Ligonier Ministries regularly hears stories of minds that have been renewed and lives that are being transformed through the gospel outreach you enable with your generosity. The Ligonier team hopes this letter encourages you as it did us. This is Brett’s story.

Some called me “the meanest man in Texas.” I cannot imagine a worse human being than I was before my conversion. I grew up with a chip on my shoulder, bounced around from foster homes to orphanages to a juvenile reformatory, and then finally I was sentenced to prison. I was mean and hateful and never smiled. When I first arrived in prison, I quickly saw that you had to be mean to survive. That wouldn’t be a problem for me, so I set out to show people just how mean I was. I stayed in constant trouble, getting in fights and refusing to work. Once, I attacked a guard with a piece of broken glass. Another time, I hit a guard in the mouth with a jagged piece of metal.

In 1984, I joined a prison gang. Once that was discovered, I was put in administrative segregation (solitary confinement), where I stayed for the next twenty-one years.

In 2004, I was in “super seg” at the Estelle High Security Unit in Huntsville, Tex. I lived in a cell by myself, with only a narrow sheet of plexiglass to see out. I’d gone months without talking to anyone when, one day, I noticed some guy waving at me from across the run. I quickly jumped out of the way, thinking to myself, “What’s this dude’s problem?” The next day, he was waving at me again. I turned off my light so he couldn’t see me, but I was watching him from the darkness of my cell to see what he was about. He stood there for a few minutes, then sat back down on his bunk and started reading his Bible. “OK, he’s one of those,” I thought to myself. I decided I’d mess with his head the next time he tried to flag me down.

The next day, the opportunity presented itself. When he waved at me, I stood there at my window glaring at him. He smiled back at me and started making funny motions with his hand. I realized he was trying to use sign language to communicate with me, so I shook my head and continued to glare at him. Sign language was how inmates in “super seg” communicated, because you couldn’t be heard through the solid doors. I saw that he wanted to teach me sign language, so I decided, why not? Over the next few days, he taught me the alphabet.

By God’s grace, I am a Christian. I will live my life for Christ each and every day.

Once I learned the alphabet and could read the words he spelled out, he told me his name and he asked me if I was a Christian. I told him, “No.” He held up a small magazine in his hand and asked me if I wanted to read it. It was Tabletalk. I really didn’t, but I decided to humor him. So, I shot my line under the door (a string with a comb tied to the end of it), he tied the magazine to it, and I pulled it across the run and under my door. Later that day, I picked up the issue of Tabletalk and began to flip through it, then started to read. It was actually really interesting. When I was done, I asked him if he had any more. He did. Then he told me about Renewing Your Mind, which came on a local radio station.

I started listening to Dr. Sproul every day. Then I requested a Bible and started reading God’s Word. I didn’t know it at the time, but God was preparing me to come into His kingdom. One day, I felt a strange presence in my cell. I felt that everything was going to be OK. Never had I felt that way before. Usually, I’d felt that I was doomed. I had even contemplated suicide before, but now I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. I got down on my knees and asked the Lord to come into my life. Since that moment when God called me to Himself, my life has totally changed.

I renounced the gang, and in 2006 I was released from solitary confinement. After completing the G.R.A.D. (gang renouncement and disassociation) program, I was placed on a minimum-security unit. In 2007, I began taking college courses. Over the last decade and more, I’ve received an A.A. degree in humanities, an A.S. in business administration and management, an A.A.S. in welding technology, and a B.S. in behavioral science. I am now pursuing a master’s degree in humanities from the University of Houston–Clear Lake, the only master’s program available inside a U.S. prison. In addition, I have been taking courses from Ligonier Connect for several years.

Now, I’ve been accepted by a Christian halfway house in Lubbock, Tex., so I have a place to go after prison. I have spent thirty-seven years of my life in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. And by God’s grace, I am a Christian. I will live my life for Christ each and every day, no matter where I am or what my circumstances are. Ligonier Ministries will always be a part of my life, whether or not I ever leave prison. In all things, I put my trust in Christ.

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From the January 2021 Issue
Jan 2021 Issue