This letter was written several years ago by my friend. He is now ministering in Columbus, Ohio. He asked me to share this with you.
I am writing this letter because of the people I met in Washington Park. They were church people from a church called the Vineyard. They would go to the park every Saturday with their friends to give out food for the poor and homeless. At the time, I was both. At the time, I didn’t talk to church people that much. But when I looked into their hearts, I could tell there was something about them that was different from a lot of others. They were for real about their work for our Lord. Seeing this made me want to write something about them.
So I began to write a poem about what I saw them doing. I call it “In Washington Park." Then I took it to show them and they loved it. I was hoping they would, because it came from my heart.
As time moved on my life was going up and down. I came to love the people from the Vineyard because I knew that they loved me. There was a time when I didn’t know what to think about white people. Being black, I was told a lot of things. I was told that they were no good and that they didn’t care for black people. Well, I found out that was a lie.
All I got from them was love and God’s Word. When I look back at them, I don’t see white people – I see God’s people doing His work and doing it very well. That’s why Saturday became my favorite, for that was the day that I would see them, and that made my day a little bit better.
It’s hell being poor and homeless. On top of that I was a drug addict, and that’s how I got into trouble. The police found drugs on me and arrested me. They were going to send me away for this because I’d been in trouble before. I didn’t know what to do, but I remembered all the things my friends from the Vineyard told me about Jesus. So I called on Him that night from my cell. Then I tried not to worry about it. I started telling the people in jail all the things that my friends told me about Jesus. And day by day they started giving away their life to Christ. It just got better and better until I almost forgot that I was in jail.
When it came time for court, I didn’t forget what they told me, so in court I prayed. Then my lawyer told me, “You are facing 24 months, but the judge is only going to give you nine months.” I had to sign a paper saying that I would agree to nine months. I signed the paper and my lawyer gave it to the judge. The judge asked if I understood the paper I had signed. Then she said, "I have heard from your friends that you a writer of poetry.” I said, “Yes some friends are doing a book with some of my poems in it.” She said to me “Do one of your poems for me.” “Now?” I asked. She said, “Yes, right now.”
So I did a poem for the judge. Then she said, “If you can get me a copy of your book, I will reconsider the nine months.” So my friends from the Vineyard delivered a copy to her. Once again I was standing before the judge. She said, “I have a copy of your book.” Then she said to the officer standing by me, “Take the handcuffs off so he can sign this book.” After I signed it, she said, “You don’t belong in here. There are people out there that love you. God loves you. How else would you be able to write these wonderful things about God? I want you to go back out there and do the work that God has set in place for you. You are free to go.”
Once I was out, my friends came to see me in the park. I told them I’m going to keep learning about God, and I’m going to serve Him with my poetry and by telling others about Jesus. I was facing 24 months. I had signed for 9 months. Out of it all I was set free. God never left me. My friends never left me. God is, and always has been, good. Michael A Willis “The Poet”