Found His Gift in Prison
James came to know Jesus as the promised Messiah in 2003 at Hays State Prison (Trion, GA). Attending chapel there he met Joseph Nathan Chandler, a volunteer chaplain with Prison Prevention Ministries, who took James under his wing. Ten years later James earned a Doctor of Theology Degree … from inside the walls of a maximum-security prison.
“Chap, as we lovingly referred to him, spent hours and hours mentoring me and raising me up in the Lord Jesus,” James says. “He saw something in me and wanted me to preach the Word to the population at Hays, but I didn’t want to comply. I didn’t feel worthy to fulfill that high calling.”
Through encouragement and hard work James first earned an Associate of Religious Education degree, then a Bachelor of Biblical Studies and a Master of Theology degree. Ultimately, he was awarded his doctorate “all because an employee of Prison Prevention Ministries loved Christ and me enough to mentor me and lead me on the path of righteousness”, James says.
When James was transferred to the Walker Faith and Character Based Prison, he began using his God-given gift by preaching to a small group of men. Soon, eight men grew to over 40 men. Then he started sharing his personal testimony to tour groups that came to the facility.
“This was quite possibly the most difficult and rewarding experience yet! It was scary to look out at a group of people that I didn’t know,” James says. “I shared true life experiences and lessons learned in the hope of reaching just one person.
The people of Prison Prevention Ministries have had a great impact on James and his family. “They see the impact of the Gospel on my life and they like what they see.”
James’ life verse: For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of, for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe unto me if I preach not the gospel. 1Cor. 9:16.