“When I held my daughter, it was like holding an angel,” Saul remembers. “But the happiness was only external.”
By this time in his life, Saul was drinking all the time. He and his girlfriend were addicted to drugs. She was an escort and a stripper. He was sleeping with other people.
Saul and his girlfriend broke up when their daughter was two. Her mother got full custody of the child. After the court proceedings concluded, Saul’s ex-girlfriend ran away with their daughter. Saul desperately tried to find them as he spiralled deeper into addiction.
“I was partying, sleeping with every woman I met, getting high over and over again, getting into fights, and even breaking into people’s homes,” Saul said. “That was when I got my first jail time.”
Eventually, Saul’s drug addiction became crippling. He was unemployed, and spent his time in adult chat rooms online — and saving the nude photos women would send him to a public directory on the internet. Unbeknownst to him, two of those women were under 18.
“I was eventually charged for accessing, possessing, distributing, and publishing child pornography. One of the girls was 16, and the other was 15. I couldn’t tell.” Saul was sentenced to four years in prison and ten years of long term supervision order.
While he was on remand (which is like bail or custody during a trial), Saul met the chaplain who visited inmates like him. “The chaplain led me to pray and ask the Lord to come into my heart, and take over my life,” Saul explained. “He brought me a Bible and told me to start reading it at the New Testament.”
The Bible didn’t click right away for Saul, but eventually he found Romans 5:1-6.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
“Those words were what led me to Christ,” Saul told us. “Everything I’d gone through in my life was leading up to that very point. Everything was fixed by those words. Everything was fixed by Jesus.”
Since that day, Saul has not stopped reading or studying the Bible. He’s worked his way through Crossroads’ Tier 1 courses, and recently applied for our Tier 2 courses to continue his learning experience.
“People will judge me when they read this, but I’m okay with that because I’m not that person anymore,” Saul concluded in his letter to us. “I respect myself, women, and young ladies. I made a mistake in judgement, but I am not that same person anymore.”
Saul’s heart has been changed by the Gospel and by Crossroads courses. “The Holy Spirit filled my heart,” he told us. “I still struggle with drugs. But I haven’t had alcohol in seven years, so I know that with the help of God, I will beat my drug addiction too.”
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Saul’s name has been changed to protect his identity.