From Behind the Walls
This has been a real eye opener these past four months. I have felt the Holy Spirit working on me every single week .These in-depth classes have greatly expanded my understanding and knowledge of Jesus Christ. As time in class goes by, I feel more and more confident with this new and additional information. I truly believe that the combination of my past experience, other college classes that I took in the past, which included the RSAT gradation and the new training I now am receiving, will make a difference in this prison!
I feel that the Holly Spirit is leading me to be a much more effective worker in the changing of the lives of people around this facility. As I have progressed through this semester and while studying in the pod where I live, I have had several fellow inmates ask for information about Jesus. With these questions comes an opportunity to get to know them better and help them with the problems they might have. As the time goes by I see more and more people, watching, listening and truly curious about what we do!
My goals have changed greatly, I now know that my real mission in my life is to go forward and spread the good word of Jesus Christ. I look forward to the other classes that will be coming in the near future and pray daily for my success and that of my follow class members. I know with this training we can make a difference in many people’s lives with the word of God.
The door has been opened, now is the time to whole heartily follow through and let the true Holy Spirit take charge and guide me in all my daily decisions. I truly believe in my heart that I was called to teach, and teach is what I now will pursue. I will seek to keep my grades up and learn as much as I can, so I am better able to pass on the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This semester has been a new commitment to follow Jesus all the way, the rest of my life seems to have lost its value to me. All my value’s I now hold totally live in only one thing, that is following His wishes and commands where ever He takes me? I pray several times a day for this class and everyone who is connected to this Bible College. I know my prayers are being answered and I know that God is working in my life and that of others around me!
Now I know that it is my duty to build God’s house. This will take time and study and I will take that time and do the best I can to change my life and the lives of others around me to also follow Jesus. I now truly and fully understand that humility and service are the most important ways I have to behave. These are my duty’s that I now will follow to help me build the house of God. “No man can serve two masters: for he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon”(Matthew6:24).
– Gerald – Mount Olive Prison
After being sentenced in 2005, I spent nearly 3 years in the regional jail system before coming to Mount Olive. There is no question that this was the hardest time I have done so far. I that three years church services consisted of a short walk down the hall to forty-five minutes of singing bound with a short concise message. After three long years I was finally transferred to Mount Olive Correctional Complex. Not long after my first few days on the yard I could tell that this was certainly a different environment. There were guys on the yard with acoustic guitars playing gospel music, a very welcome change indeed. I attended a few of the services initially in the first two weeks and everyone was talking about Kairos. I signed up for Kairos which turned out to be a wonderful three days of singing and fellowship. Now, along with a better chapel and better environment to worship in, also comes the environment outside the chapel. In an environment like prison there can be much oppression. There are those here who feel we are not worthy of anything, especially a free education, as well as all the amenities of a normal life. Who would have ever though God would have seen fit to start a bible college in the middle of a maximum security prison? There are elements in this environment that will destroy hope in any chance of life again. As I have completed my first year of MOBC, I can see the potential that this movement will reshape the environment we as inmates live in. It is an exciting endeavor and to know that this same effort is being encouraged and backed by the governor on down through the ranks. There is also a great amount of support for successful programs in other states. Mount Olive Bible College has sparked a new hope and ambition in my life and has shown me that we can reshape our world, we can change lives. Every man regardless of their past can share in this same hope. I thank God for the opportunity that I have been provided.
– Frank – Mount Olive Prison
Before I entered this program, I had come to the conclusion that I was to live for my kids and not myself. On a Wednesday morning I spent quality time with Jesus Christ studying His word, praying and simply conversing with Him. That’s where the revelation of living for my children came from. The only problem was I didn’t know how to live for them. A week later I noticed the Malachi Dad ad on our bulletin board and I immediately jumped at the chance to sign up. I instantly recognized God’s Hand at work. Upon signing up I was overwhelmed by anxiety, scared and unsure that I was going to be selected out of the many (I thought) that signed up because of my estranged relationship I have with my daughter. So, I explained on a separate sheet of paper the difficulties of my relationship with my daughter and her mother.
I then received a message from our chaplain that I was chosen to be part of the “program.” 50lbs. were lifted off of my shoulders. I have two children, a 14-year-old daughter and a son who passed on when he was 2 months old from SIDS, while I was incarcerated. The mother of my two has three daughters who aren’t biologically mine but has a huge impact on my life and I love them as if they were my own.
Due to my selfish acts and desires to live the “Fast Life,” those desires were short lived by criminal charges of Malicious Wounding and First Degree Robbery which landed me a 60 year sentence. At that point, I knew it was time to change my life for the better. I’m 33 years of age, have been incarcerated for fourteen years and for the first time in my life I know what my purpose and my responsibilities are because of Jesus Christ and the tools He has used to open my eyes; Malachi Dads being the catalyst. My children are not living in my home due to an ignorant way of living. I left my kids’ mother to raise 5 children by herself and now I’m suffering the consequences of my choices by not having any contact with my daughter. Now my 14-year-old daughter and her 16-year-old sister are being raised under Islamic beliefs, while the oldest and the 2nd youngest sister are being raised under a Christian household with their grandmother. By my actions our house is divided.
My daughter’s grandmother and I have been in contact with each other for 6 years now and since I have been a Malachi Dad our relationship has been better than ever. At the end of our conversations on the phone I would tell her that I loved her and the girls, but she would just say, “OK.” Since becoming a Malachi Dad she now says I love you back, thanks to Jesus Christ, because He has given us the ministry of reconciliation. For the first time in 10 years my daughter’s oldest sister sent me a card and a letter telling me that she forgives me. That means a lot to me, oh how God answers prayers! I believe that the oldest sister is the avenue that God will use for my daughter and I to be reconciled.
I stand firm on God’s promises. The Malachi Dads started off as a program but has transformed into a Ministry which I’m a part of for life. I believe that my daughter and her sisters, even their mother will be delivered from their oppression, because they were saved before. Acts 16:31 says, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” I thank Jesus because no matter what I’m going through, He is Faithful and Just to see me through it. He delivers the seed of the righteous (Proverbs 11:21), so I rejoice in hope, I’m patient in tribulation and I’m constant in prayer (Romans 12:12) because I am a new creature old things are passed away and all things are become new, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5: 17-18). As a Malachi Dad I will pursue this endeavor for a lifetime and this God-given vision will impact multiple generations to come and lands will be healed (II Chronicles 7:14). I believe and I believe in Him.
– Justin – Malachi Dads
When the first semester started, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it, but after we got into the studies and Dr. Ferry started his lectures I really started enjoying the classes. We started this journey together and I believe after these four years are finished, Dr. Ferry will see the positive results brought about by his oversight of this college. I believe Dr. Ferry will be proud of the end results of the 26 students starting out and the number that actually graduate because of his commitment to the class.
The first semester for the Mount Olive Bible College, has really meant a lot to me. I realize how much Dr. Ferry has given up to come and teach us about the Word of God and the many different ways to study the Bible. Before the first semester, I studied the Bible but, not to the extent that I now have the knowledge to do. Although we have many resources to use to learn about the Bible, if we don’t know how to use them, they are useless. Through the many lectures and illustrations, I picked up on several different things about the Bible that I had never thought about before. I realize how easy it is to take Scripture out of context to suit our needs. Through the classes, I have learned that we should seek to know the intent of the author, rather than changing the meaning of the Bible. This is a good lesson that will remain with me the rest of my life. I also enjoyed the special speaker, Harley. He had a good testimony. Our English teacher, Miss Hicks, was a real good Christian lady who has a lot of Christian love for her brothers and sisters in Christ. As the second semester started, I was taught that I had to apply the scriptures to myself first and then I can share them better with other people. It has really helped me understand that God has a purpose for our lives, whether we see it or not. As I listened to the lectures of Dr. Ferry and Chad Cowan, I came to the understanding that God’s love should be shared with others. It is easy to say we love someone or that we forgive them, but we need to show our love and forgiveness to others.
I have seen my mother come to the Lord through some of the things that I have learned and shared with her. In the first semester when I told my mother that I had joined a Bible college she seemed to be very happy for me. Although she never knew the Lord as her own personal savior, she was still happy to see me join and learn more about the Bible. After I had been in college for about two months and continued to write to her and let her know what I was learning, she turned her heart over to Christ and accepted Him as her personal savior. When I got the letter from her stating that she had accepted the Lord, I couldn’t wait to tell Dr. Ferry and the rest of the class that at 80 years of age my mother was now on her way to heaven. There’s no way that I can ever thank Christ enough for this one thing that He has done for me. I also owe a great deal of thanks to Dr. Ferry for teaching me the right words to say to help her understand her need for a personal savior. But, with good news there usually is always some bad news to follow. Near the end of the second semester two of my uncles and one of my aunts was diagnosed with cancer. Then when I got over the shock of hearing about them, I got the news that my granddaughter was losing some muscles that was causing her a lot of problems due to very rare disease, Elders Dan Los Syndrome. Then my bad news was topped off with me learning my first cousin which I helped raise was being put on life support.
On April 8, 2015, at the age of 61, my uncle went home to be with the Lord and on April 16, 2015, at the age of 53, my first cousin passed away. My uncle was ready to go home but to my knowledge my cousin never accepted the Lord. I do know from reading and studying the Bible that he is now in the hands of a just God. I know that the semester is coming to a close but I still would like to give Dr. Ferry a very special thank you for his support in the passing of my family members. I would also ask that everyone remember my family in prayer for their losses, and continue to remember my granddaughter in her illness. As we learned in class, we are to bear one another burdens and always pray for one another.
– Kenneth – Mount Olive Prison
My first year at MOBC has been a blessing, and honor to be a part of. I have learned how to correctly interpret the Word of God by studying the original circumstances, customs, and way of life of the people. I have become much more at ease speaking in front of people through personal devotions.
The Bible is our strength for any situation, our hope, our instruction to navigate through this life and do the will of God. I am in the process of learning how to evangelize correctly. I have learned that sovereignty and evangelism are friends, not a contradiction. We learn that there are three realities, Gods sovereignty, man’s responsibility, and the Christians evangelistic duty. We must understand all three in order to do the Lords will.
I have learned that in order for me to be an effective witness to others I must develop personal godly disciplines. Temptation is an issue that we all deal with; this course has taught me how to overcome these temptations in the proper way.
Not only have I learned how to become a more effective example and witness, I have applied these principles of discipline in my personal life and have lost 40 pounds. I have become stronger spiritually which shows physically.
I would like to thank everyone involved in making MOBC possible. It has been a blessing to have Dr. Ferry as our instructor. I am looking forward to my remaining education here at MOBC.
Robert – Mount Olive Prison
Life is a wonderful gift of God to us all! There is a divine purpose for every individual that God permits to live. It took me many years to figure that one out. God, in His infinite wisdom, has permitted us to live, and there is a purpose for every individual life.
I have over-dosed, wrecked cars and motorcycles, been shot at numerous times and I stuck a knife in my heart when I was arrested. The attempted suicide was a first, and when I awoke from the coma my doctor was in the room. I thanked him for saving my life. I didn’t really want to die; I just didn’t want to live in that drug addicted state I was in. He said something to me that never left my mind. “Son, do not thank me, thank the Lord above; I did not save your life. When you came in here there was absolutely no reason on this earth you should still be alive. Not only was there a hole in your chest, but you had completely bleed out. I did nothing but sew you up and give you blood. God must have an exemplified life planned for you in the future. He needs you for something very important in this world now.” Trust and believe I never forgot one of those words.
As we journey and travel on life’s highway, we come to crossroads and do not know which direction to go. I prayed daily for a decision and God led me to sign up for Malachi Dads. There was a gnawing in the back of my mind to go inquire about the rumor of a Bible College coming to Mount Olive Maximum Security Prison.
So many times the crossroads are not marked very well and we have to look around to get our bearings. While I was looking around Mr. Totten was preaching the Word of God in my ear. It didn’t take long for that seed to start to grow. I think Mr. Sutphin poured a little miracle grow on me and the next thing I know I was asking God to forgive my sins. This was a lot of careful consideration to make sure that I made the proper turn in the direction that leads to eternal salvation, and my final destination.
However, most men in this prison make the wrong turn at that crossroads. Instead of heading toward the right direction, they are getting the school of hard knocks beat into their head every day; and end up leaving prison worse than when they came in. This is where we come in and intervene. Who can better talk to a convict than another convict? We need to evangelize to these men and get them to stop, turn their lives around, and head back to that crossroads to make the proper turn. The proper turn is toward the Lord!!
I have been in the Bible College for one year now. In a dark and gray world, I get up every morning in hopes of spreading God’s Word to someone else in need. I’ve learned so very much within two semesters and I’m excited for each class coming in the next three years. Each year more men are going to be coming to the Bible College and this is where we need your help. Mr. Sutphin cannot do it all alone. Help change the lives of men that may be coming to your community soon. Godly men or a hard headed convict living in your neighborhood is up to you. We have the means to transform lives here today. Pray about it! Make the right decision to help. Thank you for your time and consideration in God’s work.
Royce – Mount Olive Prison