I ended up doing only three years in prison. (I could have gotten anywhere from 10 to 20.), and they sentenced me to 62 days in solitary confinement. This is a little 4’x8’ cell. It’s just you, four walls, and a toilet and the only thing allowed in their is a bible.
It was around the half way mark of my 62 days that I literally fell on the floor, knees on the floor, put my head down on the bunk, and said, “God, I’m yours. You’ve put me in here for a reason. You’ve talked to me. You’ve worked on me. You’ve changed me. Use me as you will.” I came out 30 days later.
I was put in charge of the meat cooler, which is the thing that sells on the yard; the hamburgers and the hot dogs. Now, being a saved person, I refused the let other inmates get the food. That caused serious issues, so I said, “Lord, you need to help me because I’m trying to honor you by not selling or letting someone steal, but there’s gonna be some fighting going on, and I know that doesn’t glorify you, so help me out, here.”
Inside a prison, everyone has a job. The most sought after job is the canteen man. He runs the store for the entire prison. So, everyone who wants coffee, chips, cigarettes, sandwiches, the whole nine yards, has to contact with him. I never applied for the job, asked for the job, or ever thought about the job. I go lay down, just dose off, and the guard comes and kicks my bunk and says, “Hey, the Warden wants to see you.” So, I said, “Okay.”, and thought, “I know I’ve done nothing wrong. What trouble am in?” Because when the Warden wants to see you that’s usually bad news. So, I step into the Warden’s office, and he says, “You’re my new canteen man.” I’m like, “Sir?” He says, ‘You’re my new canteen man.” I said, “Okay.”
I walk out of there and say, “God, thank you for the blessing, but I’m not understanding.” What God did, though, was put me in a place where I had contact with every inmate inside the prison. One of the scams in there is when a new young convict comes in that the older, seasoned ones could tell were scared, they would bring them to the window, stand behind them, and tell them what they want. They would say, “If you don’t go buy us $40.00 worth of stuff we’re gonna beat the crap out of you.” When I would see that I’d tell the young man, “Look, your money is not any good. You can’t buy anything today.”, and I would literally walk out and tell the ones bullying him, “Look, this is not the way it’s gonna be. You’re not gonna run a scam on people, making them buy you stuff.” God, pretty much, gave me the strength to stand up to people that were bullying and taking advantage of others.
They were more than junkyard bullies. They would take it personally, but God provided me with friends that looked up to me, or men that, before, would not have stepped up, but had gained respect for me because I stood by God. That opened the door [for communication] because they would come up and say “You don’t do floating, you don’t do loans. You don’t do this. You don’t do that. You won’t take place in a scam because I hear you’re a Christian.” I would say, “Yes I am.” I was allowed to close the canteen for a few minutes and take a break. If I felt, and I guess God would show me, someone was legitimately searching I would close and go walk a couple of laps with them on the track and try to share Christ with them.
They called me in December 2009 and said, “Look, you're going home January 1.” I said, “Why?” They said, “We don’t know. It just came from Tallahassee, but you’re going home.” I said, “Okay.” I surely wasn’t going to argue with them.
I’m on Facebook. Kelly and I have known each other since she was twelve and I was fifteen. We hadn’t spoken for twenty plus years. She just pops up on the side of my Facebook. This has never happened before or after. It said, “You may know this person.” I said, “Wow.” I sent her a Facebook message. We talked 27 or 28 times that day, ended up dating and falling in love. She’s big in the ministry. She knew my story from the get go. She knew me from way back when, when I was wild and crazy. I’d been that way all my life. God blessed me with her.