COLUMNS

Letters from the Editor - January 2009


Jeffrey Hillard

 

In the nine months we have published RED! the breakthrough ‘zine, how has impacted readers? We know the webzine has certainly deeply affected one reader, and we are most grateful to her for letting us know.

I’m going to let you read a letter from former inmate James Dayton, whom our reader wrote after being moved by one of Mr. Dayton’s essays. He wrote me in return. I said, “I don’t actually know who ‘Mary’ is, but I’m glad she wrote you.” The woman left Mr. Dayton no return address, which mattered not. He was touched that his writing helped this mother connect with her incarcerated son in a most miraculous way.

We feature a series of new short essays by James Dayton in this winter 2009 issue of RED! You can also read his last essay to ever be published in the “Action Words” section – writing from inmates. He was released from Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio on January 10, 2009. He called me on January 12. That’s the most precious call I’ve received this year so far.

In celebration of Mr. Dayton’s release and his dedication to RED!, we feature “Three by Jimmy D.” as a Main Feature.

We’ve been fortunate to be the only publishers of Mr. Dayton’s pieces. For now, here’s Jimmy’s letter in which he reflects on RED!’s reach in just these last nine months:

“A Letter from Mary” 

by James Dayton

Yesterday, I received a letter from someone I don’t know. There was no return address on it – only the name ‘Mary’.  

She said that she read my testimony and other writings. She didn’t mention where she got them, only that the Lord ministered to her when she read them. I felt blessed.

Mary said her son is in prison and that she has cut all ties with him. She said that she felt her son was a lost cause and that all he brought her was pain and heartache. She just couldn’t take it any longer and didn’t want to deal with it.

I could feel Mary’s pain and the love she had for her son. She said that after she read my testimony, the Lord touched her heart and all she could think about was her boy. Wonderful memories flooded her mind. She prayed on it for days and then wrote him a letter and sent him my testimony.

She told him that if this man can change his life, so can you. Well, Mary got a letter back from her son telling her that he had turned his life over to Christ and was baptized two months earlier. She said that his letter was full of hope and she could feel her son was “back.” She said that her letters and phone calls with him have blessed her, and she’s going to visit him soon.

Mary thanked me for sharing my life with others and said my testimony helped her get her son back.

Mary, if you read this, I want you to know that it’s not my testimony that will edify others. It’s yours. When I read your letter, I cried and gave praise to the Lord. What a wonderful God we serve. In him all things are possible.

What a great work he did. He put your son in a place where he could reach out to him, and once he touched his heart he also touched yours. Thank you for your letter, Mary. It’s so special when we can see God working in our hearts and lives. He has truly worked in yours and your letter has worked in mine.

Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that in Christ it’s our duty to influence the world around us, to be obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. In our love for one another and in our testimonies, Christ shines through and others find peace.

I urge you all to send in your stories, testimonies, and writing wherever you are – in prison, in jail, it doesn’t matter.

You can do the Father’s work from anywhere. You can share God with the world from a prison cell. Just reach out and God will make a way.

God bless you, Mary. God bless you all.

Jeff Hillard

Jeff Hillard
Editor, RED!