Three years ago, Ruth was waiting for her kids at their school when a boy walked in front of her car. As soon as she saw him, she felt the Lord tell her, “Pray for him.” She said to the Lord, “I don’t even know him. What do I pray about?” His response to her was, “Just pray.” So Ruth did pray, for two years. She eventually found out this boy’s name was Jake and that he had been in a lot of trouble. She knew in her heart, though, that this boy was going to do great things for the Lord one day. She could feel it when she prayed and knew he would change the lives of those around him.
One night, after two years of praying for Jake, Ruth was watching the evening news and saw Jake’s mug shot on the television screen. He had been involved in a serious crime and was going to spend time in jail. Needless to say, Ruth’s heart sank. But all she could think was, “Does Jake know that Jesus loves him? Is anybody in that jail telling him?” Then she felt the Lord tell her, “You tell him.” So she said, “Okay, Lord, I will.” She wrote Jake a letter and told him that Jesus loved him regardless of what he had done or where he had been. Over the next six months, Ruth wrote Jake 75 letters. Each letter was about Christ’s love, forgiveness, and grace. Ruth wrote about her personal struggles and experiences, and also taught Jake about the Bible and how to read it.
All this time, Jake never knew who Ruth was. She didn’t include a return address on her initial letters, but one day she decided she was going to give him her address. Finally, Jake was able to write back. Jake told Ruth in his letter that when he was first in jail, he lost all hope. He didn’t think he could ever be forgiven by his family, his church, or even God. But when he received his first letter from Ruth and read the words, “Jesus loves you,” his outlook on everything instantly changed. Hope returned, and he knew he could make it through his time in jail and his life would change for the better. Then, he told Ruth that he had accepted Jesus into his heart!
Six months later, Jake got out of prison. Amazingly, Jake and Ruth ran into each other at Applebee’s. He came over to the booth Ruth was sitting at with her son, hugged her, and thanked her for writing him and telling him about Jesus. Jake told Ruth that he wasn’t the only person affected by her letters. Many guys in that section of the jail – about 40 men – read all of the letters Ruth wrote him. They asked Jake every day, “Did you get a letter from Ruth today?” They would pass the letters around and write down the scriptures she had given to Jake.