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My Story: From Prison to Freedom, and What I’ve Learned about the Promise of the Gospel

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Formerly incarcerated person pastors church in Orange County

When a publisher asked me, “Why would someone want to read a book written by you?” it took me longer to answer than I expected.

And my answer impacted my faith.

I come from a broken family. I had a long battle with drugs, was kicked out of my house before I was an adult, and committed countless crimes to support my addiction. I’ve slept at friends’ homes, in trunks of cars, and often did drugs so that I wouldn’t have to sleep, because I had no home. Crime and drug abuse led me to county jail, and eventually state prison.

But others have a similar story, so again I had to ask why anyone would want to read a book by me.

When I was young the gospel began to reach into my family. I wish I could say that was when I came to faith, but circumstances actually pushed me further away from Jesus.

Fast forward to 1997. I had been out of prison less than 100 days when I was arrested again. This time, I’d done enough to never get out. I had a gang affiliation, a long record, and was on parole. Just an hour before the arrest, I had committed a home-invasion robbery of a drug dealer’s home. While driving, a cop saw me and pulled me over simply because I was known to them. In the car were drugs, a gun, and stolen goods.

I was immediately taken back to jail.

The next few days were spent detoxing from drugs and wondering what I would be charged with. The robbery was public now, and it was a reality that I might never get out of prison. And, if I were honest, I’d have to say I was ok with that fact.

I had become more comfortable inside prison than I was outside. I was institutionalized.

I sat alone in a cell and prayed the most heartfelt prayer I had ever prayed. I asked God to change me and promised to …

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Source: Christianity Today Magazine

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