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Sacred Stories | Letter from Hannah

For Prism Restorative Justice "Testimony"

Wow. What a journey it has been...getting to know God. I love the prayer card of the angel watching over the brother and sister as they cross over a bridge. That angel has followed me my whole life. My mother placed it over me years gone by and my whole life I have carried it close to me. When my daughter was born, I placed it close to her. She follows me wherever I go. She found her way to me a few years ago at the beginning of my incarceration. She has stayed with me as I've traveled from module to module having my LA County Jail and California Justice System experience (The ultimate spiritual experience thus far, in my life).

Usually taped above my bed, to guard me through the night, or traveling with me tucked away in my small Bible during my 4 month murder trial, day after day, she is now traveling and en route to my daughter. I mailed her to Ella last week, tucked into a love letter to my greatest blessing from God. I instructed my daughter to hang the angel over her bed or to carry her with her in her wallet. "P.S. lovebug", I said "this is very important to do... Love, Mom."My sweet Ella is a dutiful daughter so I have no doubt in my mind she will obey me, her very blessed, mother. With great blessings, comes great responsibility. This I am certain of today. Just as God has blessed me, it is my duty to bless others. My daughter and I are blessed to be surrounded by angels.

Without a doubt, every moment of every day. Those same angels have surrounded me as I do God's work in the LA County Jail.After I received a hung jury, after 8 days of rigorous deliberations, and months and months of testimony, I knew whole heartedly that God's purpose for this, was so that his glory could shine through me. I was called by God, not only as a test of my faith, but as a very direct "clarion call". I have been called by God to battle, get and R.I.S.E. (Resilient Innovation Significant Equitable)

Isaiah 58:1-4 says "listen be gentle...shout with the trumpet voice...don't be timid..." So that is exactly what I did. I volunteered to take over the Bible Study group for Module 3600 at Century Regional Detention Facility.I have never taught a Bible Study class to a group before, but I reached out to some of my spiritual advisors and listened intently for God's instruction. He told me to ask for help and then teach as I would teach a I was teaching my daughter. My daughter and I had begun her comprehensive introduction to the Bible by reading a Proverb a day for 31 days. The experience was so rich and wonderful that it deserves its own testimony.

Called to do my highest honor, teaching my daughter about the power of The Gospel, introducing her to Jesus and practicing the power of prayer on our daily phone calls. God has shepherded me and what an unimaginable gift to shepherd my daughter. It's a duty I take very seriously. God has blessed me even further, however by calling me to shepherd the women of 3600 as well.Our numbers of Monday Night Bible Study have been increasing and even doubling every week. I started with 10 attendees for the first few weeks, which then suddenly jumped to 30 attendees, followed just last week by a total of 60 attendees, almost the entire module. As I entered the outdoor rec and surveyed the expectant crowd, I felt overwhelmed by humility and grace. My eyes widened a bit, I took in a breath, I did a silent bow to God with a brief closing of my eyes, and I began the study with my girls.

Sharon, has blessed us with many materials donated by Prism Restorative Justice. One of those blessings is a book on women of the Bible. I have been using "Bible Women" as well as some other amazing reference materials that has made it's way into my hands, to lead the women in a weekly exploration of significant women in the Bible. So far we have studied Rahab, Ruth, Esther, The Samaritan woman, Deborah and now a few weeks study on Mary Magdalene.Each week, I am intuitively and spiritually called to a particular woman. It may be through someone's desire to hear more about a particular female character, something someone happens to mention in passing to me, a study I hear on the radio, that a pastor is also simultaneously speaking about on air, or even for more personal reasons, such as one of the women carries mother's name.

This last week, all I felt was just a tug in my spirit towards Mary Magdalene and my finger landing on her name when I opened the book.Something else happened to me, too, when I read their stories out loud to the avid listeners in my group. I get chills as I read, and sometimes, I almost feel as if I may burst into tears. I have carefully held the tears back and steadied my voice so as not to startle my girls. The power of God that is flowing through me is so palatable that my first instinct is to proceed very gently with my girls (so as not to overwhelm them). Just as I have been with my daughter. Like my daughter, some of them are hearing about the wonders of God for the first time. And by that, I mean, that they have truly opened their eyes and ears, in my presence and God's, to receive the message.What a great honor the Lord has bestowed upon me. I am not worthy, but he has blessed me because in His eyes, I am.

Stay we stay tuned in to the word of God. How sweet it is to be loved by Him.

AMEN. Bless You ALL.

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