The following is a testimony by a man in prison. He is slated to be released in 2020.
By Bryan Parker
A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own ways?
Before realizing that I didn’t understand my own ways I went off in a very dark direction. I was raised by a loving mother and two wonderful sisters. I had a very abusive father who left us when I was a child. My mother remarried in 1980 and my life as I knew it was about to turn. My stepfather did everything he could to drive a wedge between my mother and I. On two different occasions he talked my mother into placing me in different care, one being Lakeside Hospital and the other a group home for a year and a half, called Dogwood Village.
I can’t put all the blame on them because at the age of twelve I began to experiment with drugs and alcohol – marijuana at first, but it didn’t take long before I was using acid and cocaine at the age of thirteen. I was sneaking out of the house late at night and partying all night, then sneaking back in. A lot of it was indeed my fault!
After getting out of group home at the age of fifteen I was already rebelling against my stepfather and I began my addictions again. I didn’t realize it, but I was an addict of the worst kind. I stole from everyone to support my cocaine and now crack addictions. I was an alcoholic along with being a drug addict, a disaster waiting to happen.
I quit school in the 10th grade because I could never stay sober to go to school. I was out on my own by the age of seventeen, a childhood addict sleeping in the bushes, in vacant houses, mom’s garage… anywhere I could fall asleep. I will never forget Christmas morning in 1990. I sat on a tree trunk, drunk and high, watching from a park as my family had Christmas at my mother’s house. I couldn’t stop crying. I was one hundred yards away.
In 1994 my life hit a very hard time. I won’t go into full detail, but I was drunk and high, and I severely hurt someone, putting them in the hospital and myself in prison for the first time. I served three years and got out in 1997. I was doing good. I got engaged to a bartender, but again I began to drink and do drugs. In 1998 I shot myself in the chest, an inch away from my heart, and again I wasn’t allowed at my mom’s house. I lost my fiancée, and yet again ended up on the streets, and yes, again by myself and back on drugs and alcohol. It didn’t take long to catch my second prison term, robbing a BP gas station to support my habit. This time I did seven and a half years and got out in 2005. Once again I was back on drugs and alcohol, and yet again in 2005 I was back to prison where I am today writing my testimony, but it was all about to change.
When I first got to prison this time I got involved with a white supremacist group and I did terrible things, hurting others and ordering hits on others just because I could. Well, that took ten years of my life, until they turned on me, so that now I found myself in protective custody. I was a violent man, a hard nosed criminal and drug addict in fear for his life.
In 2010 I received the worst news imaginable. While serving time in maximum security for assault and possession of a cell phone, I got the terrible news that my mother had passed away on June 24th. It broke my heart and I cried for three days straight until finally I got on my knees and prayed.
That day, June 27th 2010, I asked God to come into my life and take control. Brothers and sisters, I prayed and cried for about 20 minutes, and when I opened my eyes I felt full of the thing they call the Spirit. Being a beginner I had always heard about the Spirit, but I tell you I felt this sensation throughout my body that was a life changer.
I knew something had happened. I was tired of my way of living. I was tired of hurting innocent people. I was tired of the pain. I was tired of being afraid. In order for me to change my old ways I had to be born again, is what the Bible told me.
“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
So again I asked God for me to be born again. I read my Bible daily and tried so hard to do what it says.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
It is hard to love your neighbor in prison because in here people prey upon weakness and you have to be humble to be a man of God. Like my brother Saul turned into Paul, I was in prison trying to live for Christ. The persecution was endless. I’ve been assaulted several times while trying to be humble, and I’ve been robbed trying to be humble. But even after Satan made numerous attempts to come between me and God, to this day I haven’t given up. For seven years I have been clean and sober thanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For seven years I have lived for the Lord. Through trials and tribulations along the way I have lived for the Lord. Today as I write this I have been in the hole for four months with a broken knee cap. At times I feel so alone. But I know that even though no one is physically around me, I have Christ with me at all times. In the Bible it says:
“Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
I ask every day to be fed the word, but I have to take baby steps. The Bible takes time and studying to understand.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.
I Peter 2:2
I had to learn that I can’t just say that I am saved by faith – I had to put it to work like the Bible says.
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
We have to work every day, every minute, to be a believer. It’s not easy. We have to believe that Jesus died on the cross at Calvary to save us from our sins. We have to repent daily for the sins we commit daily. We have to pray daily.
Brothers and sisters of Christ, we are in a struggle to be true Christians. But I tell you, if a drug addicted alcoholic for thirty years can change his life in prison after becoming a white supremacist and hurting people, I tell you anyone can! Saul sought to kill Christians before changing his life, so why can’t you? It is never too late.
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who so ever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Now if God can give up His Son on a cross, to be nailed there for our sins for us to be saved, should we not at least try to live right and live for Christ? I have a very good friend and he helps me daily live for Christ. We study together through the mail and I have found that it truly helps to have a support group.
I live my life for Christ today. I’m happy today. I’m sober today. I can love any and everybody today because it says:
You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Brothers and sisters, we are all one body in Christ Jesus. We all have our part. We are still sinners, but Christ died for us so that we could have eternal life.
This is my testimony, written in hope that at least one person can give their life to Christ and live for the Lord. I ask that we all understand that a man died on the cross – a brutal death – for us sinners. So why can’t we at least try to live right? If I can, we all can! It’s not easy and I still sin, but now I know I can be forgiven just like you. I’m here for you.
“Father, please let this testimony teach someone’s heart and lead them into eternal life. Amen.”
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