Denied parole and in the first year of a five-year prison sentence, Edward Amey was at a low point in his life. When he was not in his cell, he was working in the prison’s hog barn, feeding and cleaning up after pigs.
Ashamed by his past and frustrated by his present situation, Amey cried out to the God he once knew in his childhood.
“God, if you’re really real, like everyone says, will you get me out of here? If I get out, I’m through. I’m through with the drugs and the women. I will surrender my life to you,” he prayed.
When Amey was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1980, his father nicknamed him Doc. He still isn’t sure why he was given the name, but somehow it stuck.
Six months and nine days after Amey was born, his father died. His mother was an addict, crack her drug of choice. Many of his family members were also in the drug game, and Amey struggled to find a father figure.
“My mom was on crack, my brother was selling drugs, my uncle was using drugs. Nothing but drugs everywhere around me,” Amey said. “It was rough as a child.”
Eventually, Amey’s mother got clean for a while when Amey was ten years old, and they started going to church. The children’s pastor made an impact on his young life.
“That church made an impression on me. They made me realize no matter how far I went, I could return to God,” Amey said. “That was one of the happiest times of my life.”
But after his family moved to a rough neighborhood in Texas City, Amey got caught up in selling and using drugs and wandered off from God.
“At age eleven, I started smoking weed, having sex and running the streets. I started selling drugs at age fourteen. By the age of seventeen, I had two women pregnant,” he said. “I was living life the way I thought it was supposed to be lived.”
Soon Amey found himself getting in trouble with the law. He landed in jail and prison several times, mostly on drug charges. Every time he was released, he returned to his life of crime.
“When I would get out, I’d do the same thing. Partying, doing drugs, selling drugs, drinking,” Amey said.
In December 2006, Amey was high and in possession of drugs and a handgun when he saw several police cars in a parking lot. When one of the officers confronted Amey, he took off running. Amey thought he had eluded police when he got inside a friend’s house. But he was caught when officers came to the home looking for another suspect.
After his conviction, Amey found himself in prison for a third time on a five-year sentence. It was during this stint that he found himself working in the pigsty, desperately calling out to God to deliver him from his situation.
“God, if you’re really real, like everyone says, will you get me out of here?”
After that prayer, Amey sensed God’s presence and began seeking Him. He enrolled with Crossroad Bible Institute, flying through the Great Truths of the Bible course in less than a year. Amey said the lessons kept him grounded during difficult times and pointed him to encouragement and wisdom from Scripture.
“It gave me a program to go by. I didn’t have to find my own way while reading the Bible. I didn’t have to blindly open my Bible and try to figure stuff out on my own,” Amey said.
Within months of finishing the Great Truths of the Bible course, Amey’s prayer was answered. He was paroled early for good behavior in 2009.
“I was on fire for God, man. I started going to church, and I was doing good,” Amey said.
But in 2011, his uncle died, and his cousin was short on money for the funeral. In order to help his cousin with expenses after the death of his father, Amey stepped back into the drug game.
“I thought I was just doing my family a favor. The devil had me blind,” Amey said. “Soon I’m back to selling and doing drugs, back to everything I told God I wouldn’t do.”
But God didn’t stop pursuing him. One day when Amey was going through his closet, he had what he calls a “God moment.” A box fell off a shelf in the closet. It was filled with items from his time in prison—letters, forms, parole certificates and CBI materials. Amey was reminded of his promise to the Lord while he was behind bars.
“I heard the Holy Spirit saying, ‘What are you doing? I thought you were going to follow me,’” Amey said. “I realized I can’t walk with God and still dance with the devil.”
Just days before that encounter with the Lord, Amey had run into his former children’s pastor, who now is a senior pastor and had invited Amey to his church. He began attending the church but had “one leg in the church and the other leg in the world,” Amey said.
“Slowly but surely God made Himself clear to me, and I began to change,” Amey said.
He cut off all ties to his former life of drugs and crime. He volunteered for his church’s bus ministry and studied at a Bible college, earning an associate’s degree.
Amey has also had it on his heart to pray for police officers. Last year, someone spotted him praying for a Texas City cop. A photo of the encounter was posted on Facebook and soon went viral. The story was picked up by several national media outlets.
“That officer was the same one who had arrested me on the gun charge. God set it up,” Amey said.
Reflecting on his past, Amey said he is thankful for God’s redemptive work in his life.
“Looking back at my old life shows me how lost I really was and how lost my people are,” he said, rattling off some of his six felonies and more than twenty misdemeanors.
He said he regrets his past life of crime but recognizes that God is using his past to minister to others. “I wouldn’t be reaching the people that I am reaching now if I hadn’t gone through it,” he said.
In light of his transformation, Amey’s nickname has now taken on new meaning.
“I’m Doc—Disciple of Christ,” he said.
Written by Aaron Mueller, communications director of Crossroad Bible Institute