For the first five years of his life, Forrest lived with his family in a one-room shack on a cranberry farm. It wasn’t until they moved to a new farm that he first experienced indoor plumbing and electricity.

His father was an abusive alcoholic, and Forrest grew up watching his mom cycle in and out of the hospital. Their new farm was a mile and a half from a Baptist church, and his mom would walk there with Forrest and his brother and make them go to Sunday school while she attended the service. Forrest said, “It was there that I learned all about God, Christ and prayer! Over the next two years, I would lie in my bed each night listening to my father beat my mother, praying with all my heart for God to stop him, make him go away, even kill him.”

And then, when he was seven, his family was woken up one night by police knocking on their door. They learned that his dad had been killed.

Upon hearing the news, Forrest was overwhelmed by what appeared to be an answer to his prayer. He carried both deep relief and guilt, believing he was responsible for his father’s death. “This ‘power’ I had shocked and scared me, and I became depressed and went to counseling for years,” he wrote. “But how could I open up and admit what I had done?”

Forrest’s guilt and depression led him down the same path as his father, and he became an alcoholic during his teen years. At sixteen, he got married and had his first child. Two years later, he was divorced. By the time he was nineteen, Forrest was remarried and raising two children.

“All my relationships were bad due to my drinking and womanizing. Like my father, I became abusive,” he said. “At age twenty-eight, I hit rock bottom. I was renting a room in a friend’s trailer, drinking and fighting with my then girlfriend . . . During an especially heated argument, I did the unthinkable: I took [her] life.”

Shocked and devastated by his own actions, Forrest sank deeper into his depression. “Facing the death penalty or life in prison, I was determined to kill myself,” he wrote. “Breaking open a razor, I removed the blade and wrote letters to my children to say goodbye. But before I cut myself, my eyes were drawn to a Bible collecting dust on a shelf. Picking it up, I opened to the book of John and began to read.”

With tears flowing, Forrest fell to his knees and poured out his heart to God. “It was while fighting these demons I found God—or, more rightly, I let him into my broken heart,” he wrote. “He had been there with me the entire time, but I hadn’t recognized Him or wanted to.”

Forrest was baptized in 2002 and started his studies with Crossroads the following year. For almost two decades, Forrest has been growing alongside Crossroads mentors as he works on rebuilding relationships with his family, and he is now approaching his release date.

“Over the years, Crossroads has helped me in my journey, teaching and guiding me as I walk this new, brightly lit path! A onetime high school dropout who did get my GED, I am now working on my PhD in biblical studies,” he wrote.

Despite the setbacks he has faced, Forrest has grown confident in the knowledge that God is leading, guiding and carrying him through life. “I am freer than ever, happier than ever, more content than imaginable even here behind these walls,” he wrote. “He has set me free, brought me out of my shell, turned the darkness into light!”

Looking toward the uncertain future, Forrest said, “I am happy with whatever His will is for me, here or outside—free is free!”

Would you like to help others like Forrest experience the freedom that can be found only in Christ? Consider donating or signing up to be a Crossroads mentor.

For the first five years of his life, Forrest lived with his family in a one-room shack on a cranberry farm. It wasn’t until they moved to a new farm that he first experienced indoor plumbing and electricity.

His father was an abusive alcoholic, and Forrest grew up watching his mom cycle in and out of the hospital. Their new farm was a mile and a half from a Baptist church, and his mom would walk there with Forrest and his brother and make them go to Sunday school while she attended the service. Forrest said, “It was there that I learned all about God, Christ and prayer! Over the next two years, I would lie in my bed each night listening to my father beat my mother, praying with all my heart for God to stop him, make him go away, even kill him.”

And then, when he was seven, his family was woken up one night by police knocking on their door. They learned that his dad had been killed.

Upon hearing the news, Forrest was overwhelmed by what appeared to be an answer to his prayer. He carried both deep relief and guilt, believing he was responsible for his father’s death. “This ‘power’ I had shocked and scared me, and I became depressed and went to counseling for years,” he wrote. “But how could I open up and admit what I had done?”

Forrest’s guilt and depression led him down the same path as his father, and he became an alcoholic during his teen years. At sixteen, he got married and had his first child. Two years later, he was divorced. By the time he was nineteen, Forrest was remarried and raising two children.

“All my relationships were bad due to my drinking and womanizing. Like my father, I became abusive,” he said. “At age twenty-eight, I hit rock bottom. I was renting a room in a friend’s trailer, drinking and fighting with my then girlfriend . . . During an especially heated argument, I did the unthinkable: I took [her] life.”

 

Shocked and devastated by his own actions, Forrest sank deeper into his depression. “Facing the death penalty or life in prison, I was determined to kill myself,” he wrote. “Breaking open a razor, I removed the blade and wrote letters to my children to say goodbye. But before I cut myself, my eyes were drawn to a Bible collecting dust on a shelf. Picking it up, I opened to the book of John and began to read.”

With tears flowing, Forrest fell to his knees and poured out his heart to God. “It was while fighting these demons I found God—or, more rightly, I let him into my broken heart,” he wrote. “He had been there with me the entire time, but I hadn’t recognized Him or wanted to.”

Forrest was baptized in 2002 and started his studies with Crossroads the following year. For almost two decades, Forrest has been growing alongside Crossroads mentors as he works on rebuilding relationships with his family, and he is now approaching his release date.

“Over the years, Crossroads has helped me in my journey, teaching and guiding me as I walk this new, brightly lit path! A onetime high school dropout who did get my GED, I am now working on my PhD in biblical studies,” he wrote.

Despite the setbacks he has faced, Forrest has grown confident in the knowledge that God is leading, guiding and carrying him through life. “I am freer than ever, happier than ever, more content than imaginable even here behind these walls,” he wrote. “He has set me free, brought me out of my shell, turned the darkness into light!”

Looking toward the uncertain future, Forrest said, “I am happy with whatever His will is for me, here or outside—free is free!”

Would you like to help others like Forrest experience the freedom that can be found only in Christ? Consider donating or signing up to be a Crossroads mentor.

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