My Name is Tonya, my son and I were at the camp this weekend in Texas. I would just like to say Thank you so much for this great day! There was a lot of emotion for us this weekend. I cried all day at the camp that we had at the church. Hearing other stories was just so sad, I learned a lot. I would like to share a story that I couldn’t really say out loud without me just crying there at the church. Here is my story: I had just got a new home with my husband and everything was as happy as can be when I moved into my house I found out that I was pregnant, it was the happiest time in our lives. When my son was
6 ½ months old my husband when out with friends and had a lot to drink made the biggest mistake of his life and ended up in prison with a 35 year sentence. I went into shock; I started to have anxiety attacks, depression, hate, anger. I
was very upset with GOD and couldn’t understand why this had happened, why I was feeling this way? There was a lot whys? I had to sell a lot of things from our home and do lots of changes. It was a very difficult time for me. One day my
sister-n-law told me GOD wouldn’t give you anything you could not handle. I didn’t really understand that, I was like what do you mean? She said there are always people in this world that have it worse than us. And things could have
been a lot worse. It was just hard for me to understand what she was trying to tell me. She said I know my brother is in prison but he’s still alive. I said ok to myself and thought she has a point. Even though I have all this pain in me I decided hey GOD gave me a son just as this happened. And I know that I have to be strong and move forward with my life and do everything in my power and strength to be a good mom to my son. No matter what happened I have always tried my best to take my son to visit his dad and to be there for him. There was times when I was so angry at him but just kept everything inside of me, because we have a son that needs all the love that he can get.
God has given me a wonderful son. He is 8 years old right now; an “A” Student who loves school very much his favorite
subject is math. He loves and can play basketball like you couldn’t believe. He is a big Kobe Bryant fan from the Los Angeles Lakers. I get letters from school that he is a great student, respectful, organized and receives many awards. We
are very proud of him. My parents, brothers, grandmas, in-laws, have been very supported of me and have helped me with my son very much. Without them I don’t know what else what have kept me so strong. We are all very much involved in his
life and keep him busy with his sports and activities.
Well the main part I wanted to share with you was that when this camp came up my husband signed up for it was very excited, there was a sign or letter or something there at the prison at had a list of inmates that where approved. He did not see his name and was very disappointed. My son and I have been going to church and been praying a lot that one day my son would have another opportunity like that to go spend time with his dad as the one my husband had mentioned about. All of a sudden One day I’m here at work and I had a voice mail from a lady named Brenda with a prison ministry. When I heard the message she says “just calling to confirm that your son will be able to attend the one day camp with his father”. When I heard this message I just couldn’t believe it. I called back right away and was like really is he approved. Brenda called me back
and said let me call the prison and make sure everything is ok and I’ll call you back in about a week or so. I was still very nervous and didn’t know if I should tell my son or not. Brenda actually called me back later that day and said yes
your husband is approved. After that call I was in the internet trying to get a flight out to San Antonio. I couldn’t believe it the flights where $69 each way to go out there. Everything was happening so fast, My parents and brother where
excited and decided to fly up there with me to make sure my son and I were going to be ok, they didn’t want us to go by ourselves cause it was a long way that we came. As they day got closer I called Brenda again, She probably that I was
crazy cause I was like ok so we are approved right. I guess I just wanted her to tell me a hundred times. Well as the day comes we are finally here at the Church, my mom drops my son and I off. As we are going in my son and I are very
nervous. My mind is going like a hundred miles an hour. Because this is the first time my husband and Son are going to have a lot of time, and bond with each other. All my son has ever had was to talk to him though a glass window in
jail and then when we would have to travel very far to see him for 2 days for four hours in prison, sure he got to hug him and hold him but never do anything else with him. He was nervous also he didn’t want to eat he just wanted to go
with his dad. Well we get all registered in and we meet two wonderful volunteers that were to be with my son the whole time their names are Rhonda and Jack, very very nice people. We got to talk and get to know each other. Then they took my
son to see his dad. I gave my son a big hug and kiss and told him you have a great day with your dad son. As I sat in the First Baptist Church all I could think of what my son was doing, and feeling. Getting this chance to be with his dad was like all of our dreams come true. We watched the videos and I just started to cry and cry there in my chair. I just really listened to everything that was going on in there. Everyone was so nice, everyone going through pain in their lives in different ways but all they
same emotion. As I sat there I felt GOD next to me, as all these years I have blinded myself to realize that he has also been there for me. I mean yes I’m a single parent but I have a great Gift my son. I realized GOD brought me here today, he approved this visit for us, and one thing I couldn’t get over was a lot of the camp dealt with basketball. My son is really a great basketball player and he has always wanted his dad to see him play. As it was time to see pictures of the kids with their dads, I see basketballs going and I’m in complete shock , GOD has gave my son the chance to at least dribble the ball for
his dad. Then they say there are girls from the Olympics that are performing basketball tricks. I was just blown away. I was like my son is there with his dad and there is basketball involved, wow GOD did all this for him. I was just so happy and in tears about the whole time I was there in church. This weekend was very powerful for me I felt GOD right next to me, to give my son the opportunity to bond with his dad was just amazing I can’t even begin to explain it. GOD is so powerful! This was something that just hit me like a lighten bolt, everything was just so nice, made me see life in a whole different view. I feel a lot of pain, hate and anger that has been lifted off my back.
When my son came out of the prison he walked up to me hugged me so tight and just cried and cried his eyes out. He couldn’t even explain to me what kind of day he had with his dad, for the first time in his life he had that chance to just eat, play, and enjoy his dad. He was so thankful, he told me he had the best day in his life….Jack told me as he gave me my son, he said you have a wonderful son; it was an amazing day for all of us. He said your son is good with a basketball; he did get a little disappointed that he couldn’t make a basket for his dad. But he had a great time. I gave Jack and Rhonda a big hug
and told them thank you so much. Everyone was so wonderful. The next day I got to visit with my husband he was so happy, I have never seen a big smile on his face like I did this Sunday. I just wanted to thank you Scottie from the bottom
of my heart, my husband’s heart, and my sons heart for putting this program together, you’re a wonderful person, I wish I had the chance to personally thank you and give you the biggest hug ever. You have really impacted our lives with
great happiness, and so many others in this world. In these 8 years that my husband has been in prison, I have never felt the way I feel now. We have accepted GOD into our hearts and lives and will never turn back; we will continue to move forward. Thank you for all the wonderful gifts and for you being the person you are!! I could keep going on and on. But I will end this long letter now.