It's so encouraging to hear the impact that Voices of Pain and the Voice of Hope is having on it's readers. Please take the time to read the testimonial below. It's an incredible account of hope even in the toughest times. Enjoy!
In support of this amazing book I would like to share the impact it had on me as I flicked the pages, stared into the drawings and read the words of these true, real stories.
I had an image or picture of jail bars in front of me as the words came alive in my mind and in my heart. I started to feel the words as if it was me telling the stories. I started to feel the way I used to feel – especially during the times when I was locked up inside, looking out. (Jail).
When I was in jail I played many roles and wore many hats! I automatically had a way of finding opportunities. I sold cigarettes and ran shop from my P119’s (shopping). It was a way of connecting with people, finding out the in's and out's; and it was something I knew how to do and do it well...Hussle!! I brought coffee, biscuits, barley sugars and other things that I could hussle with and I also knew some people couldn’t afford it, so I would sometimes just give them stuff for nothing...cause I could and cause it made me feel good when they looked shocked and surprised when I didn't want anything in return! Nobody did nothing or gave nothing for nothing!
I’d sometimes play mind games with them and make them think ‘you owe me’ but I’d let them get away with it or an opportunity to teach them a lesson (in a good or bad way…depending on how honest and real that person was). It was also a way of showing love and building a community as after all, we seemed to be a family inside looking out (Jail). As time went by I ended up using my shop to show comfort to the new intakes who had never been locked up before or especially the 'older-meant-to be-wiser' lot who thought they were invisible smoking that P and Chrystal Meth!! It's amazing what a cigarette and coffee can do to calm a person down.
I had the pleasure of meeting some really out of it people and hearty people. I ended up showing some of them the ropes and how the system worked inside looking out!
As I listened to the words and stories of these ladies who became my family, I started to realize that we were all living in a world of sadness, loneliness, brokenness, darkness, confusion, anger, frustration, self-pity, violence, pain, fear; and we all had something in common. We could relate to one-another because some of our choices and actions were mostly committed because of the pain we were trying to hide and cover up!
Again because I ran shop I would have some ladies try their best to get invited into my room, some I would invite and we would sit have a coffee and exchange stories and before we knew it, we both knew certain people or circles and even incidents and events, not to mention dealings lol :-) One particular person felt secure in being in jail. She had been there for so long she didn’t want to leave. So after a while she sounded like a broken record and got on my nerves! So eventually I had to give her a hiding to wake her up. And afterwards I did her a favour and we all knew it even the officers and she soon realized it herself and so we started to fight for her way out into the real world.
As these flashbacks popped up as I read on, I remembered walking outside during yard time and hearing the pain of these ladies as they shared and exchanged stories some true and some just dreaming talking crap. I saw myself in the yard, walking around and around the grass area to keep fit and playing volleyball with a hard basketball ball to try let out some steam and frustration out and also I was and trying to scan the place out in case I needed to escape if something happened to my children! This was all coming up because of this book.
I even remembered this one Sunday afternoon when I was in maximum security. I overheard the screws discussing the fact they were going to have to cancel this church group coming in that afternoon cause there were only 2 names put down to attend. I asked them what type of church group, of what religion. They told me 'A Pentecostal' group. I asked them not to cancel them as I'll gather some girls and we will attend as there isn't any other places we had to be at lol :) I wanted to meet some new people and see what these guys had to offer! Sure enough, I rounded a few girls and we fill the room. The screws were quite surprised and so were the Church group. They had sung songs (I now know it's called 'Worship time') and shared a scripture. I had disagreed with something and so I shared how I felt about the scripture and about God. At that time I didn’t believe in God because of the experiences I’d had and I simply just didn't have any faith anymore. But for some strange reason, I started crying. As we started to talk and have discussions the other girls started sharing their thoughts and feelings, it was awesome! I remember this one chick who was quite hard, tough and staunch, she started speak up and share and even she started to cry. Before we knew it, there were a few of us weeping and we didn't care! At the end of our service the girls thanked me, especially that wanna-be-staunch one :-)
The presence of God was in that room and we didn’t even know it. We were all happy afterwards – it felt like a bloody Sunday that's for sure! God works in the darkest places and here we are - we don’t even know!
As I was getting towards the end of the stories, I started to feel the jail bars breaking down and light was coming back around me, I started to feel believing that this book is going to touch, encourage and inspire many lives to wanna change! This book gives HOPE to the hopeless and COURAGE to the weak!
It will impact lives of those who live in hidden closets to wanna start searching for the light!
The lost souls will begin to stir deep within and want to awaken because of the POWERFUL, REAL, TRUE STORRIES of women who were Fighters and Survivors and are NOW living a life of FREEDOM, LOVE, PEACE, JOY, FAITHFULNESS and ACCOMPLISHMENT!!
The impact of these true stories will be witnessed, I believe, in many Prisons, Rehabs, Women Centres, Mental institutions, Addiction programmes, University’s...but mostly Prisons!
As Women and Men read this book, they will relate, like I have and I believe they will want to search for the same outcome. Especially a willingness to want to find Identity, Belonging, Purpose, Trust and Love...just like I searched for most my life and I finally found my true real self through our Creator who we were created by His image, Worthy and of Royalty because I/WE are sons and daughters of the Most High King!
At the end of this book I was so inspired I felt encouraged to write this letter in support of my beautiful sisters who shared and of cause my lovely dear friend and sister in the Lord Alexis Waterhouse!