Day 13: Letter to Daughter (in prison)

Today I’m going to show you most of a letter I just sent to a young woman, 25, in prison for two years. She had a hard life before we met her; when she was in sixth grade her mother died. With her father already in prison, she was on her own. But like everyone else, she learned to survive. Intelligent and confident, she was a leader in some pretty bad stuff; in fact when we first met her we considered her too big of a risk for The Well. But as we stayed in touch and saw a desire for change, we agreed to give her a chance. Indeed there were rocky spots, but she began to warm and change; and we saw even more of her potential. As so often happens, old thinking patterns snuck in, and she got arrested not long after leaving The Well. I consider it God’s mercy.

I am drawn to tough cases. I view wild and hard young people as wonderful challenges, because inevitably if and when you can build trust, you find a vulnerable heart that was forced into self-protection. Provide safety and affirmation, and the diamond begins to shine. This woman did not easily trust Jesus. She’s smart; a deep thinker. But I’ve found consistently that when we see clues of God’s touch on a heart, in the long run we see His work growing in completion. 

This letter reflects that perspective. Early on, when I see someone open to God’s love, I start inviting her to be my future co-worker. “You’re going to be able to help people so much more than I can,” I let them know. I’m in no hurry at all for it to happen; I just know God can outlast the hardest heart.

I’ve translated from Thai back to English, and have let it be a bit awkward. In informal Thai conversation, familial terms are generally used in place of personal pronouns. So I say, for example, “Paw rak luuk”, i.e. “Dad loves (his) child”. I’ve decided to translate literally because it does provide a warm nuance that might be unfamiliar to Westerners. (Similar to John calling his readers, “dear little children”.)

Dear Daughter,

The truth is that Dad misses Daughter very much. Dad thinks of you often with love and warmth of heart. Because Dad thinks about the beauty of Daughter; how Daughter wants to love and care for people the same as Dad likes to do. Dad still considers us as a work team. Dad has a plan that we will always be close. Dad hopes Daughter is okay with his plans … 🙂 Daughter is taking care of herself for Dad, right? 😀

Dad hopes that Daughter is seeing time there as an opportunity, not a waste of time. Because in God, there is no such thing as wasting time. God did not create us to accomplish anything, because God can do everything. He doesn’t need people to help, hahaha. God created us only for this: that we will see with amazement. And we can see like this in every place and every situation, and then we do what God has already accomplished. Doing like this is so fun.

“For we are the workmanship of God, made in Christ Jesus to do the good things God already has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Daughter has joined the Christian group, right? Dad is sure Daughter has grown a lot these two years in understanding life. And more than that, in understanding the unconditional love of God. Dad believes that Daughter is a leader for sure, leading people in good ways. Dad is excited for when you will get out, and we will see each other often. And we will be a team helping each other in living life, and also loving others in need.

With so much love,
Dad Jim