The Worst Character
by Muriel Larson
I

hope you don’t have any trouble with that Marie,” the jail matron told us, shaking her head dubiously. “She’s a tough one, and the worst character we’ve had in here for a long time! I doubt if you can do anything with her.”

Millie Brown and I had come to hold the weekly Sunday afternoon service at the Elizabeth County Jail. As we went in, we greeted the women cheerily, and they came up and sat on benches near the bars that separated us. There were several more women than usual.

The singing didn’t go too badly. The women always seemed to enjoy singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and several other well-known gospel songs. The message I brought focused on the freedom Jesus offers through salvation.

The women listened intently, and when I gave the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, four of them raised their hands. They bowed their heads and murmured with me a prayer of repentance for sins and acceptance of Christ as their Savior.

Promising to pray for the women and to leave Gospels of John for them, I wrote down their names. One of them was Marie.

“Please write to me, will you?” she pleaded. “My trial comes up this week, and I probably won’t be here the next time you come. I’d like to keep in touch with you.”
I was looking forward to hearing from her, too. Had her decision for Christ been real? Would there be a difference in her life?

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The following week the matron said to us, “I don’t know what you people did to that Marie, but she became a completely different person—cooperative and pleasant!”

Several months after I wrote my first letter to Marie, I received one from her. Writing from a halfway house, she said, “I know you’ll be glad to hear that I’ve been made the ‘honor girl’ of my cottage. Jesus has given me back my husband and two little girls. They’ll be waiting for me when I get out!”