Despite facing many painful trials throughout his life, John always felt close to God. Unfortunately, his circumstances and traumatic childhood led him astray and down the path of sin and destruction.

“I started my life in a life of crime,” John shared in a letter. “My dad was on the run from the FBI and would take me from my mom until I was around eight years old. He was arrested for embezzlement, racketeering, and organized crime.”

After being moved all over the country until his father’s arrest, John was placed in foster care until his mother was finally located. Once back with his mother for good, the chaos in his life only continued. Dealing with an abusive stepfather, a drug-addicted older brother, and even more running with his mother drew John to substance abuse. He began using drugs at age twelve, sinking into a life of crime and eventually going to prison for the first time at eighteen. It wasn’t until John’s most recent arrest, when he received a one-hundred-year sentence, that he finally woke up, realizing, “I have lost my home, business, personal items, wife, family, and freedom.”

It was an extremely dark time in his life. He was in county jail, not knowing what was in store for his future once he was transferred to a prison, quite likely for the rest of his life. He struggled with suicidal thoughts and even began one night to take his own life when the Lord suddenly spoke to him: “Your children are going to want to see you again.”

John said that he immediately stopped and “made [up] my mind, no matter how much time I was sentenced [to], I would become the father, husband, son, and good Christian man God created me to be, start to learn all I can about God‘s will for my life, and have a close relationship to Him.” John enrolled in Crossroads in 2016, beginning his journey to dig deeply into God’s Word.

John’s life is an example of the Lord’s relentless pursuit. He felt near to God throughout his life, despite a childhood filled with turmoil. This desire for closeness with God was evidence of His hand in John’s life, and despite the pain of his testimony before Christ, John’s past experiences can be used to help others come to know Christ.

“Nothing in my life was worth as much as the lessons God has [taught] and is teaching me, and I am using my time to become the man God created me to be,” John shared. “God had to empty me out so He could fill me up.”

John has reached Crossroads’ Tier 3 program, our most difficult series of courses. He is working toward obtaining a degree to become a faith-based counselor through Moody Bible Institute. He hopes to help others, and he has faith that when God’s timing is right, he will be with his family again.

“Praise God for His grace and mercy. And fixing my life and healing me spiritually,” John said.

Mentorship is a crucial need for those looking to grow in their faith and shine the light of Jesus while incarcerated. Could God be calling you to serve as a mentor with Crossroads? Learn more here.


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