Inmates in California prisons are interviewed to see if they will be a good candidate for our TUMI program. This is the brief story from Jose, a twenty-something young man during his interview process.
Two years ago, having just been transferred to Jamestown Prison, Jose was heading towards earning his way into a level IV, maximum security prison. He was a violent, active gang member, and had been sent to the “hole” three times in the same month for fighting. That morning he had assaulted his cellie and severely injured him. He was waiting in a cage (small confinement cell used to hold prisoners after incidents like this), when he saw his cellie wheeled out on a gurney to medical and he heard a voice speak clearly inside his head,
“Jose, if you continue to live this way, you will die this way.”
Jose said it was not the words that made the impact on him, but how it was spoken. It wasn’t an accusation, or a stern warning, but was said with deep compassion and sorrow for him! He began weeping uncontrollably in the cage. A couple of his homies came by at that moment and were shocked to see this man weeping. They called to him, “What’s wrong with you man, pull it together”.
All Jose could say was, “I’m done. I’m not going to do this any longer!”
In the midst of his weeping, Jose spoke back to the voice, “God if you are real, you need to bring someone to me who can help me. I don’t know how to do this!”
Later, Jose was NOT taken to solitary, as he expected, but was returned to his cell. As he was cleaning up his cell from the assault, and wondering why he wasn’t sent to the hole, his cell door popped and another prisoner was escorted in. After the usual introductions and trading paperwork, the man began to unpack his bag. The second item he brought from the bag was a Bible!
“Are you a Christian?” Jose asked the man.
“Yeah, what of it?” was the weary reply.
“Because God sent you to me!” was Jose’s amazed response. Jose said his new cellie became his mentor, guide, and discipler for the next year. Since that time, Jose has been taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow in Christ. TUMI, for Jose, is another step along the way in this incredible and unexpected adventure as a follower of Jesus Christ. Jose represents JUST the kind of person we seek and God continues to lead them to us.