John's Story

In the early 1990’s John started making bad choices after returning from his military service and college.  He had landed a good job, but wanted to make more money fast.  His neighbor, a drug dealer, drove nice cars and wore nice clothes.  In John’s eyes, his neighbor’s life appeared to be the result of a lucrative business.  It was something he wanted to be a part of, because he wanted to provide well for his family.  As a result, John asked his neighbor to teach him the business.  The dealer warned him up front, “if I teach you the business, you will end up in prison or dead.”  John laughed that concern away because his neighbor was doing well and clearly still alive.  Needless to say, John was very persistent and the neighbor taught him the business.  After a while, John and his neighbor were shot; John’s neighbor was killed.  Undeterred, John branched out from only selling drugs, beginning to pursue tax fraud, fudging the numbers, and ultimately bank robbery.   As his neighbor had promised, John landed in jail, facing an unbelievable prison sentence.  At the maximum level, he could receive a total of 165 years: 140 years in the state of South Carolina and an additional 25 years in North Carolina on a Federal sentence.  While in prison, John met with Prison Fellowship volunteers who introduced him to the Lord and he begin a personal relationship with God.  Finally, John realized this wasn’t the life God created him to live and asked Him for a second chance. God answered John’s prayers, as he only received 4 years 9 months with the Federal system and 15 years in State Prison.  He was required to do one-third of the time, resulting in a total of about 10 years in prison between state and federal.

While in prison, John realized that he still had the drive and ability to make a lot of money, but wanted to do it the right way.  So, he made up in his mind while in prison to go back to college and complete his education.  He utilized his time wisely, abided by the rules in prison and stayed out of trouble.  John also discovered what his purpose in life was and he was determined to amend his ways and prepared himself for society.  After graduating, John became a tutor in the school, giving him a lot of motivation and providing a therapeutic release.  In John’s last years of being incarcerated in South Carolina, he joined an operation called Get Smart which matched up inmates with young students in risk, allowing the prisoners to share their life lessons and scare them straight.  After doing his time in South Carolina he was transferred to North Carolina to do his time there. 

While in North Carolina, the chaplain sent for him and gave John some of the worst news of his life.  Someone had shot his only son.  John instantly became angry at God feeling betrayed for all his sacrifice.  Nevertheless, John continued to talk to God.  One day John was walking all alone and heard someone calling his name.  He looked down the compound and no one was around.  Frightened, he started to run but stopped himself, not wanting the prison guards to think he was trying to escape.   John then heard the same voice telling him to “be still.”  At that point, John knew it was the voice of God, telling him to pull himself up and do everything that he promised Him and He would give him thousands and thousands of sons. 

After completing his sentences, John entered a halfway house and learned firsthand the unfair lives of ex-prisoners.  There were challenges he had to overcome, including getting employment, but John had a plan.  John knew that there had to be a better way for people to perceive ex-offenders, and knew how they should be treated.  He sought out and found a ministry that assists ex-offenders by meeting them at the prison gates and providing them with the spiritual, physical, and financial support that they need to begin anew.  John is now the Executive Director of Father’s Against Violence and Repeat Offenders, Inc. also doing business as FAVAR Ministries.  John stated that since someone had helped him in his time of need, he wanted to do the same for someone else.  John was once a drug dealer, a cheat, and a thief, but was now a Christian, an entrepreneur and a father to many sons – a spiritual father in Christ to the men behind the walls.  John decided to change his mind set to do what is right and to abide by the rules of society.  John is blessed.