As a drug dealer and user, my life was a spiral downward. Spending time behind bars was not, in itself, enough to stop me from a life of bad choices. Only the transforming grace and power of God could deliver me, and empower me to serve the Lord with the same urgency that I previously served sin. Praise God that now over 20 years, I’ve been ‘set free’ and am currently a licensed Apostolic minister.
Found in an oven as a baby with bruises and cigarette burns over my body, juvenile detention began at 11 years old. Drugs and alcohol marked my path from juvenile detention to prison. Committing 135 misdemeanors and five felonies led to spending 14 years in the Texas Department of Corrections. While in jail facing a life sentence, I picked up a Bible lying on the floor and prayed, “God, I don’t know how to get to You, but if You are real like they say You are real, please help me.”
God’s Word became alive, and while imprisoned, I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and went from a life sentence to serving one year in the county jail. Since release, God has blessed me with a Godly wife, and I am now a licensed minister and full-time evangelist with the United Pentecostal Church International.
Addicted to meth and cocaine by age 18, I had alienated my family, quit high school and was facing up to 99 years in prison. Under a cloud of shame, fear and depression, I wanted to quit the world. That’s where Jesus found me. Facing a 20-year prison sentence, I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and was baptized in Jesus’ name in January of 1995.
After spending over 5 years in prison, I was accepted into one of the finest liberal arts schools in Texas. Sensing a call to the ministry, I graduated in 2004 with a B.A. in Secondary Education and History. I am now married to the love of my life, and the Lord has blessed Amber and I with our beautiful daughter, Ava. One year ago, we were installed as pastor at Christian Life Center in the greater Milwaukee area. God does more than deliver from sin, He makes all things beautiful in His time.
I’m Jeff … a five-time felon, violent criminal, alcoholic, addict, and now Apostolic. I first repented of my sins while locked down in “The Hole” as a result of another’s testimony. (Never underestimate the power of a testimony.)
I’ve been in shoot-outs, raw drug deals, and high-speed chases; but nothing has manifested itself so real and powerful in my life as the Holy Ghost did one December evening while alone in my prison cell. (There was no hype… just one-on-one with the Lord.)
The Spirit of God then began leading me into all truth, being baptized in Jesus’ Name, sealing that covenant with my God.
Since my release, I’ve continued submitting myself to the standards of God’s Word, and have followed the guidance of a Godly mentor. I am now going back into that very same facility which once held me and baptizing men in the very same baptistery in which I was buried; all for the winning of souls, the transforming of lives, and ALL to the glory of God.
A product of the radical 60’s and 70’s, my life as a Black Panther was marked by drugs, alcohol, street crime and violence. Arrested and imprisoned more than a half- dozen times eventually led to my faith in Islam. However, the void inside remained … until I stepped into an Apostolic church and felt a power greater than drugs, guns and violence. God delivered me and filled me with the Holy Ghost. I now hold General License and assist Pastor Daniel Smelser at Life Challenge UPC in Odessa, Texas. Rev. James Barnes, CPF Western Zone Coordinator
The teenage wild life of drinking, drugs, promiscuity, and crime led to a charge of armed robbery and facing 35 years in prison. Sentenced to seven years hard labor rather than 35 years, I witnessed a rape while in jail, and because I did not report it, I was charged with accessory after the fact.
While sitting in a jail cell, God was dealing with my girlfriend, Zanobia. She began attending an Apostolic church and God filled her with the Holy Ghost. Fasting and praying that God would give me the same wonderful salvation that he had given to her, Zanobia brought her Bible to jail and showed me that we had been living in sin and that she could not live that way anymore.
While God was doing a miracle in Zanobia’s life, God was also doing a work in my life. I was released from prison on November 9, 1990, after only serving four years. The day after my release, I was in church being baptized in Jesus Name, and God graciously filled me with the Holy Ghost that same night. Zanobia and I were married on January 5, 1991 and have five beautiful children together. God has called me into the ministry, and I have been preaching this wonderful gospel since 1997.
Breaux Bridge, Louisania
Drugs, alcohol, and petty crime were a part of my life as an adolescent. My first arrest came at age 18 which was the first of over 20 different charges and arrests leading to my incarceration. In 1983, God filled me with the Holy Ghost and changed my life. I have been involved in prison ministry since 1992, and a licensed minister since 1999. In the past four years, I’ve seen over 1,100 people receive all or part of the Acts 2:38 experience!
Rev. Gerardo (Jerry) Menchaca, Southern California District Chaplain, CPF
Six months after facing a charge of first-degree murder which would result in my death in the electric chair, my charge was reduced to second degree murder, with a sentence of life in prison without parole. Kneeling at my prison bedside, I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues.
After spending twenty-two years in prison, my sentence was commuted from life without parole to sixty years, and after spending twenty-eight years in prison, God miraculously opened the door for my release. I’ve been out of prison for eight years, and I am now a licensed minister and full-time evangelist with the United Pentecostal Church. I serve as an assistant to my pastor. At the request of our District Attorney, I regularly speak to juveniles sentenced by the courts, and share my testimony in schools and prisons.
Floyd David Doyle
As a teenager, my life of crime, drugs, and alcohol led to several arrests and doing time in juvenile corrections. During my first two years as an adult, I was convicted of nine felonies and sentenced to nine years in the Tennessee Department of Corrections.
After being locked up for two years, God miraculously filled me with the Holy Ghost in a prison ministry service! I was later baptized in Jesus name and eventually released from prison. I have since received General License as a minister with the United Pentecostal Church, and just a few months ago, (ten years after my release from prison), on June 12, 2009, I was installed as Pastor of the United Pentecostal Church in Athens, Tennessee. Only the power of God could deliver me and give me such a beautiful life!