There are two kinds of prisons.  The first kind of prison is where the judge has you locked away from society because either a jury has convicted you of being guilty of a crime, or a judge believes you are, and convicts you without a jury.  We’re all familiar with prison number one.

The second kind of prison – prison number two – isn’t so easily recognizable, yet it was this prison I was in before I ever went to prison number one.  Allow me to explain how I made this discovery.

When I was a young boy living in Costa Rica, I asked the Lord into my heart.  That was in 1984.  In 1987, I was adopted by an American Christian family.  In 2002 I committed a crime.  I tried to run from my sin.  I had $4,300, and fled to Florida.  I began to drink alcohol very heavy to try to forget what I had done.  Three days later, I left the U.S.A. and went back to Costa Rica – going through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and finally reaching Costa Rica.  While on the way, I tried everything that my lust begged for: Illicit Sex, drugs and alcohol, and making as much money as I could.  I didn’t want to remember my past.  I didn’t want to face the wrongdoing of my crime, because it was more than just a crime against society: it was a crime against God.

The heaviness of my offense against God wouldn’t go away, no matter how much I tried to make it go away.  Guilt ate at me like bone cancer in it’s final death-grip stages.

I was so unhappy.  I knew that the only way to get free of the guilt was to confess my sin to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask His forgiveness, as much as I didn’t want to.  After one of the greatest tug-a-wars my soul has ever gone through between the forces of good and evil, I knew I had to do it.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

I got down on my knees and began to pray for forgiveness.  I cried and cried like a newborn baby, and in the Lord’s time the heavy burden was lifted from my weary soul.  Jesus lifted it.  Not long after, the Holy Spirit asked me if I would be willing to return to the U.S.A. and turn myself in.  “If you do so, you will be totally free.” 

Believe me, it was not an easy decision to make.  The temptation to stay with Christian friends in Costa Rica and rebuild my life there was very strong.   Why did I have to go back to Michigan and turn myself in?  My rational mind said that was crazy.  Others thought it was too. Yet the Spirit of the Lord kept speaking to my heart to make the long journey back and pay for my crime.  I finally gave in, because I knew it would please God, no matter how much pain might come my way.

Little did I know it was going to be such a “trying” journey to make it to the Michigan prison.  The Lord wanted to teach me a lot of things about trusting Him in difficult circumstances along the way, I was later to discover.

It took me nearly eight weeks to make it back to the U.S.  I was exposed to death three times.  I was put in jail.  I saw people raped and beaten for no reason…yet God gave me opportunities to share Jesus Christ with people who were in jail.  I was assaulted and robbed three times.  I was shot at.  I was chased with guns and knives.  I had guns pointed at me.  I was poisoned to a point near death, but the Lord brought me back to life.

I spent days and nights in open fields.  I was constantly on the move, hiding from evil people that wanted to hurt me and rape some of the women that were with us trying to make it to the U.S.  I was in danger from bandits and danger from some of the people that were close to me.  I was in danger from rivers, and danger from false police — all the way from Guatemala to Mexico.  I went without sleep and fought off intense hunger and sometimes great thirst, yet the Lord sustained me always.  I was cold to the point where I could have died – went days without showering – wearing the same clothes for weeks.

I witnessed people getting killed by the Mexican police.  I witnessed a woman who took her own life, because she was on so much dope.  This happened in a Mexican jail…but no one cared.  I spent 20 days in that jail in Monterey Mexico – three hours from the U.S. border.

All the while I was in that Mexican jail, the Spirit of the Lord told me to tell others about Jesus Christ, but I was too angry because the American Embassy couldn’t find my name in their computers as an American citizen.

*To continue reading, please refer to Part 2 of this testimony.