Courtney grew up in a faithful churchgoing family. Although he knew who Jesus was, he didn’t have a relationship with Him.
“At that age, Christ was more of a genie than a Savior to me,” Courtney admitted. “My mom and dad had good jobs and went to church three times a week. But I didn’t want that; I wanted the streets.”
He swapped Sunday school for the drug trade, and his gang became his new family. For a while, he was living a double life with one foot still in the church door.
“One day, I got the chance to do a small sermon on our church bus, and that day, the Holy Spirit entered me,” he remembered. “But the streets had a better hold on me.”
By the time he turned eighteen, his life on the streets had led him to a small cell behind bars.
Prison was a wake-up call. “I had to make a change,” he realized.
The Holy Spirit nudged him toward that change in a few ways. First, Courtney noticed his cellmate writing in a booklet. “My cellmate was doing what I thought was homework, but it was a Crossroads Bible study,” he recalled.
Later, after getting into yet another fight, Courtney was placed in solitary confinement. “[It was] probably my tenth time,” he said. “One day, someone slid a Bible under the door.”
Having nothing else to do with his time in isolation, Courtney began to read the Bible. God spoke to his heart and offered him a better way to live. This was the change Courtney knew he needed.
“When I got out, I signed up for baptism and rededicated myself to God,” he said. He also signed up to become a Crossroads student.
Today, the hope and joy Courtney found in Jesus flow from his heart as he shares sermons and leads Bible studies inside his facility.
“It’s been about five years since I’ve been preaching and running my own Bible study in my unit every Sunday,” Courtney shared. “Crossroads has been a true blessing for me and my mentees. We use [the lessons] every week for our Bible studies. I thank God for the Crossroads ministry. It helps me grow closer to God by helping me read and study the Bible in ways that make it easy to understand.”
Looking back on his life, from the streets to his prison cell, Courtney is grateful for the journey because it led him back to God.
“Coming to prison and giving my life to God has been the best thing that could ever happen to me,” he declared. “I praise God for my newfound life.”
Incarcerated men and women across the country are seeking new life in Christ. Will you guide someone like Courtney along their spiritual journey? Learn more about becoming a Crossroads mentor.
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