Although thankfulness should be a daily lifestyle for all who belong to Jesus Christ, I am a huge fan of having a holiday set aside where we think about and focus on what we are thankful for.

My list is very long.

As I was thinking about what to write in this month’s newsletter, I thought it appropriate to share with you some of the letters I receive as a result of this ministry. I view this as a team effort. Some of you support us financially. Some of you support us with prayer. Some of you volunteer. Some of you give me just the right words of encouragement at just the right time. It is an interesting balance of activity as I observe how the Holy Spirit works. The Lord always knows what we need and when we need it.

There have been times when I thought we needed certain things at certain times that God did not bring about in my timing. Yet, as I look back on the past thirteen years, He has always brought us exactly what we’ve needed, exactly when we’ve needed it. I see that as a tribute to you and your obedience. Thank you!

The following is part of a letter from someone who received my book while in county jail.

Dear Gary,

I hope you are doing well. I just wanted to say thank you for your book Plain Vanilla Wrapper. I was recently incarcerated, and it is no accident that your book got into my hands. Your book played an important role in truly saving my life. I related to you so much throughout the book, mainly in the aspect of you truly being a good guy who ended up in jail. I consider myself a good guy as well who made some really bad choices and ended up in jail multiple times. I’m still facing some prison time but won’t find out until December 3rd what it will be. Please pray for me! Your words helped lead me back to God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. After several years of ignoring His call, I finally heard him. And although things are rough for me and far from over, I now at least have hope and strength through Him! (I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.). Following your journey in your faith helped start my journey back to Him, and I will be forever grateful for that. Thank you.


One of our primary activities is to give away the book Adam is describing. Some of you were key in encouraging me to write it in the first place. Many of you have helped with the distribution. We presently have given away over 23,000 copies. I have received hundreds of thank-you letters similar to the above. I am so grateful for your help in keeping these books available.

The following is part of a letter from an inmate who has been incarcerated for over thirty years. He is one of the most faithful and committed followers of Christ that I have had the privilege of knowing.

Dear Gary,

In one of your previous letters you said there were two things you learned during your time of incarceration that have served you well... 1. You stopped wanting anything. 2. You stopped asking God “Why?” This has been the most impactful advice I am learning to apply in my life that you have given me because it is freeing my mind up beyond circumstances and towards what God has for me and/or how He can use me.

Praises to Him,


I have not talked about it much in my newsletters, but one of our goals is to encourage those who are in prison to see themselves as missionaries on the inside. Brian has been that example for many years, and he is the example we would love to see others embrace.

The following is a note I received from a student who participated in our Lessons for Life course live at one of the facilities where we minister on a weekly basis. He has been out of prison for a little over a year.

Hello Gary,

This is Steve. I’m one of the men you gave hope to every week at the prison. I am doing well, and God is blessing my wife and me in amazing ways. We just got a new home. This is the first home I have ever had in my life. I thank God every day for my second chance. Please keep us in your prayers. They seem to work. I can never thank you enough for the help you gave me. God bless you.

Your friend,


The older I get, the more I appreciate the life God allows me to live. I am thankful for the opportunity to be an encouragement to others, and I am thankful for the great people He has connected me with who have a similar desire to see people change and grow in their relationship with God.