Miracles Behind Bars

Herschel Pool is an active teacher of God. Prior to his initial awakening he was a “head hunter” in the racy world of corporate executives. He gave up this ‘life’ for his newly recovered relationship with Jesus and his A Course in Miracles.

He became a teacher through his willingness and determination to undergo a total change of mind and apply the principles of A Course in Miracles to all the aspects of his life. His process of awakening was accelerated in his personal association with Master Teacher, a pure and uncompromising Course Teacher, who prepared him for his fieldwork. Four years ago Herschel began to play a key-role as an ambassador in the international outreach of the Miracles Prisoner Ministry. His country of assignment is MEXICO.

He visited Mexico City for the first time four years ago, on a sailing-trip with his friend Myra. On arrival in Mexico City a very exciting invitation was extended to him. He was asked to teach A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and join a most remarkable group of fellow-teachers. At one of these initial gatherings he met Dr. Mercedes Cruces Heredia or “Michie” as she is affectionately known. Mercedes introduced A Course in Miracles into what she regarded to be the darkest place on earth; the Mexican prison-system.

Thousands of inmates of these Mexican prisons received ACIM  through her and the work that she initiated. Herschel became an integral part of this miracle-work, and now works very closely and intimately with Mercedes and her team of volunteer teachers. On his travels to Mexico, Herschel always brings with him Spanish translations of the so-called “twenty-minute book” (an all powerful little pocketbook which contains the review of the first 50 workbook-lessons of A Course In Miracles ) as well as subtitled video-materials from the Miracles Communication Center hosted by Master Teacher, and other Course-materials. The demand for this 20-minute book in particular has been extraordinary. The smallest booklet on earth offering a complete transition from false perception to true vision, can be practiced anywhere and at any given time. One time when he left one of these booklets on the front counter of a restaurant on his way out, someone immediately came chasing after him asking for more copies.

It makes Herschel happy to know that he is divinely guided. He is always shown where to go, what to say and to whom. It brings up a lot of amazement in him to witness all the miraculous “co-incidences” that occur in his encounters with people.

The miraculous way in which ACIM has spread across Mexico City’s twenty-one federal prisons, and has even reached state and local prisons like Amoloia just outside the city, is a book yet to be written. A non-fiction book filled with stories of how relationships of anger, fear and guilt were transformed through grace and forgiveness to a true relationship of love and light. A retired army general who has recently become the prison-administrator, has been a witness to the miraculous improvement of the relationships between inmates and their guards. Prisoners got happier and became easier to deal with. This Mexican state-official is now a great supporter of this spiritual and life-changing program. Amoloia is a maximum-security prison housing high profile murderers, kidnappers and the heads of state convicted for varying acts of corruption. Into this ‘high society’ Herschel, Mercedes and her teachers of God arrived. Three classes a week are being held here for the inmates, administration, guards and family members. These classes and the presence of the teachers made such a profound difference that the Mexican government is now actively promoting ACIM in jails.

In Magella prison forty men crowded into a cell to watch Master Teacher's video on Healing. The questions and answers went on for an hour afterwards. Islas Marie, which is the name of the last of the Twenty One prisons to have A Course in Miracles introduced to it, recently held a graduation ceremony for those at the prison who had completed the 365 lessons of the workbook of A Course. In this celestial ceremony counting over a thousand celebrants of the whole prison-community; family, administration, guards and inmates took part. The celebrated graduates now formally ordained as the new teachers of salvation, were each burning a candle symbolizing their individual spark of divine reality and their rebirth as the light of the world, shining and carrying this light to all who are in the house, out into the world, and God’s universe.

Sixty new volunteers fell out of the sky and attended a most recent Christmas-party hosted by Mercedes and her team of teachers. Here again just like the example of Islas Marie and its feast of ordination, we get a sense of the miraculous efficiency in which the transfer of training is allowed to occur here in Mexico; thanks to the totally unique and genuine way with which Mercedes and her miracle-team approach their mission. A pure demonstration of what the Course is designed for and is meant to be; a plan of teachers. After a period of undoing and the second phase in the acquirement of true perception and vision; you are it.

The Mexican prison system is not as rigid as its US counterpart, and it does not put any convicts on death row. This fact makes the Mexican prison a better soil for A Course in Miracles to be ‘incarcerated’ and enables each individual to face their own repertoire of horrors existent within the mind and escape prison altogether, not by a violent act of breaking out, but by a quiet melting in, an individual conversion or rebirth.

"Thank you Jesus for this incredible book, no more bars to imprison me, no more obstacles to the awareness of love’s presence."

A notable fact at this juncture is that not a single inmate dedicated to this life-changing program has
returned to jail after leaving the prison-gates. Recidivism has been brought back to zero, a claim both
Mercedes and Herschel share in making. Not long ago a very promising invitation reached Hershel and Mercedes of a certain Dr. Bedi who is a revolutionary female prison-administrator and reformer of the largest prison of India. She wants Mercedes to introduce their miracles prisoner program to the Indian prison-system.

“Mercedes” says Herschel “is a dedicated Teacher. This loving woman gives herself entirely to her healing work. The power of the mind and heart of Jesus is her healing tool”. She specializes in helping people overcome their addictions. For this reason people visit her from all over Europe, and the US. The great joy that “Hank” (as Herschel is called in Mexico) experiences in his relationships with his Mexican brothers is conveyed in the pure delight of his words as he speaks about the devotion these people have for Jesus. “Any Mexican will talk to you of their love for Jesus. The true heart of Jesus is seen in the people and has nothing to do with organized religion. It only has to do with their faith and respect for the one who came to earth to deliver eternal peace to the hearts of mankind.” Eternal gratitude is Herschel’s wholesome feeling toward his Mexican brothers for their hospitality, courage, focus and patience in teaching ACIM with him. He carries this experience back with him to his fellow teachers at Endeavor Academy, and his colleagues at the Miracles Prisoner Ministry.

Giving freely is how Herschel approaches his ministry, and he is very pleased that the Foundation for Inner Peace has given permission for all Course-material to be copied freely. And a big thank you to The Xerox Company for donating its services, copying the pages of the text, the lessons and the manual for teachers of ACIM. His attitude of gratitude goes out last, but never lost, to his brothers back home in Wisconsin who are always ready to help and support his mission, thanks Herschel.

Contact Herschel: email hpoolpart@jvlnet.com
Telephone, fax 608 253 2348

Article by
Margo Knox
and Bastiaan Berende

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