Just received some letters from Billy at Chillocothe Prison, and wanted to share some things he wrote. (Billy is the one that lived on the river, and was in the video about Tent City. He has allowed Jesus to transform his life, but he has to do 18 months for parole violation.)
Billy had asked for the food box for Christmas because food is used as currency in prison. He has needed a new pair of shoes since he went in, and he wanted to have a radio. He also wanted some art supplies because he can sell his drawings in there for things he needs. He was going to use the food to buy all those things.
In his last letter, he told me the food box was late, but that it finally arrived. He began trading for items, but said he was getting things like deodorant and toothpaste for the inmates that didn’t get anything from the outside. He put a little note on each item that he gave away, that said “Jesus loves you.” He had used up almost all his food for things for others. A guy that he had sold the peanut butter to came back to see him. He gave him a peanut butter sandwich, and said, since Billy had used up everything on everyone else, he ought to at least get a sandwich out of it. (Billy said his shoes and radio were not a necessity and they can wait.)
Every time I write him, I send a few bible verses to encourage him. He said he uses my letters and those verses for a bible study group he has. They meet every day, twice a day, in his cell. I had no idea he was using my letters for bible study, but now I know!
Since there has been such a dramatic change in Billy, his counsellor called him in. He said he noticed that Billy wasn’t anything like the angry, violent person that his file says. Billy told him how Jesus had changed him, and he wasn’t like that any more. His counsellor didn’t believe him, and said he thought Billy was holding it all in and would just explode one day. Billy told him again what Jesus had done, and that he had only peace in his heart. He went on to testify and share his joy with the counsellor.
In one of letters, Billy said "the day started very good, but turned very bad". One of the guys in his Bible study was a small guy and he was being bullied by one of the other inmates. He came to Billy for help, and Billy wasn’t sure what to do. Billy had lots of experience with violence, but didn’t want to go that route. Billy knew that everyone there, the inmates, the guards, the counsellors, all of them were watching to see if he was for real about this Jesus thing. Billy wrote, “You said to think what Jesus would do. But I’m lost. I’m not good with words, and I’m trying not to be violent. I feel like I can stop his problem, but at what cost?” So he told his friend that all they could do for now is pray on it, and turn it over to God, and see if an answer came. He said he didn’t want to put his nose in it, but he remembered he’d read where Paul said “we are to right any wrong or injustice to the lord’s people.” He finished the letter asking for prayer in this impossible situation.
The next letter I received, Billy told how the “bully” had confronted him that next day, and asked if he had an issue with him. Billy spoke candidly about how the bully was treating his friend, and told him he appeared to be just a bully. They talked, and it ended up with the bully apologizing to his friend, and now his friend is helping the bully get his GED! Isn't God awesome!
I just wanted to update you on Billy. He has about a year left and he’ll be back out again. He would really love some encouraging letters. If you want to write him, his address is:
Billy Pierce #616435
CCI – PO Box 5500
Chillocothi , OH 45601
(Be sure his inmate number is on anything you send him.)
I’m going to write Billy back, and let him know that we are using his letters for bible study