Oct 19, 2021 | Nancy Cotterill, St. Luke's Member | Unite Indy
What’s the best thing you’ve ever done? I can easily say it was writing Jesse who was an inmate at Putnamville Correctional Facility. He wasn’t much more than a sad statistic when we started writing each other. Raised in a fatherless home by a drug-addicted mother, he was put into foster care by age 5, and was moved around until he was tossed out of the system at age 18.
Without a place to stay, and with no money, he crashed in vacant buildings and got in with a tough crowd. Finally he earned himself a home with the Indiana Department of Correction. Jesse grew from a boy to a man during the 20 years he spent in prison. During those difficult years he met God. But no one visited, and no one wrote. So in 2017, when UNITE INDY’s publication, Building Race Relationships found its way into Putnamville prison, Jesse wrote me a letter and with my response, our inmate correspondence ministry was born.
The thing I’ve learned is that the human soul, closed in a small barred room, is a far easier target for God to penetrate. God is perfectly at home there. Then in early Summer, 2020, I received a letter from a man named Jimmy who was hoping we could connect him with someone willing to write to him. St. Luke’s own Sara Cobb, who is also Unite Indy’s Inmate Correspondence Team Leader, jumped at the chance.
Sara says, “Corresponding with Jimmy has been a gift to me. We read the same devotional for inmates, share our hopes and fears, and offer each other strength and encouragement. His faith has grown considerably, which is so important as he prepares himself for life as a former inmate.”
Then last week I received another letter from Jimmy. He said he wanted to thank me for connecting him to Sara, that she has been a “true blessing,” and that she has made a "big difference in the way he sees things." His closing line was this: "Writing you was the best thing that I could’ve done. Thank You.”
Jesse is out of prison. He is happily married and is getting a job as a counselor—his dream come true. Sara’s correspondent, Jimmy, will be released in about seven months, and when he is released, Unite Indy will be there to help him with job training, employment, and the big adjustment of simply coming home. He will always have a friend in Sara, who has provided the solid first step to successful reentry by speaking the Word of God into his life.
Maybe the best thing you could ever do is to write a letter too. Just Click Here to volunteer. Click Here to see Jimmy’s full-sized letter. Or email Sara at sc@UniteIndy.org, if you just want to explore the possibility.
Can’t wait to hear from you,