My name is Michael. I am a 29-year old man who is about 9 months old spiritually. My life has been nothing but one train wreck after the other. At 29 I was worse off than I had ever been. My actions had cost me everything that was dear to me -- including two wives, four children, my home, car, job, peace of mind even my freedom.
All my adult life Iíve known something was missing, I just didnít know what. I tried to fill the void with relationships, alcohol, money, drugs and anything else that felt good. It took hitting bottom in the Union County Jail to learn that only God could give me what I needed. On January 1, 2003 I asked the Lord into my heart.
I started by studying the Word. The biggest part of this learning experience has been Life Skills. In Life Skills I was taught about spiritual warfare, praying, repentance and generally living in a way that is pleasing to God. Iím still 29, but now life has more meaning than it ever had. I know why Iím here and how to make right decisions. God changed my life -- only He could. No matter what happens from here on out Iíll never again be who I was. I have no excuse for making the same old mistakes because now I know better. I thank God and the people that make Life Skills possible."
My story is small -- but is one of love, peace and full of hope. He has helped me through being raped by my dad, uncles, the beatings, watching my mother being raped, but praise God we lived.
I lived on the streets of New Orleans for a year because I fought back. I went to Teen Challenge in Dallas, Texas after two years on the streets, where I first found the Lord on August 16, 1984. I had loving people care for me, something I had never had before. They told me of Jesus who could help. Oh! I could feel His love in my life, real love and I did nothing but have a little faith.
I married a pretty lady and had 3 great children. After 10 years of a family, she divorced me for another man. Three years ago, he and she were killed on an ice-covered road in Virginia. My older brother died of AIDS in 1992 while I was in the Army in Iraq. My sister died of an overdose in 1998. How do you get through all this? Only with Jesus Christ and godly people who He places in your path."
"I have tried to take my life over ten times. Bottles of pills that should have killed me Ė didnít. The Lord must have a plan for me because He saved me. I believe He wants me to share of his love, grace, peace and hope to others like myself who feel helpless. Thankfully, the Lord has kept me from drugs (even though some might have given in to them), but I have always felt that there is something out there better to get me through this life. Christ is the only way!
Hello my name is James. I have been in treatment centers, detox, inpatient, outpatient, and met with counselors -- nothing helped. Then I came to jail and enrolled in Life Skills. Life Skills has transformed my life. Not just changed it. Change lasts only a short time. But to be transformed and renewed, as I have, lasts forever. Life Skills planted a seed within me. Rev. Lewis, Chaplain Merritt, and Brother Russ watered that seed and all of the dedicated volunteers and God gave the increase. By His boundless grace and great mercy Iím finally free on the inside, yes, Jesus is real!
My name is Dave and I am 52 years old. Born in Buffalo, NY, Iíve been married and divorced three times and have three children. Basically, I spent 40 years of my life doing what I thought was right coupled with whatever I felt like doing. I had no church guidance or training and little parental guidance. My life looked fairly good on the outside -- housewife, kids, good job, etc. But, my life was full of sin, lies, alcohol, lust, misery and a constant emptiness."
I committed a very violent inexcusable crime and proceeded to run from this crime and the law. After a long 8 day insane escape, I found myself on my knees in Pensacola, Florida. I prayed to God for help. In my heart I heard Him say He would send His son!
On May 1, I surrendered to the Union County Jail (UCJ) and, on May 5, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I participated in the Life Skills program at the UCJ because I wanted to attend AA meetings. But I never expected the program to have such a profound impact. Pastor Al, Dom Duarte, Russ, Terry and countless others ministered Godís words in my life, brining hope, encouragement, healing and forgiveness.
My life today is richly blessed. The Lord has restored every department of my life. Iím blessed honored to continue to work in the Life Skills Program, as well as with Safer Communities Ministry (formerly Covenant Prison Ministries), The Recovery Church of Monroe, Restoration House Ministries, AA, my home church and with individuals as a sponsor and mentor. My children and first 2 wives have become close friends and valued support to me. Praise the Lord, all is well in Him!