Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Written by Jim Staley
Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Today was one of the most beautiful days I’ve had since I’ve been here. If you’ve read my post Cashing in on God’s Grace then you know my friend Cash and how God changed a former gang leader from the Crips into a true man of God. From fighting the Bloods to pleading THE Blood, this man is not the same person as the one I met a year ago. My dear friend is leaving on Monday to go to the drug program at a different prison. He’s been down for twelve years and had six more to go when he was given the great news that he was granted clemency by the President, cutting his remaining years from six to two. So today I planned a going away party for my brother to take the place of our Bible study. I made three pizzas and a cheesecake for the occasion.

When I got to the chapel, Blake was already playing the piano and people were sitting around the tables worshipping and singing. After we finished eating, we presented Cash with a card. He teared up as he started to read. Then he gave his testimony. He told us how he hadn’t cried in decades and how even when he was a kid and got whooped, he would make sure he never cried. He talked about how he got into the drug world and became a leader of the Crips in his area and about all the terrible things he did that he now regrets. He said he thought he knew God and had a good relationship with Him until he met Blake and Blake started teaching him about the Torah and what God really required of him. As I taught Blake, he would teach Cash. And I saw a man who a year ago was watching Jerry Springer daily, cussing, and gambling, become a guy that has radically changed and become truly “kadosh,” set apart for Yahweh.

As Cash gave his testimony he confessed that even during this past year he would not let the Spirit touch him. One time we were in worship and the Spirit came down so strongly we could feel it. Cash bolted from the chapel because he had never felt anything like that before. But today he didn’t run. Every day we go into the chapel and pray, praise, worship, and just let the Spirit lead the five of us that come. The Spirit has been getting thicker and thicker each day. Today, as I was cooking, Cash told this story of how Blake was at the piano one day when they saw a cloud come down over it. Blake started crying and stopped playing because he couldn’t sit anymore. He moved to the carpet and just laid there, hands and feet spread, crying out to God. Cash started getting that hot, thick feeling like he’d had last time except this time he didn’t run. He got down on the ground spread eagle and said, “Fodder Ga, I wan wadever he got.” As soon as he said it, the Spirit touched him and he started crying like a baby for the first time in decades. All the pain, all the hurt, and all the anger came pouring out as the Spirit came pouring in. He was finally free. It took a while, but he was finally free.

God has specific timing for everyone and this was Cash’s day. The mood was serious and beautiful all at the same time. He was wiping his eyes the whole time he was telling us his story. But after dinner the happy-go-lucky Cash came right back when I asked if he wanted me to go get the cheesecake. He cocked his head and looked at me like I’d just asked the dumbest question in the world. “Preacha, you crazy?” He pulled a spoon out of his top pocket and asked, “Whatcha think I brawt dis here spoon fo?” His nickname isn’t “Jaws” for nothing...that guy is always thinking about food!

So pray for the “Old Lonely Disciple,” as he calls himself, as he transfers to a different prison. Pray he finds fellowship and remains strong in the Lord. He loves Yahweh and in his words, he is proud to be a “Messinanic”!

 

Shalom, 
Jim Staley