 1) God’s not mad at you, and 2) You are NOT that picture on your prison ID. There began a journey to heal the damage the devil had done.
I learned of the enemy’s deadly use of pornography and how to rely on God to recover from it in Conqueror’s Series. I learned the true power of words in Conscious Language. God literally spoke creation into existence. I became spiritually aware of my speech and the effects of it on others and myself. Life Mapping motivated me to continue learning. To search for the place where God wants me to be so I’ll be able to serve Him and at the same time fulfill a need of the world.
I began to seriously think about and plan for the future. I developed discipline and sacrificed my wants (Honey Buns) so I could save my earnings to help meet my needs when I’m released. I began career based education and training. I became a Certified Logistics Technician and began training to become a Certified Production Technician. I completed the Xtreme SOULutions CDL class and earned my CDL permit with endorsements. The Human Resources Manager from Southeastern Freight gave a presentation to our class and he expressed willingness to hire an Xtreme SOULutions CDL graduate. God is doing great things in my life, blessing me everyday and allowing all my plans to succeed.
I ended that nice cool February day at the beginning of this story in a very different place from where it began. After work I was moved from F Dorm to A Dorm, put in the first top bunk right in front, given no locker or drawer for my property, placed in the one year tier program, where God is not included in the curriculum, removed from PRIDE, and told that Xtreme SOULutions was secondary to the tier program. It seemed all my plans evaporated into nothing. I felt embedded in confusion and uncertainty and took back my will from God.
I met with the tier program director and presented my plans and activities and humbly asked for a compromise: 1/2 day tier, 1/2 day PRIDE, all Xtreme SOULutions classes scheduled around tier classes. He considered while looking at my past on his FDOC computer. “No,” he said. Then he proceeded to insult me by calling me a “good inmate” that people wanted in programs because of my good behavior. I became angry. He seemed to have expected my response as if he were intentionally provoking me! He then insulted me by calling me “Mr. D Letter” to which I responded not well at all.
I spent a few uncomfortable weeks living in my own will because I didn’t think God’s will was so nice any more. Mercifully, God revealed to me my sin – the pride of life – and I took action. I admitted my sin(s) and asked for forgiveness. So, God forgave me. I am not responsible for God’s plan, I am responsible to seek His will in all my ways. That loud, negative voice in my head is not from God. It belongs to an angry and defeated foe with no power – only lies, none worthy of fear, only faith.
PRIDE will assist me after my release and allow me to finish my career training. Xtreme SOULutions does not interfere with tier, I am still a member. I reside in A Dorm among men of God, and I am still blessed beyond measure.
God is not mad at me.
I am NOT that picture on my prison ID, Mr. D Letter.