Isaiah 40:1-5

1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is over, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.

3 A voice cries out: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.

5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."



September 24, 2012

I cannot believe this day is finally here.  Today I turn myself into the custody of the United States Marshall’s to begin my 48-month sentence.  It feels like such an eternity.


I have spent the weekend with my wife and sons and have been totally selfish with this time.  Being selfish with my time unfortunately is not something I often did.  I so wish I had spent more time with them.  I only hope they know how much I love them.  I hope they know how proud I am of them.


I have had such a hard time this weekend trying to keep up appearances, trying to hold myself together so that my kids and my wife don’t see the fear inside of me.  I have always been the type of person who prides himself on “holding it together” in hard times.  I pray I can do that today, as I have to say good-bye to my wife and kids.  This truly hurts.  I so wish I could take this pain away from them.  When I see the pain in their eyes, as they cry and I know I am the cause of this and there is nothing I can do, it just tears me up inside. 


Understand, this fear is not for my personal safety, but for the position this has placed my entire family in.  I know God is with me and he will lead me on this journey, I only hope I am as strong and I need to be.  I so wish this had been different.


As you can imagine, I did not sleep much.  I prayed and asked God to continue to bless and protect my family and friends.  As I prayed, I could not help but to feel the anger inside of me.  I could not help but to ask WHY!  I know that is not what I should be feeling or asking, but I just find it so hard to remain strong right now. 


As I end this post, I wanted to thank all those who have helped me thus far.  There are so many people that I could not name them all, but you all know who you are and I will be indebted to you for eternity.  Please continue to pray for my family and remember God is with us and He will never turn away from us.


For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)


May God Bless You and I will see you all very soon.

September 24, 2012

I turned myself in to the US Marshalls office in downtown Riverside this morning at 10:00 am. I came prepared with everthing they said I would need: my medical paperwork, a copy of my drivers license, a paperback prayer book and cash so that I could make purchases while in custody. However, to my surprise, the marshall would not allow me to take anything with me except for 60 dollars in cash. So I am not quite sure why I was given this list of necessities.
As I was discussing what I could and could not bring with me the marshall he abruptly told me to stand and turn around. I new what was next, but unfortunately my wife, who was standing there watching, had no idea. He put me in handcuffs, and in a matter of seconds my ability to do anything at all had been taken from me. I could feel my life being ripped from inside me. You see, I have always been the type of man who was accustomed to being in control of his surroundings and now I realized that my existence was going to be defined by others.
I was walked to a holding cell and left there feeling very helpless. I began to pray and whisper my desires to God. I knew, unfortunately, God would not answer this prayer the way I wanted…and that scared me.
Later that evening, I was transported to a local county sheriff’s department jail. I went through the booking process and was placed into my new home.

September 27,2012

My cell is a single person cell, it has a bed, a sink, and a toilet. It is L shaped with the long side consisting of a bed and the short side having a toilet. When you sit on the toilet, your knees nearly hit the door. It is no more than 3 feet wide.
Being in a single isolated cell is very nerve racking. I have no sense of time other than when meals come. I really feel as if the world around me has just stopped. I pray that God will lead me through the wilderness, that he will give me the strength to leave this place still a man.
After three days, I was moved to a regular housing unit. This is a very welcomed change because now I can use the phone and shower with ease, within the one hour period I am allowed out of that cell each day. However, as welcome as it is, it also comes with great fear. You see, I have never been in custody before, so I am not quite sure what this experience will be like. I entered the tier and I could see a long row of cells. Of course my cell was all the way at the end, so I had to walk in front of everyone else. I tried to stand tall and walk with confidence, I’m sure these men saw through me.

October 10, 2012

As I lay in my cell, I wonder how all this happened. I know my faith teaches me that God has a master plan for each and everyone of us; however, I can’t stop wondering if hundreds of random things fell into exactly the right place to set these events into motion. I can’t believe God wants me here, or does He?
As I pray and ask for God’s help, I feel this growing fear inside of me that even my faith may not be able to take away my pain. I fear that as I pray and feel even more alone, that I will start to allow the despair to set in and take over.

October 15, 2012

I am ending week three and I am still in the county jail. I am not sure when the Marshalls are going to transfer me. I hope it is soon. I find it hard sitting in a cell for twenty-three hours a day. It seems weird, but I can see why jail/prison loses it’s effectiveness. As humans we adapt to our surroundings, most of the inmates I have met are already “institutionalized”. To them this is environment is home and probably will be throughout their lives. There must be a more productive way to pay society back for the injustices that have been done, without sitting in a cell.

October 16, 2012

I wonder how the people I read about in the Bible were able to keep their faith. How strong they must have been to go on in such difficult situations. I just finished reading Job again, and while it gives me hope that God can give me that type of strength, it scares me because I wonder when it will begin. I am starting my fourth week in custody and still find my faith shaken. I have this gnawing fear that my faith is not strong enough to overcome my situation.
I hope our lives are not measured by checking days off a calendar as I do daily. I pray God delivers his plan for my life so I can fill this empty void within myself, and that my family and I can find relief from our pain.

13 Responses to Surrender

  • Brenda says:

    My heart breaks as I read your post and I find myself crying out to God for you and your family!

    Ephesians 3:14
    For this reason I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in Love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that you might be filled with the fullness of Christ.

    I will being lifting up you and your family in my prayers! I look forward to seeing how God is going to use the night season in your life for His glory!

    With my love to you and your family,

  • Free Him says:

    The hardest journey for this man has begun. A journey that was not deserved. The system he swore to protect has turned his back on him. No judge, no jury, can sway my feelings for him. He is and always will be a great man, father, leader, and a friend. I pray for him and his wonderful family. He will be back. Not today or tomorrow, but he will be back. This man has been there for me during some rough times. Those times when you see who your true friends are. This man made the call, and sincerely cared for my family.

    I look forward to the day he is released and returns to his family and friends. Stay strong. Every day is one day closer to him returning to the ones that love, admire, and respect him.

  • Jody Garcia says:

    I read your posts and cry and ask God why, why you, why did this have to happen to you. The only answer that I can come up with is that you are strong and God knows that you will do great things with your life even in jail. God knows your heart and he knows that you will do great things and share this journey with others and be a source of comfort for other people who may be going through this same situation. I continue to pray for you and your family that God will always comfort you and give you strength in this time in your life.
    With much love!!!

  • Jim K. says:

    The bible says when we are weak, He is strong! Even if our faith is weak that doesn’t change His love for you. He doesn’t care any less for you. He has not forsaken You! Your friends are out here praying for you and think about you every day. I am looking forward to getting an address for you so we can write and send you encouraging stuff. I look forward to the day you get out, I was going to say free but those in Christ are free, and we can see how God has used you. I remember you coming in to see me after someone else began walking with Christ and you asked me what I did to him…not me! We are New Creations in Christ and the old man is put away and we are made new. We have faith in you! Stay in His Word and He will give you Living Water. He is the vine and we are the branches. We can’t make it away from Him. I already see that God is working in you and He works things for good, not evil. The apostle Paul is good role model. He was locked up up a lot…Love you bro! J.K.

  • Free Him says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. We are all thinking about you and your family. You should be with them today. Continue to stay strong. You are missed………………

  • Jim says:

    Merry Christmas my friend!

  • Idebenone says:

    Hi MV…………….You have grasped the concept of "cell". It must be a great suffering for you if you are drawn to solitude and quiet prayer to have to be constantly about care – this is a cross. Although if you do set about finding God and prayer in your cell, you just may find that the load is not so heavy. Prayer is not only when we are about prayer………….prayer is our whole way of life encompassing everything in our life……….in our cell. While to actually be alone, quiet and about prayer may be pleasing to you, God is asking otherwise. I certainly hope however, that you do have means to take a break at least monthly or bi monthly for a day! Mentally and even physically you would probably need this – even if a friend came in to relieve you of the bulk of your duties while you relaxed – went out for a while. If this is impossible, then rest assured that you are always in God’s hands who will never ask more than we can give – we only think He does sometimes. Blessings and my regards……………Barb .

  • Brian Barlow says:

    Blessings my friend……..It has been a long time since I last wrote you, but rest assured God brings you to mind often. While I don’t know all that you have experienced separated from your family, I want to encourage you. God has the power to compress and excelerate time all at once. He has an amazing way of restoring loss – in ways we cannot imagine. This past week my wife gave birth to our first borne, a little boy. You know a little of my life story and when I say I never thought the blessing of a family would happen – God knew otherwise. When He formed you, He knew all that He wanted you to be and all the you hoped to be in Him. The desires He formed in your heart while you were being knit together in your mother’s womb are still being fulfilled today. The outward appearance of things can be daunting, but we know the character of God is that He is not concerned with the outward appearance of things as we are. God looks at the heart and His promise is to bind up the brokenhearted. Funny thing about the that – brokenness leads to the blessing. I pray you are encouraged, and while sorrow and suffering may seem your close companions, trust that God never wastes a hurt. He is intentional in all that He does in the lives of those who love Him. Blessings on your dreams, know that God has raised up a great crowd to intercede on your behalf….Brian

  • Free Him says:

    Any updates?

  • Free Him says:

    As we celebrate our freedom, I am thinking of yours. I am going to try to visit you soon. Hang in there.

  • Free Him says:

    Any updates? Hang in there, every day that goes by is a day closer to getting you home. Stay strong my friend.

  • Free Him says:

    Can you update how he is doing? He will always be in our thoughts and prayers until he is home.

  • Free Him says:

    Any updates? You are not forgotten. Stay strong.

Leave a Reply to Brian Barlow Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>