By AJ Rasmussen
That is a good question. I will leave it for you to decide. I’ve never been one to shove a belief down someone’s throat. I don’t think that is what Jesus meant by : ”Go make disciples of all the nations” in Matthew 28:19. Rather, I believe we are to let our actions and love for our neighbor do the talking.
I’ve written of some very up and down situations these Past 2 months. First, that roller coaster ride- the ups and downs not only I, but that we all face. Next was the Tug-O-War, sometimes when we feel defeated, if we just hang on that one mere second, the strength of God we can win. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” said Nehemiah on 8:10. And Paul to the Philippians said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” in 4:13. To the Corinthians he said “God is faithful, He will not allow more than you can handle-AND He will provide a way of escape”(Corinthians 10:13)
I have a feeling even the most mature in faith have their battle with doubt at times. Even those closest to Jesus, His disciples, doubted and He was physically in their company, making them physical witness to His miraculous ways, yet they doubted at times. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus himself, God in the flesh, doubted Himself. In Hebrews we are told that “We do not have a High Priest (Jesus) who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in ALL points tempted (tested) as we are, yet without sin.”
I have now been in segregation for 31 days and I got to say, I think I may now have an inkling , although very slight, of Paul’s time in prison, and the life of a monk possibly. Removed of absolutely all distractions aside from a bible, couple books, and a pen and paper-I feel I can somewhat relate, even though conditions are quite different in my scenario (better).
I would like to share a testimony which I hope will encourage you, building your faith, as it has me. November 15th2016 I had my annual review, and I was asking to go to the closest prison to my family and friends. Discouraged slightly, that didn’t happen, but so-be-it, must be God’s plan, and I had a lot going on here anyhow.
Knowing I’d asked a number of times, in advance-“please don’t put me in G or H unit!” These units are known for “prison politics”. Where do they move me? H-unit of course. Maybe I ought to have said “Don’t move me to I or J unit”, then I’d have went there I thought. Well, as expected, the move to H led me into the lion’s den. “Don’t sit here, don’t walk there. This is the blacks area, this “ours” (white and Mexican), that is the natives and “that” is for everyone else (one table).” “Are you a white boy?” I was asked. I am white, not quite a boy, more a man (I’d like to think anyhow), but luckily I knew what he meant, was I a skinhead, or Arian family, or a “wood”, “no” I said, “I am a Christian”, “Oh Okay, well I assume you have a solid beef-beings you’ve done so much time with no issues”.
“Oh you get out in three days?” I said, “That’s awesome, oh boy, I gotta use the phone”. Phew, escaped that one, I thought. Meanwhile- the unit supervisor was already in the process of moving me to J unit to cell up with a friend from church. So I knew my time would be short in H. (Why didn’t they put me in J to start with?)
Four days I’d be in H unit, and then of course, these “white boys” assumed I’d ‘told’ in order to move so fast, which wasn’t the case, but whatever, they’re pretty smart. Anyhow-once gone, one of them apparently looked into why I was here, and now they think I lied to them? Ignoring the questions isn’t a lie is it? Besides, these guys are smart, every other person in the prison knew why I was there, shouldn’t they?
Well, a couple weeks later, an acquaintance from church overheard the “white boys” talking about me and that they were going to send someone after me, a HIT, as it is known. So, I talk to a few people I know who can look into it, and it seems to be a dead issue, that is until 3 weeks later, while sitting in church (of all places), I had turned my head to the left slightly to answer a question to the friend to my left, when somehow I grew eyes in the back of my head and saw a person and fist coming towards my face. This is where the Lord truly stepped in, although I now see He was involved from the beginning of this story.
Somehow (I’d love to see the cameras) I threw my chair out behind me, managed to roll to my left to avoid direct contact and grab and push him (like a straight arm by a football player) what would end up 10-15 feet away from me. His fist barely grazed my cheek. That, as my grandma would say, was my guardian angel taking care of me.
Of course, we both go to the hole (standard protocol) and I figured I’d be out in about 2-3 days because the cameras would show I was attacked and didn’t fight back but merely cleared him from my presence.
I would finally be told after a week or so that it was not safe for me to re-enter population here. “Where do you want to go” I was asked. Right then, with this information is where I began to see God’s hand in it all. He allowed this assault, but kept me safe to set up this move that I’d been denied in November. Now about Feb. 13th, it had been a three month project He’d been working behind the scenes. All the while me feeling like my prayers had gone on deaf ears, and the prayers of my family. But no, Proverbs 16:9 says, “a man’s heart plans His way, but the lord directs his steps”. Exodus 6:1, after Moses and Pharaoh had been back and forth, Moses trying to free the people from Egypt (The Exodus), God said to Moses, Now you shall see what I will do….” At this point God said to me, “Now you shall see what I will do!” I was so grateful all of a sudden and knew this was completely orchestrated by the Lord.
However, as time progressed, all signs were pointing to me not going to the location closest to my family but rather as far East as one could go. I’m currently as far west as you can go without leaving the state, or about 5 hours one way from my family. Doubt had begun to set in, acceptance of this move began to be something I’d have to accept and move forward with. Afterall, I thought, it’s not a bad place. I know some people there. There is quite a bit to do there. I’d begun to accept the fact I wouldn’t get visits at all in the snowy season. I was admittedly down a bit but doing my best to be content.
Five people sign off on a move. The first four had chosen this far away location for me. However, this past Friday during the middle of the night a sheet of paper is slid through my door. I’d have to read it 30 times and then still check with staff to confirm what I was reading. “Yes, you are going to the place closest to your family” was the message.
I share this to tell you, don’t lose hope, have faith, and wait on God, for Yes He is real. He does exit. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path”. Proverbs 3:5-6