What follows is a letter from an inmate that Joy Corey ministered to under the auspices of OCPM while she was in the County Jail. Joy has been a member of the Chaplaincy Corps at that jail for 12 years and currently serves on the OCPM Board of Directors.
To Whom It May Concern:
My experience with the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry began in 2014 while I was incarcerated in Kootenai County Jail awaiting sentencing for a drug charge. A woman by the name of Joy Corey would come faithfully every Tuesday to teach a bible study. At my request, she agreed to meet with me one-on-one on a weekly basis for spiritual guidance. I received unconditional love and acceptance from Joy. Our one-on-one meetings continued for months until I was finally transported to South Boise Women’s Correctional Center to serve my time. I regularly received letters of encouragement from Joy while I was in Boise.
The Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry sent me an orthodox bible to the prison. Father Duane Pederson and Zossima regularly sent me letters as well as an Orthodox Study Course at my request. I was able to work on it during my free time. Holidays are difficult and depressing in prison. But at Christmas time I received Orthodox Christmas cards from different OCPM members from all over the country. It made me feel like I mattered. I am truly grateful to have been blessed by this ministry, and I hope that it continues to get the support it needs to grow and flourish.” Thank you. Sincerely A.”
Andrea wrote this letter about the effectiveness of the work that OCPM is doing in the hopes that it might help others come to appreciate their efforts as much as she does.
Before Andrea was transported to prison, I asked her, as I do all inmates God entrusts to me, to write a letter to her family apologizing for all the pain and suffering she put them through. However, I have one stipulation which they must follow: they are never to justify themselves, but rather to take full responsibility for the pain they have inflicted on others. As a result of her asking for their forgiveness, Andrea’s estrangement from her family ended and I became close to her parents. Knowing Andrea’s background might help you appreciate even more how far she has come:
Andrea was engaged to be married while attending the University of Washington on a scholarship as a pre-med student. A promising future to say the least! She was a 4.0 student! Suddenly tragedy struck when her fiancé was murdered. She became addicted to drugs and ended up kidnapped off the streets of Seattle, locked in a closet for four days and raped, finally escaping. When Andrea’s incarceration was terminated and she was appointed a Probation Officer, I attended all her court hearings, had her attend my classes for former inmates at my church and in time she became a catechumen.
Andrea was received into the Holy Orthodox Church on December 31st, 2017 and she asked my husband and me to be her Godparents. Currently, Andrea is working as manager of the furniture department in a known retail store, but plans to return to the University to follow her dream of doing something in the field of medicine. When she isn’t working, she sings in the Church choir next to me. She is a delight, a beautiful young lady of 27 years of age with a wonderful future thanks to the help of OCPM and the God that serves His incarcerated through His servants who minister to Him in the jails and prisons of America. For the Lord said, “I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matt. 25:36)