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A story of change from behind bars

Story shared through Becky More, Chris More’s former wife.

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Dear Nick,

My name is Chris and I am an inmate at the Goose Creek Correctional Complex in Wasilla, AK. I have been incarcerated since 1/2/11. It was on this same day I finally broke and became a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ. I wanted to share an experience I had just a few days ago that involves you  and God’s perfect timing:

On Thursday, September 29th, I had a hearing with the Alaska Board of Parole. I was denied and ordered to serve the remainder of my sentence. I had been eligible for parole this coming December 4th and had high hopes to spend Christmas with my family for the first time in six years…especially with my soon-to-be six year old son. My heart was broken, my immediate dreams were shattered and I was wallowing in disbelief and despair. My family and friends were ready for me to come home. Having to serve another 25 months, including three Christmas’, had always been a very bitter thought and, in an instant, became a terrible and challenging reality.

Barely 24 hours later, the evening Friday September 30th, I was on my bunk, hunkered down for the night, trying to escape my new reality with TV. They called for movement for church, a service I typically attend on Friday nights. I had no intentions of going- absolutely none. Laying there in my depressed state, I was mad at the world. I was mad at God. Had it been possible, I would have turned to a gallon of Ben and Jerry’s for comfort…certainly not church. Definitely not God.

Without knowing why…or how…I found myself climbing down from my bunk, getting on my shoes, grabbing my jacket and leaving my cell. I literally spoke out loud to myself, “I don’t want to go to church” yet I kept walking. It was like an out-of-body experience…I had no control over my body. I just kept walking even though I told myself to turn around and go back to my cell; my body would not listen to or obey what my mind told it. I argued with myself the whole way there. I was confused. I sat in the back with my arms crossed and mind still questioning why I even bothered to go. I was there in body, but not in mind.

Todd, our volunteer, got up and explained to us that we were going to stray from our regular video service and that we were in for an “awesome treat.” Still closed-off, I sat through worship with my mind reliving the hearing; wondering what, if anything, I could have said or done differently to have changed the outcome. I was feeling overwhelmed and was on the verge of tears, again. The next thing I know, a man appeared on the screen. It was you (Nick). I’m not sure when or where it was recorded but you were in a prison, speaking to the men dressed in all whites. I remember thinking that you looked familiar, wondering where I had seen you before. I know I had seen you and heard of your story before, but I had not heard you speak or deliver a message about the power of God.

I don’t really remember much of the next 45 minutes except how your message made me feel. I felt as if you were speaking directly to me, that your message, despite it being pre-recorded who knows how long ago, was for me and me alone. Just one day after my world had come crashing down (again), your words gave me hope and comfort when I was stuck doubting God’s plan for my life, or even if God loved me at all. Words cannot begin to explain how motivating and inspiring you are. I admire your zest for life, the joy in which you reside…and your passion and love for the Lord was incredibly contagious that night. Not only did I “snap out of it,” but seven of my fellow inmates in attendance came forward during the altar call and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. There was a power in the gymnasium that night that brought more men than just me to tears. Your words resonated through nearly 75 men and no doubt God used you to make a lasting difference in our lives.

You told a very powerful story about young girls in a town in India who were sold by their parents for $700 as sex slaves and how the woman who was responsible was healed and the business was shut down. It was this story that helped me realize that God’s not done with me…that His plan is better than mine! I had been so focused on getting out, going home, reconciling relationships and finally becoming a father, that I never stopped to consider that maybe God still has a plan for me here.
Maybe I’m still here to learn a new trade skill that may ultimately provide for my family when I do get out? Perhaps I’m to keep utilizing the gifts He’s given me to keep directing our men’s choir to create a positive environment for others and use the power of music to heal? Or maybe my absence can be used to show my son courage, resilience and patience from a distance? Whatever it is, you helped me remember and trust that God’s plan is better than my immediate desires.

I was so moved by what happened Friday night, I had to share it with my son’s mother, Becky. I told her all about it. It was then she said “I follow Nick on Facebook! You should write him and tell him…email it to me and I’ll post it for you.” This letter was her idea and I felt it was too important to not tell you how you are changing lives for those who least expect it. I’m willing to bet that had my parole been approved, your message and testimony wouldn’t have had the same impact on me that it did. I needed to hear what you had to say and believe that was the state I had to be in to truly receive it. I certainly didn’t go to that service willingly…that was all Him.

Nick, I want to thank you for what you do. Please continue to let God use you to inspire and enrich lives and bring people to Jesus…and I promise to let God use me in whatever capacity He sees fit as well! May God bless you for the difference you are making in the world.

Your Brother in Christ, Chris

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