19. My Conversion to Christianity
My Conversion to Christianity
My Conversion to Christianity is the continuation in a series of hubs in which I discuss my life of rebellion, dabbling in the Occult, drugs, crime and prison to life-changing conversion through Jesus Christ. Click here to read it from the beginning. In this hub, I will discuss how my life began taking a turn for the better in my conversion to Christianity while in jail.
After being processes in Santa Rita County Jail upon my arrest, my celly (cellmate) offered me a Bible to read. I accepted his offer. I was always interested in the Bible but never found the time to read it. Now, here I was with all of the time in the world. I was fascinated with the stories of Jesus’ life and the miracles that He performed in the New Testament.
At the same time I started reading the Bible, I began attending Christian and Catholic worship services. I went to the Christian services by invitation of some Christians I came to know in jail; and I attended Catholic services because that was my religion. I came to know the gospel through the ministry of an old Baptist elder named Al.
I remember how he preached the Law of Ten Commandments to a group of us in a multi-purpose room, and I became convicted of my life of sin. He explained that the penalty for sinning is death; and that is why Jesus died on the cross for our sins. My heart, under the weight of guilt and condemnation of the Law, rejoiced when I heard that Jesus made a way for us to escape the punishment of sin. Then Al led us in a prayer of accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, which I eagerly participated in. I felt like a new person, freed from the condemnation of the Law. My guilt was gone and replaced by the joy of having a relationship with a loving God.
A Voice of Encouragement
After accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He really started changing my life. I stopped drinking pruno (prison alcohol). I also turned down drugs—a couple of times. Once, I spotted a guy smoking a joint in the shower stall. We made eye contact. After taking a hit and exhaling, he asked me, “Want some?” I won’t lie, I was tempted. But fortunately, a Christian brother of mine was nearby and observed the scene. He placed his hand on my shoulder and whispered into my ear, “Remember, you’re a Christian now.” I answered the guy in the shower stall, “No thanks.”
There was another time when a guy who I had been helping out (with food from the canteen because he had no money) told me that he managed to smuggle some weed in. He said, “It’s really green. The good stuff. I want to give you some for free, for helping me out.” I respectfully declined. I was on a new path now.
On a side note, inmates used Bible paper to roll their joints with because it is better than any other paper available. There was this guy going around asking all of the Christians if he could tear a piece of paper from a page in their Bible so he could roll a joint. No one would let him. Later on, some Christian had left his Bible unattended on a table for a few minutes. After returning, he discovered that some paper from one of his pages had been torn out, in the size of a sheet of rolling paper.
My Personal Reformation
After becoming a Christian, I started studying the Bible. I read it daily; and I ordered various Bible study resources from the chapel (which were free to inmates). In jail and prison, Bibles and Bible resources are abundant, free and available to all. As a result, I started seeing some major contrasts with what the Roman Catholic Church taught to what the Bible taught; and it started causing a rift between me and Catholicism.
I saw the Roman Catholic Church’s view on the authority of the Pope, Mary worship, praying to the saints, infant baptism, baptism by sprinkling and the Sunday Sabbath as completely unbiblical. You can read about that in more detail by checking out my hub entitled, Why I Left the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, I left the Catholic Church and called myself a Nondenominational Christian. At the same time, I continued searching for the truth.
A Fascinating Book
In my search for the truth, I read the Bible and various books and magazines about the Bible. One book, in particular, had a dramatic effect on me: The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White. It explained things so well that I thought, I have to find out what church this book is from. It was from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. After that, I began reading a lot of material from the Adventist Church. I liked it so much that I ended up becoming an Adventist. I had my baptism when I was transferred to Lompoc FCI (Federal Correctional Institution). A low security federal prison.
I started reading the Bible at the beginning of my incarceration. Shortly afterwards, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. He began changing my life, He helped me to understand His Word, and He showed me that I did not belong in the Roman Catholic Church. He put a book from the Adventist church in my path that explained the Bible very well. As a result, I became a Seventh-day Adventist.
After finally getting sentenced in Santa Rita County Jail, I was transferred to Lompoc federal prison, where I remained for nearly seven years. In my next hub, I will discuss my arrival to the feds. Click on the link below to read it.