Finding Hope, Not Hope - So, For Your Soul
Finding Hope, Not Hope - So, For Your Soul 

Updates On Hannah Overton

 

For more information on what the Overton Family is doing, go to SyndeoMinistries.com where you will have an opportunity to contribute to their ministry.

 

May 13, 2017

 

Hannah Overton Officially Declared Innocent

Brethren,

The ordeal that Hannah Overton went through for 7 years is now officially concluded.  Several days ago, the present District Attorney of Nueces County officially declared Hannah Overton innocent of all murder charges.  Hannah has been free since a year ago when then DA decided not to challenge the Texas Supreme Court that overturned Hannah’s conviction, but it was not until a few days ago that the official declaration was made in writing.

 

 

In fact, the present DA said that Hannah should never had been convicted!!

 

The implication of being officially declared innocent is that Hannah’s name is cleared and she is eligible for state compensation of $80,000 for each year (7 years) of her wrongful incarceration, that is, $560,000.  I always maintained that Hannah as any who are innocent need to be compensated for wrongful convictions.  I sure hope Hannah gets this money because it will go a long way in aiding her present ministry (Syndeo Ministries) where she and Larry are providing a half way house for women coming out of prison.

 

Hannah’s ordeal has been one of the areas that I passionately got involved with after personally meeting with Hannah 7 years ago, having talked with her pastors, and reviewing the details of her case.  I was determined to fight for this woman.  Her faith in Jesus is the real thing; I could see that when I met with her.  My belief even though there were some very dark times of being discouraged was that somehow, someway our great sovereign God would vindicate Hannah before the watching world and bring down her enemies (those who conspired to convict her no matter what).

 

Our God is a God of justice, full of lovingkindness and mercy to those whom He loves.  The Lord sustained Hannah all those years in prison, enabled her to have a fruitful ministry among fellow inmates.  Even the guards testified that Hannah was a model prisoner.

 

Praise God in the highest and may our Lord use Hannah and Larry in years to come in serving Him.

 

Blessings,

Pastor John Otis

 

 

Dear Brethren,
April 8, 2015

 

In the words of Hannah Overton’s pastor- “It is finished.”  Hannah’s victory is now complete.  Today, the Nueces District Attorney made the decision to drop all charges against Hannah after reviewing facts from the first trial and new data.  It is finally over.

 

Hannah is now completely free!!!!!!!

 

This is what we have been working for and praying for for seven long years.  The Lord’s ways are not our ways.  It was all in the Sovereign plan of Almighty God to exonerate Hannah before the watching world, and today that exoneration is complete.

 

Hannah’s story is truly one of the great inspirational stories of our time.  Facing the most daunting sentence a wife and mother could ever imagine - life without parole.  Many of us always believed in Hannah’s innocence ; we prayed  countless prayers, and shed many tears over these seven years.

 

Only the Lord knows why all of this happened to the Overtons; it was all in the amazing loving plan of a God who always knows best, especially in these kind of trials.

 

May the Lord use Larry and Hannah Overton and their children for His glory.  May Hannah's story bring hope to many people, and may her story demonstrate that wonderful truth that GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS!!!!!!!!!

January 7, 2015
Please keep remembering Hannah and her family. The District Attorney is planning to try Hannah again for murder. Please pray that God will absolutely deliver her and frustrate the plans of those who desire such a miscarriage of justice. Thank Him for the great testimony of Hannah's life. It is a tribute to our great God who does all things well. Praise Him for His marvelous works, not only in Hannah's life, but in the lives of all who are His.

Hannah Is Free. She has been released from prison and is home with her Husband,Larry and 5 Children. Watch her story on 20/20  Friday Dec. 26, 10PM EST on ABC

The Church of Jesus Christ rejoices!

PRAY FOR HANNAH OVERTON

Hannah Ruth Overton is a mother five. She was in a Texas Prison in Gatesville, Texas for over 7 years, and is now in solitary confinement in county jail in Corpus Christi, Texas, for a crime she did not commit. She was charged with capital murder of Andrew Bird, a 4 year old little boy that she and Larry were adopting. The court ruled that Hannah did not act fast enough when Andrew got sick, in order to save his life. (He died within 3 hours of getting sick and in that time the Overtons took him to the Emergency Clinic and to the Hospital).
Hannah and Larry were home schooling their children, besides being dear Christians. Certain attorneys made it their goal to put Hannah away for life. In spite of all adversity, Hannah is ministering to women inside the Gatesville Prison. She is holding Bible Studies and leading women to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. In many ways it is unbelievable, yet we know that God works His wonders through means we cannot fathom. If you want to know more about Hannah, "google" her name and you will fine informative facts. Katie Curic has had Larry and the children on her program. 20/20 has done at least two, if not three, programs about Hannah. The last hearing was in May 2012 and the results of that was so in answer to prayer. Attorneys acknowledged having suppressed information that would have likely kept Hannah out of prison. Now we continue to pray wait for whatever God has for Hannah. We pray that she will be returned to Larry and their children.

Also, go to the website: FreeHannah

Hannah, age 38, speaking with her Pastor

Dear Christian friends:

 

Please pray with hundreds and hundreds of us, if not thousands, who are praying for Hannah Overton's release from prison. If you are not familiar with her case, go to Google and type in "Hannah Overton." Or, to the website, "Free Hannah." Hannah is a young wife and mother of five. She has been falsely accused of murder of a foster child, not because she schemed and carried out evil, but because her accusers said she did not act fact enough within the 1.5 hours when Andrew became apparently ill, before his death in only 3 hours. Hannah is in prison for life without parole. Hannah could have plead guilty to a lesser crime and received less years in prison, as her attorneys suggested; But, Hannah refused to admit to anything having to do with causing the death of little Andrew Bird, whom she and her husband loved and were trying to adopt as their own. In spite of the circumstances, God is greatly blessing Hannah. She has won many women to the Lord. She holds Bible studies and many hardened criminals have come to faith in Christ through her faithful ministry.  If you would like to write to Hannah or send her a card of encouragement, here is her present address.

 

Mrs. Hannah Ruth Overton
TDCJ#01478117
1916 North Highway 36 Bypass
Gatesville, Texas 76596

You may be thinking what I thought when I first learned about Hannah - that everyone convicted of a crime says, "I am innocent." Read Hannah's letters and decide for yourself!

Update December 8, 2014

 

Hopefully, Hannah will get bail on the 16th, and be able to go home for Christmas. She is still in the Corpus Christi jail in solitary confinement, even though the Justices declared her to be relieved of the Murder, life in Prison, charge. Please pray she will be able to go home to her husband Larry and their five children. It has been over 5 years since she was unjustly charged. Much has been accomplished for the kingdom of God, through Hannah's witness while in prison. "It is not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God. 2 Corinthians 3:5.

Update November 12, 2014

I am receiving personal letters from Hannah. She is now in the Corpus Christi County Jail, awaiting bond hearing that we trust will let her get out and go home.
I still appears that she will be retried for murder. Please pray for Hannah as she is in lock-down, in a cell all by herself. She misses her dear friends "behind the fences" back in prison in Gatesville, Texas. Hannah has discipled many women and many have trusted Christ as their Savior through her continual studies through the years. Before leaving Gatesville, the Lord raised up another woman to take over Hannah's ministry there. Her name is Sammi. Please pray for her as well, also for those remaining in prison that they will not be discouraged or lose hope because Hannah is no longer there. Also continue to pray for Hannah's husband Larry, and their 5 children. Pray that the District Attorney will drop the case and that Hannah will not have to endure another trial.

 

Letter from John Otis, Pastor 10-19-2014
Brethren,

 

Larry Overton posted on his facebook page breaking news that the present District Attorney in Corpus Christi announced Saturday evening that they are going to retry Hannah on the original murder charges.  I find this incredible in one sense, but then there are political forces in Corpus Christi apparently who have much at stake.  Instead of doing the righteous thing in light of the overturning of the original verdict by dismissing the charges, the Corpus Christi DA I suppose doesn’t want others to think he is weak.  Who knows?  But one thing is for certain, my prayers now will be that the Lord of heaven and earth will see this travesty of justice and bring down those intent on persecuting Hannah.

 

I do not know what this exactly means for the bond hearing of Hannah, but I think she may be able to set bail, but who knows?  The local judge who will hear the bond request may decide that Hannah cannot get bail.  I have no idea.

 

I cannot begin to describe to you my feelings about all of this, but only that I will beg our Lord to bring down forces against Hannah and exalt her in this new trial.  May the Lord confound the unrighteous, may He bring confusion to their attempts to try to convict Hannah of capital murder and may our Lord empower whoever the defense team for Hannah will be this time to have great success in showing Hannah’s innocence.I would think anyone who wants to should send a letter to the Corpus Christi DA expressing our moral outrage at his decision.  I don’t see how Hannah can get a fair trial in Corpus.  They need to move the trial to another town in Texas.  Who doesn’t know about this case in Corpus by now?  And seeing the incompetence of jurors from that city the first time, it needs to be elsewhere.

 

I pray there will be a national outrage over the DA’s decision to go after Hannah.Yes, God is sovereign, and I have no idea what He is doing in this, but I pray that wickedness be exposed and Hannah vindicated.

 

ABC news gave the following news brief about this.  You can read it at:  http://abcnews.go.com/2020/mother-convicted-killing-son-face-capital-murder-trial/story?id=26307165

More prayers are needed on Hannah’s behalf.

Pastor Otis

October 10 2014

Email from Pastor John Otis
Brethren,

 

The Corpus Christi Caller Times just ran this article you can read at  http://www.caller.com/news/local-news/crime/overton-denied-early-release_53773743.

 

Hannah’s request for an early bail has been denied for some reason. Hannah’s lawyer does not know yet why.  This doesn’t mean it will never be granted but not soon.  More details are supposedly coming out this coming Monday.

 

This is why we need to keep praying.

October 8, 2014

Brethren,  Hannah’s uncle passed on this news about Hannah.  Keep praying that the bail will be set soon and that the District Attorney will drop all charges, knowing they have no case at all on anything.  Here is what Mark Applelodge sent out:

Passing this on from my stepsister Lucy’s FB post for your encouragement:

 

Just got a letter from Hannah! She says it's been a whirlwind since the news about the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision came, and that she can hardly concentrate to get anything done there.

 

She asked me to pass along that she's receiving so much mail she can't keep up with it and she will write or talk with everyone in person or by phone eventually. She expects she won't have time to contact everyone before she is HOME! (she underlines that). She is trying to focus her last few days on spending time with the friends she is leaving. She said all are SO excited for her but also it's hard to say "see ya later." So often, she says, people leave and they forget and so her friends are scared they will never hear from her.

 

(Knowing Hannah, she will not be one of those who forgets these women, many of whom she's told me are "such good people.") She concludes by saying "God is SO faithful! Looking forward to His good plans!" She thanks me and everyone for all that's been done and all that will be done. She says can't wait to give me a big hug. (Needless to say, the feeling is mutual.) No specifics about when she'll be out, however! I don't expect to know until I know -- like I think it will happen all of a sudden.
 

Everyone that has ever uttered a prayer for Hannah, sent kind thoughts, signed a petition or sent a letter, or even given her the benefit of the doubt and been willing to hear new information about her case has been part of this and continues to be. May we all continue to do God's work and be champions for justice.

 

To God be the glory for all the lives that have been changed through this ordeal.
Mark

September 17, 2014

For this we have prayed .......
Below is letter from PASTOR JOHN OTIS
regarding the Hannah's "relief from conviction of life in prison without parole."

 

Please continue to pray for Hannah that, if it pleased God, that she would be released soon and get to go home to her husband, Larry and their five children.

Brethren, (From Pastor Otis)

 

It is with tears of great joy that I can inform you that today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted Hannah Overton relief from her conviction of life in prison without parole.  The court has ordered a new trial for Hannah.  The date for this trial is presently unknown.  We do not know if Hannah will be bonded out in the meantime.  I will keep you posted as details come in.

 

Hannah’s aunt, Lucy Frost, accessed the registry today learning of the court’s decision.  If you want to read the court’s opinion and why they granted relief you can go to:  http://www.search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia.aspx?MediaVersionID=4c1752cd-4f86-4180-a5b8-f78da4bcebbd&coa=coscca&DT=OPINION&MediaID=71d7142e-73dc-4be3-9a4f-fa81a5f1803b.

 

As you read the majority opinion (I think it was a 7-2 ruling in favor of Hannah if I count correctly), the court granted relief on the basis of ineffective counsel mainly in the defense’s failure to use the salt poisoning expert, Dr. Moritz’s deposition.  The Court of Appeals concluded that Dr. Moritz’s expert testimony would have completely undermined the state’s case against Hannah.  Because the court granted relief on this basis alone, it did not need to give its opinion on the state withholding exculpatory evidence (meaning evidence in Hannah’s favor), which would have granted Hannah relief also.

 

Other than overturning the verdict immediately, this is wonderful news because the evidence for Hannah’s innocence is overwhelming.  Hannah’s appeals lawyer, Cynthia Orr, who is one of the best defense lawyers in the country will most assuredly leave no stone unturned in this new trial.  I and others have believed that if granted a new trial it would be a “slam dunk” victory for Hannah.

 

It has been exactly 7 long painful years since Hannah’s conviction and sentencing of life without parole, which was one of the worse travesties of justice that I have ever known.  Many of us have prayed almost daily for 7 years for this day.  There were some very dark times several years ago, but we kept on praying believing that Hannah’s God would hear from heaven and give her justice.

 

I will never forget Hannah telling me personally while she was in county jail why she turned down several plea bargains offered to her.  Hannah told me, “Pastor, how would it be honoring to Jesus to confess to something I did not do.  I will trust my life into the hands of my God.”  I personally witnessed Hannah’s abiding faith in Jesus.  I left that day determined to do everything in my power to see Hannah freed.  I knew then that I was speaking to an extraordinary Christian.  I have rarely witnessed such faith in one’s savior.  I have believed all these years that one day our precious Lord would exonerate Hannah before the world and bring down her enemies.  We are beginning to see that reality in this granting of a new trial.

 

When Hannah was sentenced to life without parole, the judge asked Hannah if there was anything she wanted to say.  Hannah said, “I pray that one day my God will grant me justice.”  She asked for justice not mercy, knowing she was innocent.  Then the cameras showed her being taken away with her ankles in chains.  All I could think about was Joseph in Egypt.  Brethren, there is no better place in the whole universe than in the loving hands of our God!  No matter how dark the clouds, no matter how hopeless everything may seem, we keep trusting in our God.  His lovingkindness is from everlasting to everlasting.

 

Hannah’s God has held her in His loving arms all these years as if He were saying to her – “It will all be okay, just keep trusting, just keep on serving me, and you will see the power of your God.”  We serve a magnificent God, a God worthy of our awe and worship, a God whose love exceeds all things.

 

All of you read Luke 18:1-8 in Jesus’ exhortation to persevering prayer.  One might ask, “Is 7 years a granting of justice speedily for Hannah?”  Let’s not forget that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day.  We cannot dictate to God a timetable.  He will often grant our believing prayers in His will in His due time that brings the most glory to His name and the most benefit to us.  Hannah has been mightily used of the Lord in state prison to reach many women for Christ.  All these years, Hannah’s God never forgot her!!

 

May the new trial demonstrate to the world the ungodliness of those who will circumvent justice for their own gain.  The evidence for Hannah’s innocence as I said is overwhelming.  Let’s pray that the city of Corpus Christi decides not to even bother to retry her knowing their case is unwinnable.

 

May we rejoice with Hannah, Hannah’s husband Larry and all their children and extended family.  This is surely a great day!
 

Blessings,
Pastor John Otis

Hannah's Letter July 15, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


Throughout the years of being incarcerated, I've had many ask questions. Some questions are not of curiosity of what prison is like and others are more about the ladies around me. God continually opens my eyes to how much He is and does use me. He also endlessly places in my heart the need for ministry to be intentional. In order for this to happen, I also need prayers to be intentional along with help from my fellow ambassadors. In keeping this in mind, this letter is going to be a bit different. Different because I am going to try to share these women's hearts and a bit more of what ministry is like on the inside daily.

 

We've been made out as vicious criminals who heinously committed crimes. The ridicules and judgments amongst the public are monumental. The gossip and slurs rip our characters apart. Upon the conviction in the court, the media is quick to boast, "We are being locked away!" Yet, I have to ask, what does locking away change? Jeremiah 13:33 says, "If the Ethiopian could change his color or if a leopard could change his spots; maybe you whore accustomed to doing evil could do good." If people could change their very nature would have  a chance! But as it si, the harsh negativity in the prison system becomes a breeding ground for evil. Yet, it is not just this system needing an overhaul.

 

All the human resources we can muster will soon fail if we fail to factor in Jesus. The need is for a new heart, a new birth, a new beginning, a relationship with God. And it all begins with faith and Jesus. As Titus 3:3-6 says, "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lives in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.

 

Behind the high fences topped with razor wire is another world. There is much to learn. Most believe what happens here stays here, and detach themselves from all that is real and all that matters. Many choose to be blind wandering lost to reality. Reality is too much to bear,  therefore darkness consumes.
 

The rules here are in excess, the interpretations change as quick as the weather. It does not matter whose rule it is, the officer's or the offender's. Adaptation is a must! The number one rule for us is, "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil." To break this rule, well, "snitches get stitches." It does not take long inside to fill many nights with nightmares. It's hard when the officers will ask for help, but 5 minutes later will write you a disciplinary case for the very same thing. This is knows as cross-action and it happens many times a day. This causes a numbing to develop more and more out of preservation. Colossians 3:15 says, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . . " Without Him it is impossible not to become hard and bitter given the so-called rules.

 

When you are immersed into the heart of society's rejected, it can dull your emotional connections. I suppose, it is only natural, one slowly dulls emotionally, an inborn coping device allowing one to deal with her own problems without being overwhelmed by others. Detaching from reality gradually causes each person to build themselves into roles. Roles each feels she needs to be. No one is truly as she seems because walls are high and masks cover the truth. Not only is this done for protection but it is also done to find her place in the clicks, gangs, and so-called "families" in this place. Tomboys are often referred to as 'he' and older women as 'grannies.' The 'families' develop according to the personalities with: mom, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles. Each plays her part. Frequently "funny" relationships of, "wives" develop causing chaos. Masks ring true to the "Be all you can be" in prison.

 

The poor come from money, and the educated from the street-life, dumbing-down to become part of the 'game.' The game calls out, 'come one, come all.'

 

For all are lonely, wounded,yearning for love and acceptance. People have different ways of protecting themselves. Some will protect their vulnerability with a smile. While others,like a hedgehog, will make their soft belly invisible and expose to this threatening world a back full of spikes. Both can help you cope when life seems more than you can face. But this protection has drawbacks when you are wounded. The hedgehog is wise to bristle under attack, but sooner or later she must uncurl to let someone dress and heal her wound.The one who hides her vulnerability with a smile or a mask is not protected from the wounds she already has. Sooner or later she has to lower her mask, to let the physician see and touch the sore place, if she wants to be healed. Psalm 147:3 says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

 

The world 'love' echoes repeatedly among the walls. Love is shouted, spoken,signed, and whispered all day every day, yet few really know what love is. Each hungers for love yearning for comfort in a desperate environment consumed with envy, strive and dissension. Women will go as far as to hide in the tight space under a bunk or in a toilet stall to have sex, searching for what they believe is love. Those who have money know no one come commissary time, yet those who do not have are willing to claim undying love to anyone who will provide. (It is illegal to share as it violates a TDCJ written/posted rule, but it must be done daily covertly for survival). The distortions of love degenerate all it should be. When what is sought breaks the heart of those who look beyond the masks. Isaiah 61:1 Says;" The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has set me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners . . . "

 

At the beginning, most receive lots of letters. In no time at all, the letters decrease and the feeling that no one cares grows. The one family member or friend who has stuck by has not written in a long time. Then the dreaded letter arrives he or she has passed away. There is no one left to truly care. Her kids, where are they? Can or will anybody tell her. "It's too hard or no time," they say. Should she make parole, where will she go? Home - no one is there . . . She feels further forgotten. What did I do that was so gad I was forsaken, why God? She cries. Psalm 27:10 says, "Thought my father and mother forsake me the Lord will receive me and in Isaiah 49:9,14-16 the Lord says, "To say to the captives come out and to those in darkness be free! . . .  But they say the Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me. Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she had born? Though she may forget, I will never forget you! See, I've engraved you on the palms of my hands, your walls are ever before me."

 

The chapel often hosts guest to speak. Most guest repeat their visits every four to six weeks. More often than not the visitors tend to repeat their programs as if coming for the first time. If only they would teach more and disciple in His word. So many are hungry for more but most ministries get caught up in one message. "Repent and get saved," they say. What is next?There is much more to a relationship with Jesus. The Bible can be foreign and Greek to many who want and need more of His love, but just do not understand. This leaves many feeling no one cares  - it is all for the show.  They wonder if the Bible is true. If it is, what is next? Sadly, they fall back into old patterns. Zech. 10:2 says," The idols speak deceit, the diviner see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false,they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd."

 

I know that this may nave been hard for some to read. I pray that our Lord will help you see my heart in this letter. One thing I've learned that are no solutions. No easy answers to other people's tragedies. We can only be there. It is Jesus they need.He is the answer. This He offers freely. It is when people find their way to Him that the pain of life becomes not the pain of death but of birth, a thing of hope.

 

I pray everyone is having a blessed summer. I have been blessed in that the summer heat has not been in the triple digits as of yet. Please pray this continues. We do not have air conditioning making the heat difficult to bear. My family is doing good. Larry is teaching for Pastor Rod this week and also at youth camp soon. Die to this, he will stay home this week to study. I will be blessed by a visit from my mom and step dad. My kids are enjoying their summer. They've been swimming a lot. They also have been working on some extra studies for school. This way they will be better prepared for the fall when school begins again.

 

The courts are on vacation until September, to my knowledge. Please keep us in prayer as we wait on God's perfect timing. Pray that we will be intentional each day to as my grandmother used to say, "Bloom, where we are planted. Pray for these women here in prison that they will grow in His love!

 

In His Hands,
Hannah Ruth Overton

Dear reader, please pray for Hannah as she teaches the Book of Acts to the women there in the prison. Also, please pray for Hannah's release. This is the 7th year since she was sent to prison for a crime she did not commit.  God is using her greatly to lead women to the Lord and to disciple them in His Word. Hannah had 5 children and a husband at home. Pray for Larry and the children.


Hannah would love to hear from you. See her address at the beginning of this link.

I have just posted Hannah's May 2014 letter below!

Note from me June 10th, 2014

Please pray that God will give Hannah favor with all nine justices of the Court of Appeals (See Genesis 39:21). A decision of five judges constitutes a verdict. Please pray that God would cause His Justice to prevail, and for injustice to be overcome by righteousness (Psalm 37:6). Thank you for your continued prayers. Also, continue to pray for Hannah's ministry in the Texas Prison. Pray for the girls who hear the gospel and for their children and families back home. Pray that God will be honored and glorified in every area.

 

 

 

Letter from Hannah  

May 2014

“The place God calls us to is the place where our deep gladness and the worlds deep hunger meet.” Fredrick Beuchner

“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free”
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Many people across this nation pray daily for the truth of my situation to bring forth my return to mychildren; setting me free from captivity. Today, after seven years, I’m amazed by the truth God has presented to me. My situation is about much more than my freedom from the injustice. While in prison, the mission field I’ve been blessed to serve, I strive to teach the truth of the freedom found in Christ. We are not called to save the world or even one person. Fact is Jesus does the saving. We’re called to love with abandon to enter into their suffering and love them as they are. How do you say Jesus loves you when he/she does not know true love? No matter what she does or believes I loveher unconditionally. How can I expect trust when all she knows is broken promises? I show her trust, by continually believing in and encouraging her by faithfully remaining by her side giving love. Only once she can grasp my love can I begin to tell her about our Savior Who loves us even more. It is sometimes a battle to knock down walls, but truth is “love never fails.” 1 Cor.13:8, the truth is in Christ each and every one of us is loved. Each is valuable. None will be left orphans and all have a future and a hope. What a beautiful truth! I inspire to make this truth tangible to each whose path I cross…

 

Let me introduce you to my friend, Lucy:
The truth is at six years of age, I was left to clothe and feed my baby brother all day. By nine years of age, I was sent back and forth across the TX.-Mexico border in the Rio Grande River. There were often guns firing over my head. My cargo was drugs. I had no choice in the matter. By the time I was nineteen years old, I was framed for a murder here in USA. Not knowing any English (language) I couldn’t fight it, nor did I understand… “Why was I being put in prison?” Today I’m 47 years old, speaking broken English and trust very few. The truth is no one told her they loved her, nor showed her what true love is. In reality, she is the same as you and I, a beautiful women uniquely made by God.

 

Let me introduce you to my friend Jackie:
Born into a family where drugs ruled; my mother’s only love. By the time, I turned ten my father had died and I was running the streets, selling drugs, and taking care of my mother and brother. At twelve I left home tired of my mom’s boyfriend’s visits to my room. I found solace in what I thought was love—a white supremacy gang. Sadly, this gang gave me more love than I had known, but this love proves untrue. Beaten close to death by members, I find myself further lost. By the time I was of age I began to come to prison; repeating this cycle not knowing anyway different. What I was taught was loyalty not love and even this so called loyalty has its limits. The truth is no one told her they loved her and showed her what true love is. In reality, she is the same as you and I, a beautiful woman uniquely made by God.

 

Let me introduce you to my friend Angela:
I was born into an African-American family, but by the time I was twelve my mom had practically given me to a Caucasian family. My mom had “worked” for this family for years. As a teen I stayed confused searching for love everywhere wishing to fit it and belong. Around sixteen I met a man who said he loved me and gave me everything I wanted or so I thought. I would awake to find a note written in lipstick on the mirror. The note said, “All money is not good money-I have AIDS and now you do too” My world further crushed when I tested positive! I turned to drugs and would soon end up in prison. The truth is no one told her they loved her, or showed her what true love is. In reality she is the same as you and I, a beautiful woman uniquely made by God.

 

 
Let me introduce you to my friend Angela:
I was born into an African-American family, but by the time I was twelve my mom had practically given me to a Caucasian family. My mom had “worked” for this family for years. As a teen I stayed confused searching for love everywhere wishing to fit it and belong. Around sixteen I met a man who said he loved me and gave me everything I wanted or so I thought. I would awake to find a note written in lipstick on the mirror. The note said, “All money is not good money-I have AIDS and now you do too” My world further crushed when I tested positive! I turned to drugs and would soon end up in prison. The truth is no one told her they loved her, or showed her what true love is. In reality she is the same as you and I, a beautiful woman uniquely made by God.

This is only three of my friends and their stories. A small fraction of many I could tell. I am touched that God would place me in each of their paths, given me the opportunity to do something to help them heal their brokenness. God giving me the freedom to believe has allowed me to teach His love. Since I know His love I am responsible to show His love in all I do and am. For the truth is found in Christ and His love for each and every one of us. Often I am asked if I could change the events which have happened in my life causing my incarceration, would I? Would I still choose to adopt Andrew? The answer should be obvious to most the blessings far outweigh the pain. People also ask if I will ever adopt again. Each new friend is an adoption. Every day I see God’s heart in adoption. Romans 8:15 says, “You did not receive the bondage of fear, but the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out Abba Father. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” He adopted me—and you. Adoption is a redemptive response to the tragedy of this broken world.

Adoption means acceptance and unconditional love. God loves me as I am and yearns for me to do the same with Him as well as others. In doing so, I find and give freedom.
Everyday we have a choice. We can stay in our comfy zones and allow fear to cripple us, or we can change someone’s world. When I began to understand this truth, it was as if two worlds I lived in began to merge. I discovered how great a love can bridge. We don’t live in different worlds we have the same needs, hungers, and longings. People are people. We all need food and water but most importantly we need Jesus’ love. Psalm68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families.” This is His heart—the more I give His love, the more He fills me up with love to give to set the broken free. Even in the midst of my confinement I’ve been blessed with friendships I wouldn’t have developed before. I’ve loved and watched God infiltrate the highest and hardest walls. He chose me, He chose you simple broken people with an extraordinary task. It is in our weakness that He is strong. For instance, God used Peter who continuously made mistakes, yet Peter walked on water. God also chose Paul whose life goal was to destroy believers. He was violent and feared by most, but God used him to write half of the New Testament.

It has been amazing to be a part of many coming to desire and find the truth and freedom of Christ’s love. Each time I adopt another woman into my heart, my heart grows bigger, His love filling me more than before. I’m not always able to reach or help all come to our Savior and find His freedom, but I’m not alone. You, my friend, may be the one to make a difference in her life. It’s such an amazing feeling to open your heart without inhibitions sharing His love. I’ve learned my heart lives in many places with many people, but God whispers to me, “My home is with Him.” Even when I’m free from TDCJ, I’ll discover my heart will long for those left behind. I was created to love with abandon and the truth is the only real freedom. Someday we will all be together forever with our adopted family in heaven.
I hope this letter finds each of you doing good and falling more in love with Jesus every day. The last letter went out in two parts. I’ve come to believe that there are no accidents though. God’s timing is perfect all the time. This last month has continued the adventure our unit passed the compliance inspection, thank God. Had the unit failed things would be difficult for us as blame would fall on all.

Within days of the inspection we began our bi-annual unit lock down. Lock down includes the shutdown of most unit operations leaving only those completely necessary. All movement is escorted and each dorm packs up all belongings state issued and personal and carries them to the gym. In the gym said property is searched one by one as we also are stripped and searched. While we are at the gym, officers also come into the dorm and search high and low for contrabands. This is done in hopes of finding major contrabands (drugs, weapons).
Throughout the years the care of our property has warned officers are known to tear pictures, throw appliances or explode soda cans over all of the property. Several of my friends came back this time with broken appliances (radios mostly). These are not easy to replace as they are costly but needed. The officer who is searching can deem what is trash or of value. This often results in sentimentals being lost or thrown away, perhaps a card from a grandmother who has passed away. Once it has been deemed trash by the officer, items must be thrown away or a disciplinary case is written for “contraband” This as you can imagine is a very stressful time. In the middle of this lockdown I came down with a bacterial infection. This gave me a fever and the medication had my tummy all messed up. No fun, but I made it through it all by the grace of God.

The oral arguments in court went well. I believe the article from the Texas monthly was included with my last letter. Once again we wait. However it is election year and we pray the justices will not pass the buck. I know God has good plans and I trust Him with all each day. My family is doing well. Children truly grow as fast as wild flowers. Each child continues to grow and expand his/her academic knowledge as well as growing in our Lord. I’m so proud of them but every time I turn around I feel old, I blinkedJ I hope everyone had a blessed Easter. My kids are now counting the days until summer. How quickly the seasons pass. Without AC here we don’t look forward to the extreme heat. But, to me, it’s better than the cold.
The bible study has been such a blessing. It’s so cool to watch God work. I’m honored that He chose to allow me to be a part. Please keep my friend Sunni whom I’ve shared about before in your prayers. Her thyroid levels became extremely low causing her to have a cough for weeks with lots of seizures; her seizures are caused by a hormonal imbalance. During one day of multiple hours of seizures she suffered a concussion and another minor stroke. She is recovering slowly but could use lots of prayers. Please keep each of these women I’ve shared with you in prayer. Thank you for each prayer prayed for my family and for these women.
God has blessed me, you are all a blessing,
In His hands, Hannah

************

If you would like to read an article from the Texas Monthly Magazine about the hearing before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals regarding Hannah, you can read it at:

http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/hannah-overtons-day-court#.U0Se42RPuEQ.email.

Hannah's Latest Letter March 26, 2014, written from prison, before the oral arguments noted in the April 2, 2014 note below.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

I hope this finds all of you well and falling more in love with Jesus, our Savior, daily. It has been a busy month as our attorneys prepare for oral arguments on April 2nd.

 

I had quite an adventure this month. I stubbed my toe and got a metal chip/shaving under my toenail, deeply. It caused an infection which led to the procedure of part of my toenail being removed.

 

Matters have been tense on the unit due to an upcoming inspection. Compliance has been a haunting nightmare. An ink pen left on the table can get you in trouble. Hopefully by the end of April this will be over and things will calm down. The Bible study has been delayed but we hope to begin this week. The ladies here are very eager to begin, and I believe this is going to be a fun and exciting study in which we all grow a lot.

 

Please continue to pray for us as we wait on God's perfect timing and trust in His perfect love. Pray for these women here to trust in our Savior's love and allow Him to turn their mourning to dancing. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. You are a blessing!

 

In His hands, Hannah

 

Ephesians 3:16-18, "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."

Brethren,        (April 2, 2014)

 

The oral arguments in support of Hannah’s defense concluded today.  As you can read below in Hannah’s uncle’s note, the waiting continues but for not as long.  According to the Texas constitution, the court of appeals consists of 9 justices.  A decision of five judges constitutes a verdict.  They have 60 days to render a decision.

 

Here is Hannah’s uncle’s report of today’s proceedings:

 

Thank you prayer warriors for all your prayers.
The Oral Arguments for Hannah’s case went well today.
Now we are back in the waiting game.
The normal time frame before we hear a decision is 60 days.
Eight of the nine Justices were present today.
Please pray that God will give Hannah favor with all nine justices as some of them will begin writing there decisions soon. (Gen. 39:21)


Please pray that God would cause His Justice to prevail, and for injustice to be overcome by righteousness. (Psalms 37:6)
We will keep you informed as anything else comes up.
Again thank you for continued prayers.

 

Trusting in the ever faithful One,
Mark Applewhite

 

Brethren,   (Early Morning EMail from Pastor John Otis on April 2, 2014
 

Today is the big day for the Texas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments from Hannah’s lawyers as to why her conviction was a miscarriage of justice.  For nearly 7 years I have begged God to give this godly woman justice.  May today be the beginning of Hannah’s deliverance.  Regarding prayer, we must earnestly petition our sovereign Lord to open the ears and eyes of these judges to see the truth of Hannah’s innocence.

 

Here is what Hannah’s pastor, Rod Carver, posted yesterday on Facebook about the hearing today.


 Hannah’s hearing is on Wednesday morning April 2nd. We have been meeting an hour after church weekly for the last month to specifically pray for the Oral Arguments before the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin. We want to see a worldwide prayer effort on her behalf, see her released and have God get the glory. If you would, please spend a minute this Sunday in your services lifting up this event. Many of your missionaries have contacted us as well and are praying so if you could pass it along. Many woman’s fellowships have also compassionately supported her so they will want to know. Some may want to pray Wednesday morning sometime between 8-10 central time live, we are third on the docket. This is the first hearing outside of Corpus, the first real untainted opportunity to clear her. She has been in prison almost 7 years with 5 children at home. Her oldest was 8 and is now 15. Her breast feeding infant at the time is now over 7 years old and has not been allowed to touch her mother in all this time. There will only be a few in the court. We will be low key and dressed to the t. But we want to have a rally before the throne of God to help in this time of need. Thanks for being a part of the solution

Brethren,
 
I just had to pass this little note along.  On Facebook, Larry Overton, Hannah's husband, made this short but powerful comment after seeing Hannah on one of his regular visits.  Today, Larry posted the following:
 
"I got stopped by a guard today when I was leaving from seeing Hannah that wanted to tell me that God was using my wife in there and that they loved her. No mater if you know something it is all ways nice to hear it."

 

What a wonderful and powerful testimony!  The Lord put Hannah in prison for a purpose to magnify His glorious name.  Her incarceration, on a human level, is a true travesty of justice.  But our great God knows what is best to bring glory to His name and a blessing to us.

 

Hannah's story is a story of the inexplicable love of God.  Yes, I mean the love of God.  Even in miscarriages of justice, God's majesty and love can be shown.  Is not Hannah's ministry in prison a testimony of the love of God to all those women that Hannah has been able to minister to and lead to Christ?  Has not God demonstrated His love to Hannah by allowing her to know that  thousands and thousands of prayers have been offered up to our Lord on her behalf?  Is it not the love of God towards Hannah and Christians all over the world to see God enabling one of His children to be such a godly example in the face of such an incredible trial?  All things do work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

 

While Hannah is being used mightily in prison, we do need to be diligent in prayer for her deliverance, so that, in the end, God can be praised even further by His release of her.  These nine judges of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will decide her fate on a human level, but really, they are but mere pawns in the hands of a mighty God who does as Proverbs 21:1 states - "The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes."

 

For six years, I have begged God for His merciful deliverance of Hannah, and I won't stop until I see her as a free woman.

 

Blessings,

 

Pastor Otis

Letter from Hannah August 2013:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

In the prison here, women often tell me the sinful things they do are just a distraction to numb their pain. These poor women, as are so many others, are tossed about like waves in a sea of anguish. They are holding on to each other for dear life, yet only finding more hurt in those relationships. I watch them struggling, fighting for a sense of love and acceptance. They believe if they spend their day seeking pleasure eventually they'll find it. In Ecclesiastes 2:1,10-11, Solomon says, "I said to myself, 'Come now, I will test you with pleasure.' All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun."

 

After nearly six years locked away with society's rejects, one thing I've seen is that rules will be broken and change cannot occur from the outside in. Like an infected sore, it does not heal properly or fully by just being cleaned or covered up by a band-aid. It also needs an antibiotic because the problem has become internal, taking root in their life. In this case, Jesus' love is the only true healer. Psalms 136 says "...His love endures, forever..." People need to know they're loved and accepted before they will come to let walls down. If we as believers desire to be used by God to break down these walls, we need to learn to love in any circumstance and in any environment. Jesus said in John 13:35, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another." Love demonstrated is irresistible and hard to deny. At times we as believers lose our perspective. It's too easy to adapt to this 'Me Generation" and think only of ourselves, segregating from those who are lost and in need of the Lord Jesus Christ. We miss the fact that they're frantically looking to fill a void no one or thing could ever fill. Often repulsed by their actions,we do not want to reach out and show them the way. As believers we're compelled to show Christ's love and He ministers to us and through us. 

 

 May 29, 2013

 

"If I have not the patience of my Savior with souls who grow slowly; if I know little of travail (patience with one's weakness) 'til Christ be fully formed in them, then I know nothing of Calvary love,"
Amy Carmichael

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

When I first came to TDCJ  my picture was taken and I was given an ID card. When I look at this card it has the word "offender" written across it in Big Red letters. As silly as this may seem after all I have been through, I have been offended for having to use this card as my form of identification. In my struggle with this, God brought me to Matthew 11:6, where Jesus sends word to John the Baptist, "Blessed is he (She) who is not offended because of Me." John in this passage was in prison and he was questioning God because he had not saved the day. Basically Jesus was trying to say that He had a greater purpose. God used this to show me not only the obvious, that I could trust His heart even when I didn't understand His plan, but also to remind me, it is not all about me. Although I have done nothing to offend the justice system, I continually am an offender saved by grace. Even the struggle with my ID card is the struggle with the sin of pride. Scripture says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Who am I to say, I am not an offender. To boast I am a sinner could be viewed shamefully but He reminds us we are all merely sinners and His is our Savior.

 

The other day I sat at a table with three other women doing a study called, "Respectable Sins" it is about the sins we commit daily and yet excuse.  One of these women had committed murder, another theft, and the other multiple DWI's. As I looked around it occurred to me that no matter the offense, we are all saved by the saving grace. Isn't His grace amazing? In Luke 7:36-48 it says, "Then one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with them and He went to the Pharisees house. He sat down to eat and behold a woman in the city, what was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisees house brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil and stood at His feet behind Him weeping. She began to wash His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair and she kissed His feet and anointed them with fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this he spoke to himself saying, 'this man if He were really a prophet would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, she is a sinner.' Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon I have something to say to you, 'so Simon said, Teacher say it. 'There was a certain creditor who had two debtors, one owed 500 denarius the other 50, and when they had nothing to which to repay he freely forgave them both. Tell me therefore which of them will love Him more?" Simon answered, "I suppose the one who gave more." And He said to him, "you have judged rightly."
 

How often do we have the attitude of this Pharisee? We spend all day comparing one another. In the prison here, comparisons range from crime, to race, to money, to the show represented by who you are with and what you do, however; what sdddens me even more is those of us whom are saved yet look down upon the lost or the young in Christ, as if we never offended our Savior with our actions. As I look at Scripture I notice that this very offense is spoken about more often by our Savior and reprimanded more harshly than the ones we are so quick to judge. There is a quote in this study that I think it would do us all good to memorize. it says, "My memory is nearly gone but I remember two things; that I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior." John Newton.

 

I have been doing okay. We have come through a difficult couple of months. With a lockdown, water problems, electrical,plumbing, weather, migraines (me) and seizures )2 of my friends), but God is so good. In the midst of all of this He continues to work. It is so cool to watch as He works in these women's lives. Sometimes it feels like nothing will ever change. It's then that He shows me how He is beginning to soften a heart and change a life. Please continue to pray for my family. We are all anxiously hoping to hear good news from the courts soon. God's timing is perfect and His plans are good. So we will trust Him and say as the Psalmist does in Psalm 31:14-15a, "As for me I trust in You, O Lord. I say, You're my God, my times are in Your hands." Pray that I can be a vessel useful to My Maker.


In His Hands,


Hannah

Letter from Hannah written 5-13-12
~ "Because You have been my help, Therefore, in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice!" PS.63:7

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

As I head back to Lane Murray [prison] unit to await the decision of the court, after my hearing, I am so grateful for all God has done! Phil. 4: 19 says "and my God shall supply all my needs according to His riches and glory." I remember at the beginning of all of this being scared to death. I asked my pastor, "How are we going to pay for all of this?" He told me, "Your daddy owns the cattle on 1000 hills and He will provide." When I look back now at how He's provided I'm in awe! Even my pastor has told me throughout this how He stands amazed to watch how God not only provides, but provides the best as we trust in Him.

 

 

At this hearing all of my previous attorney's, which ended up being 7 in all - mostly pro bono, were stiII involved in my defense. On top of that I had a team of some of the best appellate attorneys. Each attorney involved is amazing and each one God provided from His 'Cattle on a 1000 hills'.

 

 

The expert witnesses God provided to come and explain the medical science proving my innocence, were some of the world's most renowned doctors on the subject at hand. God also provided every penny needed to accurately present my case. Psalms 54:4 says "Behold, God is my helper. The Lord is with those who uphold my life." One of the most comforting things throughout this hearing was to watch as my attorneys trusted in the Lord for guidance each day. As 2 Chronicles 20:15b says, "Thus the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or dismayed because of this great multitude for the battle is not yours but Gods!"

 

 

My attorneys knew that it was in God's strength that they fight for my innocence.

 

One of my attorney's, who I didn't meet until the 1st day of my hearing, told me that God had called him to defend the innocent. He said his free time spent on my defense team was like a mission trip for him, even when the hearing lasted days longer than planned, cutting into other paying cases time, each of my attorneys still were happy to stay as long as needed and help in any way God saw fit.

 

 

The prayer that King Asa prayed in 2 Chronicles 14:11 expresses well our prayers during this hearing. "Lord it is nothing for You to help whether with many or with those who have no power. Help us 0 Lord our God for we rest on You and in Your name we go against this multitude. 0 Lord You are our God, do not let man prevail against You!"

 

 

The prayer support all over the world was amazing! I was surrounded by peace even in the midst of chaos. Zephaniah 3:5 says "The Lord is righteous in her midst. He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings Justice to light. He never fails, but the unjust know no shame." My attorneys did a wonderful job of presenting the evidence to prove my innocence and remarkably even in Corpus Christi where I was "crucified" in the media during my trial and before, the truth was being fully brought to light. Throughout the trial one of the news stations ran a poll and by the end of the hearing I believe 85% said I deserved relief. But the state fought to cloud the issues with confusing testimony and the original medical examiner (who is a lot less studied in this area of medical science than our experts) stating the same old accusations. But even he conceded to reIook at the case after he was presented with many case studies on the topic. Proverbs 21:31 says, "The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord."

 

 

If those of you who are reading this aren't able to follow the hearing and would like more details 20/20 will be doing an update, as will Texas Monthly Magazine. ABC news and all of the Corpus Christi stations and papers did stories daily even offering a live feed for those wanting to be there, but unable to attend.

 

 

Unfortunately, since this is a highly medical case, much of the testimony was as well, and some got confused by the media, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that God is working!

 

 

Proverbs 29:26 says, "Many seek a rulers favor but justice comes from the Lord" and Proverbs 8: 15 says, "By Me kings reign and decree justice." As we wait on the courts answer it's tempting to be anxious about what will be decided but Proverbs 29:25 says, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be safe."

 

 

Proverbs 21:1 says, "The kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water He turns it wherever He wishes." God's plans will prevail and He has good plans so I can rest secure in His arms. I know He won't keep me here [in prison] one day more than He has planned for good, and for His glory. My times are in His hands and in His perfect time He will prove my innocence. Lord willing, that will be now. I would love to be home to spend the summer with my family.

 

 

On May 6th my grandmother went home to Jesus. I was so looking forward to seeing her soon and took it pretty hard. I cried all day Sunday and Monday and then on Tuesday, early morning I was told to pack up, I was headed back to Lane Murry [prison]. I was hoping to possibly stay in the county jail until a decision was made and leave to go home from there. Even though I was in protective custody alone 24/7 I still had my mind set on that plan. But God had a different plan. Upon leaving Corpus Christi and going back to Lane Murray [prison] I was tempted to fall into a depression. With my grandmother's death, the unknown future, and the degradation involved in the intake process, it all seemed to be too much!

 

 

When one goes to prison from county, even on a bench warrant, there is an intake process that involves 2-3 facilities and a lot of procedures. I believe they are purposeful to tear one down and humiliate. As one of my friends, who recently went on a bench warrant to try to prove her innocence said. "It's like they think we are Charles Manson only he's got a lesser sentence." Part of this process is to take everything but your Bible and pictures and throw them away. While I was being escorted in hand cuffs, due to my charge, by 2 officers who made everyone else face the wall as I entered the room as if I was too hideous to be seen. I was reminded of the verse in Philippians 2:5-8 "Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus Who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made Himself no reputation taking the form of a bond servant and becoming in the likeness of man and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross!" Jesus felt what I did and more. He was paraded around as a horrible criminal and all by His choice for our salvation! Then I thought a lot of the story in Acts 5 when the disciples were on trial and Gamaliel said to let them go because verse 39, "If this is of God you cannot overthrow it lest you even be found to fight against God." Verse 40 says, "So, they departed from the presence of the counsel rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name." They were beaten before they were released. At that point my perspective changed. I know that God has a plan for my returning and I will trust Him. I was able to, as 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time. Casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you!"

 

 

Not that life has been easy this past week, while I was at the hearing in Corpus Christi, but God has carried me through and used me. I was not placed alone as usual at the intake facility, but with another woman with a murder charge. She was new and overwhelmed. She has a very sad story of how she unintentionally killed a man, a friend who then died in her arms. Due to her lifestyle she was told if she took it to trial she could end up with life. Instead she took a deal for 45 years, even though there was no intent. She was still grieving and hurt, mad at a God she doesn't know because He allowed this to happen. The next morning after being paraded in front of her friends from her county in hand cuffs, to go take her picture, she came back with tears in her eyes and asked how I could do this. I was then able to share with her the reason for the hope that is in me!

 

 

1Peter 3:13-17 ''Who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake you are blessed and do not be afraid of their threats nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason Ifor the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience that when they defame you as evil doers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." She is very sweet and we spent the next 3 days talking. I was able to share my story of God's faithfulness with her and help her to understand that often we can't understand God's plans, but we can always be sure that He loves us and is working for our good. On Friday night I was packed up to go to the next hold- over facility. She was sad to see me go and it was hard to leave her. She said that she knew God had brought me there so we could talk.

 

 

As I got on the bus to the next place I heard "Hannah, Hannah," two of my friends from Lane Murray were also on the bus returning from a hospital trip. I spent the next 3 hours telling them all God's done in the last month, and at the hearing. There were others listening and asking questions and we were able to share the
Lord with a woman from another unit who will now be ordering the next Bible study. She said she, and a group of friends, were thinking they wanted to start to study the Bible and not sure where to start. So God provided a way for them to start to grow in faith. God is so faithful.

 

 

As I write this I sit in the 2nd hold-over facility. It's Mother's Day and I think of what a wonderful gift from God and blessing my mom and my kids are and my grandmother was to me. I'm blessed to still have one grandmother alive. I hope to be able to be home with my mom and children soon. I place that hope in God's hands. "For I know in Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day!" 2 Tim. 1:12b

 

 

I am alone right now but eat my meals with the women from the bus.
Tomorrow I will either go to one more holding facility, or back to Lane Murray. Either way I know that God is taking care of every detail. Acts 17:26-27 says, "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their
dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him though He is not far from each one of us." I told a friend of mine who is not yet a believer that I would be her friend for life and hope and pray every day for eternity. I told her that if one person spends eternity in heaven because of this [being in prison], it's worth it. So many have made that decision. So, as I return to wait on an answer I hope to make the most of every opportunity and make every minute count until He says it's time to go home.

 

 

Please pray for our family as we wait on this answer. Pray for peace and for us not to worry but to trust fully in Him. Pray for the judges as they make this decision to know the truth and to decree justice! Pray for the women as we begin our next study. They should be about done with the last one as I return. Pray that they continue to grow in the Lord and to share Him with others. Pray for us to "run with endurance the race set before us looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God!" Hebrews 12:1.

In His Hands, Hannah

Philippians 1:12-14,19
"But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." "For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,"

Ephesians 3:20-12 "Not to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory."

 

 

I want to close with the words to a song that ran through my head through the entire week of the hearing, because He is worthy of all the glory!

 

 

Because of Who You are
Because of Who You are I give You glory
Because of Who You are I give You praise
Because of Who You are, I will lift my voice and say "Lord I worship You because of Who You are:

 

 

Jehovah Jirah - You are my provider

 

Jehovah Nissi - Lord, You reign in victory

 

Jehovah Shalom - You are my Prince of Peace

 

And I will worship You because of Who You are!"

Letter written by Hannah 6-15-2011

“Many seek a ruler’s favor but Justice is from the Lord” Proverbs 29:2b

Dear Brother’s and Sister’s in Christ,

 

As many of you already know the judge sent everything to Austin and did not recommend relief. This was not unexpected but still disappointing. The court of criminal appeals had to order him to hold this hearing and also ordered the entire record be sent to them for the decision. God is the one who will ultimately decide when I will be restored to my family. As I quoted in my last letter Proverbs 8:15 says, “By Me kings reign and rulers decree justice” As I heard the news I was hurt because I believe he knows the truth of my innocence.

 

 

I sat with some friends and cried a few minutes explaining to them that my tears weren’t in fear of it affecting the higher court, but in a more personal hurt. My God is so good. I then returned to my cubicle and turned on the radio. The 1st 2 songs that were playing were just for me. As I turned it on I hear, “Tell me once again who I am to you, that I belong to you. I’m the one you love” God’s got this. I’m His princess. The next song was a new one that was even more providential. It spoke of how people do things that are hurtful, but we need to forgive them all. God can give us the grace to do that. At that point I was able to rest in God’s timing. God’s not going to allow me to be here one more day, than He can use for our good and His glory! My 13 year old put on his face book, “I’m mad at the judge, but read Psalm 37.

 

 

“I’m so proud of how God is growing my children in His love!
I’ve received mail from so many I can’t keep up. I’d love to write everyone back personally but it’s impossible. I cherish each letter and it makes my day to read them. Thank you so much for writing and for all of your support. I’m writing this to let you all know how I treasure you even if I don’t write everyone.

 

 

God has placed me in a dorm with so many awesome ministry opportunities. It was so cool as I walked in to see how God has arranged where I’d be. A couple of women who I’d been able to show Christ’s love in years past came to me in tears because seeds planted were growing and they felt it was an answer to prayer they could now study the word with me. There are many who are beginning our study on Colossians. Something that was a wonderful surprise. I’m busy in study every day.
Pray that God uses it in many ways to touch these women. Pray that God uses me as He wants and I am a vessel of honor for His glory.

 

 

Another opportunity I’ve had is that the Lord has placed me in here with a good friend who suffers from a severe seizure disorder and an aneurism in her head. She has been having a lot of problems due to over medication and the heat. Unfortunately, the medical care available to us in not the best so, I’ve been in a position to help my friend and use the training God has provided for me. Please pray for Sunny. We know our great Physician is more than capable of taking care of her both physically and spiritually. Pray also for wisdom in how to best help her.

 

 

I had a wonderful visit with my family this weekend. I’m so blessed by my wonderful family. 20/20, ABC News interviewed with all of us this week, and the kids were all excited about that. I thank God that the media attention has not been a burden on them and know He is in control of how each interview plays out. The kids are also excited about summer break. They are going to continue TKO, Tae Kwando and Isaac will join in that. Emma is excited to be in ballet and swimming lessons. We are all anxious to see what God has planned. Psalms 94:19 says, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me your comforts delight my soul.” It’s so awesome to feel His comfort in the midst of what should for all intensive purposes have us on pins and needles. God gives us rest in His hands. Please continue to pray for the justices in Austin that their hearts would be open to the truth and they would decree justice! Pray for our family as we wait on the Lord. Isaiah 30:15 says, “In returning and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” As we rest in Him His grace is abundantly poured into our lives to hold us and give us strength to wait. And pray for the women in here that God continues to transform their lives, as they grow in Him.

 

 

Thank you again for all of your prayers and support looking forward to God’s amazing plans. He is Faithful!
In His Hands,
Hannah
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth”

      Contact Us

Ina Manly Painter
105 Center Park Dr., Suite 200


Knoxville, TN 37922

 

Fax: 865-862-6160

Email: hipainter@charter.net

Phone: 1-865-924-9620

 

Or use our contact form.

   Connect With Us

Recommend this page on: