ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) “Some of the best moments are when I can get outside in the recreation yard and just walk around feeling the sun on my skin.”
“As far as hobbies go, I like reading, listening to programs on the radio, working out.”
These are two excerpts from letters that may seem like any ordinary letter to a friend, but when you read a little more, you will find that they are anything but ordinary:
“Yes, I know I’m still on death row, and difficult times can and will come, but my faith is strong. I know my life is in God’s hands.”
These letters have been sent as a response to Abilene resident Ally Arnold. A typical day for the 24-year-old physical therapy student may consist of school and being with friends during free time, but Arnold is anything but typical. She spends her free time writing letters to those whose lives will end behind bars, as they are on death row.
“It’s just my passion,” says Arnold.
She found this passion after meeting someone who had been in prison before, and she realized that some inmates will die behind bars.
“I just felt a tug on my heart to reach out to these inmates and let them know that they are loved and they matter even if the world condemns them otherwise,” Arnold explains.
She calls this her ministry, and she basis it off of a verse she found in the Bible that says to love the least of these. Arnold says that her interpretation of this verse is to love those that are the hardest to love, and it is hard for many to love a population of murderers, even for her.
“It’s very horrific. It’s awful, and sometimes I can read them and think, ‘Oh my gosh. I can’t believe this person did that,’” Arnold told KTAB and KRBC.
But she says that this is when she knows she needs to write them a letter the most. She has written over 150 letters since December of 2020, and she has heard back from nearly 50 of those inmates.
“I don’t consistently write with all 50 of those. I write back and forth with probably about 15,” says Arnold.
Now, she is even inspiring others to do the same. She posted a video on TikTok that has now reached over 1 million views of her reading one of these letters. Comments consist of people saying they want to do the same thing that Arnold is doing. Arnold’s ministry has even directed her in her future career, as she now plans to become a physical therapist working inside of prisons. She is currently working on getting her doctorate degree to make this happen.