Out of Darkness
My name is Perry Baker, ID # 805748. I am 37 years old. I have been in prison now 11 years, in a lonely, all by myself cell. It has been a tough time for me. I was raised in San Jose, California. My step-dad drank and my mother worked a lot. I grew up basically with the wrong friends doing all the wrong things. I have been in trouble since I was 14 for grand theft auto, I stole a car to go joy riding, but I was caught. I never listened to anyone; I always hear my family say, “Perry, you never listen!” It was true, my thought was, “my way or the highway”; I was rebellious.
I was driving along in the Bay Area and some Christian kid threw a Gospel tract in my car at a stop light. I about got out and took him apart but thought it wasn’t worth the time. I thought I had thrown it out but I did not. I was cleaning my car one day and in the back seat of my ’69 Mustang there was this tract. I attended the service – what else was I to do, everything was falling apart. There I met Holy Spirit filled Christians who accepted me with unconditional love, no matter who I was or where I came from, etc. I was only 17 when I received Jesus into my life.
But without guidance and other Christian friends around where I lived, I eventually fell back into the old man’s ways. The ’80s was a time when Rock and Roll was at the peak and so were pot, cocaine, and all the wrong friends. I was married at 24 and moved to Iowa to try and get away from that life of drugs, but you can not run from your problems, you have to face them. I moved to Dubuque and I got hooked on drinking and drugs.
Most young men their dads teach them to hunt and fish and do all the stuff men do, I never learned any of those things. I never killed an animal, I killed a bird one time and I was so sick by it I never did it again. So what am I doing life in prison for? Murder in the first degree. Who would have thought it? But the sin is on me, I took the life of another person. My family rejected me, I was divorced at 26.
It was a dark and lonely cell, no one talked to me, other than belittle me of my crime. I worked in the kitchen days and every night I went to my cell and cried, it hurt so bad within me. I called on the Lord every night and prayed for the youth, those who were abused and walking the streets. I have had to battle the flesh, the world, and the spirit realms – was up and down, depressed and lonely. I was writing the Church of God missionaries throughout the world encouraging them in the faith, all I could do was encourage in the faith and cry and call on the name of the Lord!
I was struggling with an internal war within me. Irving, in the cell next to me, knew I was in the faith. He was a Muslim but he shared my name with a Christian friend and said that she would write. True enough that Christian friend of his wrote me a letter and shared her faith in the Lord. Her name is Elizabeth and we have become very close. She and her husband Jesse are my sister and brother in the Lord. They have helped me a lot through the rough times and the good times.
One Person who has been with me ever since is Jesus, all through it all, He was there. I fell many times, I rebelled many times and the Lord always stood there waiting for me to return. The Lord allowed a disease with no cure to come upon me to remind me from whence I rebelled and who I rebelled against in order that I would be drawn back to Him; it worked. I still have it, in the worst place, right in the brain. I have been studying Neurology now 3 years – I had to, doctors are like the guards, they do not care if we live or die.
We live in a different world than you do out there. We are hated, depressed, oppressed, lonely and most of the prisoners have hatred built up in them because they do not accept Christ. You think prison is an easy life? It is tough living in here – beatings, rapes, stabbings, killings right in front of you at times. Keeping our eyes on Jesus and trusting and yielding and obeying the Lord is the only way we will make it in this life and that is a fact. Our focus is Jesus, our Father through Him will be with us through thick and thin. My disease is getting worse and the medications I take are so strong that they could knock out three grown men. Yet I go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 2:30am to be with the Lord in prayer, His Word, and 2 wonderful hours of PRAISE!!
Perry S. Baker #805748
I.S.P., PO Box 316
Ft. Madison, Iowa 52627