Week 13

Week in Review

Monday January 7, 2019

Today Redeemed ’19 met in the PEP classroom for a very insightful day of Toastmasters. We are all on our 10th and final speech, and the objective of this last project is to inspire. As we all took a turn, navigating the speaking floor, inspiration was more than evident. We’ve all come so far in regard to our ability to speak in public, and for so many of us the transformation is astounding. From philosophical quotes to strategically placed anecdotes, every speech contained deep meaning and beckoned a sense of purpose that the majority of us have been oblivious to our entire lives. This priceless opportunity to channel the greatness locked within every single one of us is truly a blessing. We have all worked extremely hard to be where we are.

After Toastmasters, we returned after lunch for our Integrity Selling presentations. Every PEP dorm is responsible for presenting two chapters from our Integrity Selling books using PowerPoint. So far we have covered Chapters 1-6, and everyone who presented did a fantastic job. They were all very articulate, and every presentation was not only educational but entertaining as well. After the 6th presentation, we watched an hour of art history. We’re now on lecture 10, which is about Edward Monet, Renoir, and other artists who played a major role during the impressionist era.

All in all, we had a very eventful day. This is the type of day that brings us that much closer to the men we strive to become. We are on our way to something bolder…something new…something great.

Felix S. (a.k.a. “Pico de Gallo”)

Tuesday January 8, 2019

When we arrived at class at 7:30 a.m., we were greeted by our brothers at the door. After we prayed in and showed love to all our brothers, we introduced our two speakers for the day. They danced to the front of the room to “I’d Rather Be With You.” One of the speakers failed to follow one of PEP’s rules, so we were forced to give him a spin on the “Wheel of Doom.” This is a board with 10 whacky assignment to do, such as the Shakira dance, a Harry Potter version of ride the broom, etc. – it’s just a fun feature we have in class.

After that we watched an Authentic Manhood video, the “mother wound” section. We then broke into small groups to talk about the video we watched. Everybody in my group broke it down and applied it to their lives. Everybody had good things to say about the video. It was an emotional time for some of the guys in the group to talk about.

We also had a good surprise today; Pat M. came in to check on us. It is always a good look when he drops in to check and see how the program is running. David F. stood up to give us a great life lesson about marriage temptation and doing right. The words of wisdom we received from Pat and David were very insightful. It’s definitely info we will need to survive in the world. After their words of wisdom, we called the guys up to the front of the room to give out sweet names. We prayed-out and class was over.

Terrick S. (a.k.a. “Side Chick”)

Wednesday January 9, 2019

We congregated for our weekly entrepreneurship class at the usual time of 7 a.m. and were fortunate enough to have John S. as a guest lecturer to cover the material contained in Chapter 13. John S. was able to impart quite a bit of wisdom to us from his vast experience. We are lucky to have so many knowledgeable and devoted executive volunteers willing to take the time to come to prison and instruct us. It truly is a blessing.

Along with our lecture, we received an exam over Chapter 12. We were also given our assignments for the rough drafts for our Business Plan Competition (BPC) pitches. This is really what much of our hard work has been building toward, and it feels good to take this big step. Our business plan pitches will be 7-12 minutes long and presented to a board of executives at the BPC in less than two months. With a bit more sweat and perseverance, we will have made it through this rigorous program.

The remainder of our class time was dedicated to a presentation given to us by our brothers Reginald A. and Joseph R. They used their unique talents to enlighten us on a chapter from Integrity Selling in the 21st Century by Ron Willingham. This is one of the books we are currently assigned, along with our entrepreneurship textbook and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic 19th century novel, Crime and Punishment. PEP’s Chief Executive Officer, Bryan K., was at the unit today for a special treat. He is hosting a series of classes on how to best deliver your testimony. Perhaps one day we can achieve his tremendous skill in that art.

Well, it was really just another Wednesday in PEP at the Estes unit. We love all of you back home. We miss you and wish we were home with you. In the meantime, we’ll keep working hard to get there. We are PEP! We are redeemed! We live “between the wings”!

Terry S. (a.k.a. “Coronel Sanders”)

Thursday January 10, 2019

Today was a good day. Now that we are nearing the end of our class, we have more time to give back to the next class. It’s amazing to see the transformation that we all go through. We began class with Robert Lewis videos and broke down into small groups to discuss the topic. Seeing the reluctance of the guys who are just starting the class was profound. Some of them are very open, but the ones who are not naturally that way will get there – it’s just a matter of time. The Driving Value of the day was Servant-Leader Mentality. We talked about the importance of leading by example. There is a big difference between a leader and a servant leader. After being in this program, I have realized that a servant leader has the ability to move and influence a larger crowd of people because they instill more trust in their people.

Since a large portion of this class needed “a.k.a. names,” we went ahead and called quite a few brothers up to the front of the class to make it official. Afterwards, a few of the Phase One brothers wanted to say a bit more about servant leadership. So we began to get back on that topic, which was good because the topic got real deep. Brothers just began to describe the type of leaders they would follow. They even recognized some of the Redeemed ’19 brothers who have those qualities. Like I said, the transformation is amazing.

Julius S. (a.k.a. “Michael Blackston”)


“Hard times are often blessings in disguise. Let go and let life strengthen you.” – Unknown

Today I am sharing this quote because a brother showed it to me and it is very inspirational during hard times. It has helped me change the way I think about all of my mistakes and has helped me take on another year, knowing that God will always lead you to Him. All we have to do is believe, and then receive. The quote means that no matter how it hurts, hold your head up and keep going. This is an important lesson to learn when you are having a rough day, a bad month, or a horrible year. Truth be told, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your spirit needs most. Your past was never a mistake if you learned from it. So take all the crazy experiences and lessons, and place them in a box labeled “Thank you.”

A new year has just started, so we all should be utilizing our time to live a prosperous life, not only for 2019 but the years to come. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart devises his ways: but the Lord directs his steps.” So all we have to remember is that even the most beautiful diamond had to be hit with tons of pressure to get where it is at today. I hope and pray that if you are having a tough week, you will remember that it will get better,  especially if you read this quote.

Ryan S. (a.k.a. “Dobbie from Harry Potter”)