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The Lie: Evolution



Amidst almost constant bad news we were encouraged at times.


By Aaron Priest (while in South Central Regional Jail)

This is “the life” if you don’t say nope
This is “the life” of someone dedicated to doing dope

Whether you snort, shoot or smoke from the glass stick
You’ve sold your soul to something really sick

You won’t notice but your life will change
You‘ll become something scary and strange

People will offer you food thinking of your condition
They can see you’re torn up from malnutrition

Once again you pass the food on the table
Go on to other issues for now you are able

You spin around town, thinking you are cool
Screw what they think, you’re nobody’s fool

One by one, the people leave you alone
They can see the monster you have grown

First it’s your friends, then your kids and your wife
You’re convinced you don’t need them trashing up you life

Then one day you realize and finally see
They are all part of the big conspiracy

You shake the thought and do another blast
Thinking and wondering how long can this last?

What was once days is now time of no length
Your habit rolls on growing in strength

What was once for kicks is now so real
You get the bright idea, maybe you should deal

Now your life just took a nasty turn
You jump into the fire and start to burn

At first you’re taken, shaken and treated lame
But before long you’re hip to the game

Next thing you realize and this is a must
You’re the only person in this world who you can trust

Now all your time is spent making rounds
First quarters, grams then ounces and pounds

And now the last chapter of this book
You have decided to become a meth cook

You know in your heart it’s going to be trouble
Sitting in the lab watching the bubble

You’re now the target of the cops, feds and DEA
Knowing all of this, you continue to play

Things in the life are so freaking intense
You wonder what happened? It doesn’t make sense

Then one day you’re sitting minding the store
When sixteen cops bust down your door

They slam you down, put their feet on your chest
They say hello stupid, you’re under arrest

You know it’s all over when you get to court
And theirs a dozen informants on the police report

While you walk the yard, you have time to reflect
How your life became such a freaking wreck

Then it flashes, like a neon sign
Hey buddy, want another line

Soberly you realize in your world of strife
The price is to heavy for being “the life”

The End

Author: Aaron C. Priest
Inmate at the South Central Regional Jail

(Another inmate, Chad Rogers, who is now (2006) in prison, helped with the poem) 

This poem was written by Aaron the last week of October 2006 (while in jail).

Let me tell you about my Father--
The One from above who walked on water.

His Word is Truth and He is Light.
He is the Creator of everything in sight.

He fed the masses with two fish and a few loaves of bread.
He died on the cross and rose from the dead.

He's the only one pure who has ever walked among men.
His blood was the price to pay for our sin.

So lift Him up high and praise His name.
With Jesus in your life it will never be the same.


November 9, 2006

(This report was sent to friends and family the day Aaron was sentenced after serving nearly 14 months in jail.)

Thank God that Aaron received mercy today!  He was sentenced to four months (that is the amount of time since the Federal Indictment took effect) and three years of supervised probation.  As soon as he is released he has consented to report to a three month drug rehab program.  I feel that God is the answer to "kicking" drugs, but all experts confirm (and I agree) that a rehab will give him practical tips on avoiding relapse.  Also, the time at the facility will serve as a transition back into society because the jail Aaron has been sitting in is a VERY tough place to be.

Aaron called us as soon as he returned to the jail and told us he wanted to say something when the judge asked him if he had anything to say.  In court Aaron did not speak about what was on his heart because he had not had time to confer with his attorney and felt compelled to remain silent.  We asked what he would have said and Aaron expressed how sorry he was for what he had done.  Oh, how I wish he had spoken up! 

It could be argued that Aaron did not have any victims because (to our knowledge) all of his associates connected to his drug activities were already involved in drugs and crime.  His family will never say that his "friends drug him down" and we will not dwell on the marital incident that broke Aaron's heart.   Nor will we offer an excuse for what (way back in junior high school) caused his racial anger.  All of his life Aaron never got reinforcement when he broke rules and he always had family and God to turn to for help with his grief.  He freely chose wrongly.  The reality is, besides the harm to society and the shame to his family, Aaron hurt himself far more than anyone else.

It is aptly said that a man must hit the bottom before he realizes the wrong path he is following.  Aaron hit the bottom and dug in deeper.  He has lost all of his worldly possessions except for what his mother, sister and I were able to salvage under very dire circumstances.  His financial debts are enormous and I could go on and on.  However, with his salvation experience, his positive life experiences, and his family support Aaron can make a success out of his life.

The judge mentioned the letters of support for Aaron received by his court.  He made a point out of those who had written and mentioned that Aaron had made a "Christian conversion".  You know, there were some solid (I thought) Christian people that did not bother to write a letter to help Aaron.  Two preachers actually lied when they told me they would write a letter.  I guess they were unaware that the attorney provided me copies of all received letters.

But, I will dwell on those who did write and the two preachers who came to the sentencing.  Also, I praise God for arranging some circumstances that helped us obtain enough evidence to allow the court to reduce the federal point system down to where the judge could impose a lenient sentence. 

On behalf of Aaron's family I want to thank everyone who wrote, came, and/or prayed.  It is truly a miracle that Aaron is not going to prison. 


December 20, 2006

(This report was sent to friends and after a visit to see Aaron at a residential rehab program.)

I doubt if I will get this exactly right, but God is so AWESOME that I just have to give it a try.

When Aaron made a profession of salvation by admitting his need of a Savior I rejoiced, but kept one leg of faith (so to speak) in the realm of doubt.  You know, you hear a lot about fake "jail house conversions".  On the other hand, there are plenty of stories of inmates who got the real thing.  I think Aaron is the latter.

He made his profession at a time where it would not likely help him with his sentence, but never, ever mentioned that I should use his experience for any particular purpose.  Immediately after Aaron told us that he prayed the "sinner's prayer" his mother and I observed a completely new demeanor about Aaron.  He was calm and just plain old "at peace".  He took some difficult circumstances, that occurred over the next few months, with a relaxation that exceeded my own.

He felt that he did not need to go to a rehabilitation program after his release, but did so because he had given his word to us that he would do so.  His mother and I have no doubt that God is the one who delivered Aaron from the control of drugs.  However, a couple of very knowledgeable people helped us decide that a time in rehab would be a good transition from being in a very tough jail to being back into society.

So we took Aaron to a state program about 80 miles from our home.  We arrived after dark to find that the facility is part of a homeless shelter and the addicts are in a situation not much different than the derelicts except for the rehab classes and meetings.  It was TOUGH to leave him there.  Although he is a grown man--flashes of the little boy we raised weighed heavily upon the thoughts of his mother and me.

Then we found out something that just about floored us.  Aaron called and told us that the first night he was offered drugs and could get about any drug right in the building. But, he had worse news.  He had run into some guys he knew and he named one (I'll call him Bill).  Bill was ABSOLUTELY the last person we would want to be around Aaron.  While we were dealing with Aaron's spiral downward we discovered that Bill was in another regional jail and was considered "bad news" by the police and was even in trouble with the FBI!

But Aaron told us that Bill had gotten saved (Aaron's words) during his 18 months in jail, had voluntarily entered the rehab, had two weeks left in the program, was married (now) and living with his wife and two children, and working for the pastor of his church.  And it gets better!

Bill told Aaron he went to the church with tattered jeans and all of his piercings and was loved by the congregation.  Now he wears a suit to church!  That's not all!  Bill is the only white man in the church!  Aaron (who has had racists issues to say the least) had went to church with Bill!  Also, there is another all black church that runs a van to the rehab and Aaron has attended that church!

But it gets even better (please pardon the exclamation points)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After the mandatory two weeks restriction we went down to visit Aaron during Aaron's afternoon "pass" on a Saturday.  Aaron was his calm relaxed self and assured us he had told those offering the drugs that he "was not interested".  His mother and I can sense when he is lying and there was no sign of anything except the truth. He frankly told us how some of the addicts avoid getting caught during the random drug screens.  That was alarming, but (in Aaron's case) heartening.

We took Aaron to eat and before returning him to the facility we stopped at Walmart (the choice of his mother and I) to pick up some items Aaron needed.  One store entry had a Scooby-Doo mascot raising money for toys for needy children and the one we entered had a Salvation Army bell ringer who was gone when we exited the store. In his place was a table manned by a tiny black lady who was part of the toy money raising group.  She had moved down the other door after the Salvation Army guy left.  She practically latched on to my leg because she was so tickled at how tall I was compared to her. I'll call her Sister Sue because I do not remember her name, but the guy who introduced us called her Sister something.

The man who introduced us was Bill!  He had been wearing the Scooby-doo outfit at the other entrance and had just gotten relieved.  He had worn it for 12 solid hours without a break and couldn't wear shoes in the costume so he had been in his sock feet all day on the cold concrete.  He said he was getting ready to walk home so we offered him a ride thinking it would be near-by.

We let him out about five miles away!  During the ride he said he had asked the Lord what he could do for Him on Saturday and the "Lord put me in touch with Sister Sue".  Also, before we let him out, Aaron invited (and Bill accepted) an invitation to go to a 5 A. M. prayer service the next morning at the other black church!

Boys (as we say in the South), if you ain't shoutin' you must be dead!

If it hadn't already been done I think I could compose a song entitled "To God Be The Glory", because GREAT things He hath done!

As you well know, satan (my choice of spelling) will not let Aaron alone while Aaron is in this "robe of flesh", so please remember Aaron when you pray. 

By God's Grace, Aaron will get to spend Christmas with his family before returning to complete the three month program.  We look forward to what God has in store for Aaron.

I hope this letter brings a blessing to you during this time where we think of what God has done for all man-kind.


The Prodigal Son

May 18, 2017

In 1993, with a wife, three children and a heart for the Lord, Steve Graham accepted a job with the Union Mission as head of maintenance. It wasn’t just Steve who took on this ministry full steam ahead however, he brought along his side-kicks Dusty, Daniel and Jessica who started helping out.

Dusty, age 13 and Daniel, age 11 and Jessica, age 9 were mowing grass, weed eating, helping with donation pick-ups, flood relief and anything else that needed to be done. Steve had found his passion and was able to involve his family. His wife, Brenda, held many positions at the mission over a sixteen year span. In 1998, this dream started to fade and Steve began noticing that Dusty and Daniel were not around as much as they used to be. Their friends and the things they thought were important started pulling them away.

In 2004, Dusty found himself addicted to drugs and in jail. Daniel was also headed down the wrong path and sadly lost his life in an auto accident in May, 2006. The glimmer of hope that he left behind was his rededication at church on Christmas Day five months earlier. Just knowing that Jesus still held a place in his heart helped them cope with the loss.

Steve found himself wondering where it all went wrong. The boys he had raised in a good Christian home were suddenly gone. His fishing, hunting and working buddies chose a path he had never expected. “Empty… I felt empty when all this happened,” Steve said. Instead of wondering, he began praying.

For Dusty, jail was the best thing that ever happened to him, other than the Lord. It was there that he grieved the loss of his brother, missed out on the hunting trips and working with his dad, and realized how much he needed the Lord in his life. After being incarcerated and going to Teen Challenge, a faith-based rehabilitation program, the boy that was “incorrigible” came home a man who was on fire for the Lord.

In 2007, David Sneade asked Dusty to pray about coming on board at the mission once he completed the Teen Challenge program. With anxiety from both men, Dusty returned to the Union Mission, not as a volunteer, but as a chaplain at the Crossroads Men’s Shelter. He later moved and now works in the men’s Foundation program. Today, Steve and Dusty work side by side at
the mission helping others.

Growing up at the mission, Dusty was considered one of their own. “I knew that I was being prayed for daily. Daniel and I were the mission kids. When I came back, everyone welcomed me with open arms,” Dusty said.

For Steve and the mission, their prodigal son had returned! Both father and son were asked how it feels to be working together again. With tear filled eyes both reply, “good, it’s feels really good.”