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Lonely prisoner writes church, gets pen-pal: Look what happened next!

Ginny Schrappen Lamar Johnson wrongly imprisoned

CBS News via Youtube

Cerith Gardiner - published on 04/26/23

When Lamar Johnson was sent to prison, he reached out to a local church for much-needed support -- and got a life-line.

When Lamar Johnson proclaimed he was innocent of committing a murder in 1994, his pleas fell on deaf ears. He was sentenced to prison, where he remained until February this year, when a judge finally overturned his conviction thanks to new evidence and witness accounts.

While it must be impossible to imagine the level of injustice the now-50-year-old must feel, there is one sweet story that has emerged about Johnson’s time in prison.

According to CBS News, Johnson struck up an unlikely friendship with Ginny Schrappen, now aged 80, thanks to her church deacon.

Schrappen explained that a deacon in her church in St. Louis gave her a letter from a resident of the area who’d been imprisoned — Johnson. He’d written to the church hoping to have contact with a parishioner, and this letter fell into the hands of Schrappen, who believed in her new pen-pal’s innocence, even though she points out: “I’ve been accused of being naive before, and that’s OK.”

The pair started writing and didn’t stop until Johnson finally walked free. And one of the first things Johnson did was to meet up with his faithful friend. There she gave Johnson a box of his favorite cereal, a kiss, and one more letter in which the elderly women states, “You deserve the best, Lamar.”

Ultimately, the faith Schrappen had in her correspondent proved a life-line for Johnson. As he points out: “Especially when somebody is innocent, you want someone to believe in you, because when you have people who believe in you and they won’t give up on you, then it makes it harder for you to give up on yourself.”

The sweet story not only highlights the importance of having people believe in you, it also reinforces the fact that our faith in God, and others, can be so instrumental in doing good.

You can watch the moving moment the pair finally meet up in the CBS video below:

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