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A Prison House Conversion

A Prison House Conversion

Published in
The Christian Informer
March, 2002

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Last updated:
May 5, 2002.

[The following is from a letter written to Floyd Harris, Jr. from a young man, Michael Jamison, whom, as you may recall, was baptized in prison by brother Harris a while back. In this letter brother Jamison recounts the conversion of another inmate. To avoid confusion keep in mind, that Michael is first name of both young men].

Dec. 30, 2001

Dear Floyd,

Greetings! I pray this letter finds you well.

I'm writing to tell you that we have one added member to our fold. As of last night, Dec. 29th, Michael Wagner committed himself to the Lord.

Let me start where Michael and I came together in the Lord. We started playing cards together in the laundry room on the unit (where I am at right now, with Michael). I keep a Bible back here, so I said, "Whoever loses he has to read from the Scriptures, whatever the winner chooses." We went from there. Every day we read and studied together. I showed Michael the Bible study, sister Irma sent to me, and he asked if he could have one also. I wrote to Mrs. Jones and she mailed one out right away.

Michael received his study and completed it right away and sent it out with the request to be baptized. We talked about this together and Michael just seemed to be so anxious to be baptized. I contacted Irma again and when I received her next letter, she told me that she was trying to set things up to make this possible. She also mentioned about what your wife had suggested, that I assist Michael in his baptism.

I also told Michael how you had baptized me in the county jail. He reminded me of myself, how I was so anxious to be baptized. He thought it a good idea that I go ahead and perform the baptism. Michael didn't want to go over to the chapel because he didn't want to feel obligated to their church services. I couldn't blame him for feeling that way either. Michael chose for me to baptize him here on the block, back in the laundry room.

You should have seen us back there. I really didn't want to put him in a garbage can like myself, so I rigged up a laundry cart with a large plastic bag. The cart was plenty big enough for one to fit in. We placed the bag inside and filled it with water. Michael had gotten a new change of clothing, and towel to dry off with. You could see that he was very excited about what he was about to do. This was very joyful for me as well. Anyway, the cart looked full enough and as ready as Michael was. I did notice that it was leaking here and there, but it didn't seem to matter though - "Just as long as it does the job," I said to myself. We then pushed the cart to the back part of the laundry room. Michael climbed into the cart. I then said "I baptize you for the remission of sins. . . (as I started putting him under) in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Well, Michael went under, but his knee-caps were sticking out of the water - I tried to push them down but to no avail. I pulled Michael up and helped him out of the laundry cart. He said to me "Well, did it work?" Of course my answer was "No." I could see the disappointment written all over his face. He said, "Well, I guess we will have to try again tomorrow." Right then I remembered the day you came to baptize me. I remembered the feeling I had when you said that we might have to wait, because there was nothing for me to be baptized in. I didn't want you to leave without me being baptized first. That's when I made the suggestion of the garbage can.

I saw this same hurt in Michael that I also had. I didn't want to let him down so I suggested that we get one of those 50gal. garbage cans and wash it out. He was all for it and the excitement was back. We washed a can out for him and began to fill it with water (no one else on the whole unit knew what was going on). The water got past the half way mark, and I said "That should be more than enough." Michael said, "No. Go higher, I want to be sure there's enough water." "Ok," I said with joyful laughter in my heart (because I knew there was more water than needed already). But I kept filling as he requested.

Once we finished filling the can, we both grabbed it and pushed it to the back of the laundry room. I said to him, "Are you ready?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Let's go." Michael then climbed into the can and as soon as he got into it, the water was already flowing over the sides. I said, "I now baptize you for the remission of sins - in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." Michael went down into the can, and yes, the water was flowing over! This time his back was sticking out. I pushed down on it but it did not move. I then pushed down much harder and, yes, he went down fully into the water and was covered completely. Praise the Lord! I started pulling on him so he would come up, he then came up and stood to his feet, and asked me the same questions as he did when he came out of the cart. "Well, did it work?" This time I was happy to say "Yes!" "Welcome to the Lord's church brother Michael." Giving him a hug. He was so happy. You should have seen his face!

I said to Michael, "Come on. Let's get this water mopped up." And as we went on we sang the whole time, beginning with "I'm a New Creation." And as we were mopping I said to Michael, "Look at all these sins all over the place! Come on, let's get ‘em all mopped up and dump ‘em down the drain!

He laughed at what I said. We continued to rejoice and sing until all the water was mopped up. We then held hands and prayed together to the Lord.

Michael and I continue to come together daily, reading from the Scriptures and singing together to the Lord. This has truly been a blessing to me as well as to Michael. I couldn't ask for anything right now, except for one more child of God, if he might send him my way.

Blessings and peace to you and all who are yours. I look forward to hearing from you. I will sign off now, for I must get a letter out to our dear sister Irma.

In Christ,
Michael, your brother

Brother Floyd writes to us, "Michael Jamison, remembering how encouraging it was to receive letters after his baptism, has requested that we write to Michael Wagner as well. For those who would like to write Michael Jamison, the man I baptized, his address is as follows" -

Michael Wagner
BC-8159, UNIT / SIDE FB-2
10745, Route 18
Albion, PA 16475 -0002

Michael Jamison
10745, Route 18
Albion, PA 16475-0002