Doug Brittain: I’ve been unable to write – was at the hospital – had to go man down for I had fluid building up around my liver and kidneys. When they drained the fluid the biopsy revealed I had developed cirrhosis and just below the next stage which is cancer. I was shocked by that news, but for the most part stayed calm. I just prayed that night for whatever God has in store for me. I’m not scared, I just, if anything, am disappointed that I’ve been unable to get my life together and stop using drugs before getting Hep C and having it get this bad. I am now told that the only way to cure this is by getting a donated liver. Therefore, I signed all the paperwork for that. Although, considering I am a state prison inmate, I highly doubt I’ll be on the top of any donation list. Like I said, I place this all in God’s hands. I have six months left to serve.
Brian Campbell: This may sound crazy to you, but please do not judge. Since I can remember, I have gone through life with this feeling inside that somehow I am gifted and was put here for a reason. I have no idea what for or where this feeling spawns from. Although I do know that whatever it is, it is a positive. The reason I say that is because most of my life has been tragedy. Heartbreak, pain, anguish, violence, corrupt, negative, chaotic and unfortunate – I mean – the list goes on. Yet still at the end of the day, no matter what happens, I strongly have hope and am almost certain that despite life and its unfair circumstances, there is something phenomenal and mind-blowingly good at the end of this journey. I just do not have a clue exactly what. So yes of course it crosses my mind that it is certainly God related. I can’t explain why, but honestly have always had belief in Christianity and the scriptures in the Bible and the fact that Jesus died for our sins.
Edgar Garcia-Figueroa: I thank the Lord for my life and struggles because they are what lead me to seek him through his only son Jesus Christ. … on the streets and unclothed with no roof over my head and on drugs, he clothed me and put a roof over my head. He basically grabbed me by the ears and took me under his wing. Even though I’m in prison, I’m thankful that I’m not in need, not hungry, and have a roof over me. I am not suffering as I was in the streets. I’m in a place to correct myself and [my] wrongs as a child of God. I am thankful for that. Amen
Joshua Hall-Ontiveros: I recently gave my life back to our Lord and God. I was running with a bad crowd who could care less about me. I recently had my eyes opened to that. For 2 ½ years I was facing life for my so-called homies. I thank God I was only given 19 years. Yes! It’s a long time, but I believe I’m here for a reason. I’d probably be dead at this moment. Only God knows. Because of who God has put in my life, I’m ready to fully give my all to Him. He has blessed me with a great cellie and now my sponsor. Although my family has either passed away, or given up on me, God has always been by my side every step of the way. Thank you all at D.O.C. for accepting me into the family.
Joshua Harris: I found God in prison in 2012. I was deep into my sin before coming to Jesus Christ. I felt that life was always against me and that whatever I wanted to do would just fall apart. In 2006, I had a beautiful girlfriend and I loved her with every ounce of my soul and wanted a family with her, but I was not treating her right. There were times when I felt God was calling us but never told her so we didn’t have a foundation. I hurt her so she broke up with me and afterward I got into drugs and was drinking my pain away but it was there the next morning. Mom tried to send me to church and even to programs but I never listened. I tried to find that happiness again by chasing after drugs and girls. … committing first degree burglary…. running from my probation and ended up going to prison for 18 months. . I kept doing drugs while on parole until I ended up back in jail. This is my 37th violation.
That’s where I met a man named Jesus Christ who gave me the love that no one could give me. I was praying that God would send me brothers and sisters that I could build life with. The next week I met Alan Courtney who reminded me who I was in God. So today I have that family that I’ve been praying for and the support team that I need in my life. All glory to Jesus Christ.
Leroy Jones: … I was a gang member for a very long time, in and out of prison. For the majority of my life, I was an alcoholic but never did drugs. In 2014, I dropped out and I found God. I picked up this Bible and started reading. I gave my whole body to Christ and then I fell apart. My appeal did not get granted, so I backslid. I got 2 strikes for aiding and abetting, 31 to life. There’s no way that I will ever see my kids again. … transferred from Lancaster Level 4 to here at xxx, where things are 10 times worse. My mom passed away, so I never turned back to God because I was full of anger. Then I went to the hole, and did a 7-month SHU. The day that I got out, my neighbor gave me this address and told me to get right with God but at first, I said no. Then I gave all in! Even though I got a life sentence, I look at life in a different perspective. I need to find my daughter so I can be there for her. I try to bring other people that are lost but they don’t believe like we do. I am 47 years old now, and I hope that this 3 strike law will change before I die so I can hold my daughter and let her know that I love her. May God keep on blessing everyone. Thank you all.
Alfredo Mendez: I was lost on drugs, backsliding and running from God’s will. I was hopeless, transgressing God’s command and guidance. Somehow, in His miraculous way, He loved me and set me apart from my own destructive patterns. I was headed in the wrong direction, yet God restored me and I live to serve Him in His righteousness. I’ve been renewed from death into life in the midst of discouragement. Jesus encouraged me through D.O.C. ministry so that’s how He’s shown me His love and grace to fellowship with my beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus.
Froilan Nava: I left home at 13 to the streets, doing what I had to do to survive; selling drugs to stealing cars. I was in and out of juvenile hall… turned 18…the county jail, then prison. I got into gangs. I was lost in that life. I got out and met this girl. She invited me to church. That was the farthest thing from my mind but I went because I liked her. That day I heard what the preacher was saying and I thought it was good. I kept going back. I gave my life to Christ, got baptized in Jesus name. He filled me with the Holy Ghost and I gave my life to God. But I’m not perfect. I fall but I know how to get back up and I’m living for God now the best way I can. Please pray for me.
(if you recognize this as your testimony, please write us) God my Savior started calling me back to Him in 2009. Little things at first – addresses, literature, cellies who talked to me about Him and one who got me doing Bible studies. In 1972 I blamed God for my troubles and wished I was dead. He became my Lord and Savior on Dec 9, 2012. I was baptized at Kern Valley State Prison. Since then my life has been changing from a level IV down to a level II. At Kern Valley I knew and went to church with Tony DiBernardo, who gave me an application to the D.O.C. Now 2 years later Gabriel Cruz gave me another. So it must be meant for me to join. Thank you God for leading me through your will. Please pray for my Board date of April 27, 2018.
Andrew Nelson: Father God saved my life or I wouldn’t be here today. I was doing drugs and drinking daily and when I got incarcerated it opened my eyes and I realized that He has something better for me. I could walk his walk and give thanks to him. I do thank him so dearly forever and ever when I walk on this earth.
Kevin Puentes: I grew up in foster care… never experienced having a real family. The only people I knew to run to were on the streets. The only things I previously lived for was drugs, violence, and hurting innocent people by the way I was living my life. Several prison terms and having no one else to turn to, I finally came to know my personal Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have always experienced different things by praying and trusting Jesus and also by attending church services and church functions. After coming to Jesus and becoming a child of God, my life has gotten much easier and I have now found inner peace knowing I have eternal life with Jesus. Like it teaches in Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Accepting Jesus in my life was the best decision I have ever made. I just want to thank my new family at D.O.C. Thank you and God bless.
Kordy Rice: God has kept me safe through this entire prison sentence. Things could have been a lot worse for me. I know a guy who lost an eye. I saw people stabbed 60 plus times. God’s grace has favored me during my prison journey. I thank Him for that and for the hardship I feel I’ve endured. Hard times make one appreciate the good times a lot more. God gives us both just for that reason. Through the grace of God I’ve survived 14 years [and counting] of incarceration.
Craig Stevenson: In 1973, my pregnant wife, Sandra, died. We were both teenagers when Sandra got pregnant and we were married. I was devastated and turned to alcohol to ease my grief. No one told me about the cycle of grief experienced after a death of a loved one. I was not serving the Lord whole heartedly and after Sandra’s death, I hated God. I was like the prodigal son in that I went out and sowed my wild oats. I lived a sin-filled life. In 1978, I came to California to get away from my pain and grief. Little did I know they both were packed inside my internal luggage. Within a year I shot and killed George M.. I was arrested and found guilty by a jury of my so called peers. In 1980, I met eight members of George’s family. This three day meeting ended in forgiveness, reconciliation and my accepting of Jesus Christ as my personal savior. 38 years later I’m still serving the Lord.
Dennis Sukon: I have been disowned by my father. My younger brother and mother have both passed away and yet I still linger on with hope and passions in my heart. It is a continuous struggle of day to day living. I am met by those that want to better themselves by helping others. This is what I do and the path I have been on has led me here. There are no more family members in my life. I am alone on this planet but not truly so. I look forward to this next part of my journey to see where it leads me.
Ambrosia Tapia: I smoked marijuana at age 11 and did speed at 12. I had my son at 16, my daughter at 18. I’ve been in and out of jails, institutions, drug and alcohol programs, and prison. In 2004 at Chowchilla I was lost. I used to read James in the Bible. That’s all I could understand. I’d go to church on Sunday. In my thoughts I used to say, “What is this faith?” I knew I wanted it. I was released and continued to use drugs and alcohol. I was in a parolee program. I got hold of a Bible and for the first time I read the gospel. I bowed down on my knees weeping and pleading, “Lord maybe if you give me another one, I will change for my other two.” I did not know what to pray for. That was my sincere prayer to the Lord. In 2012 I was homeless, in prostitution, drugs, alcohol, and men. I was pregnant, sobered up and went back to my family. Then I found out my only sibling was pregnant also. My little boy turned 7 on Christmas Eve and my niece will be 7. God has blessed me with 3 grandchildren. Children are truly a reward from the Lord. God delivered me from drugs, alcohol, violence, schizophrenia, and Hepatitis C. Exodus 20:2 says, “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, you shall have no other God before me.” Psalm 18:1.
Christopher Turk: You know, I was a wild teenager, but never thought about turning my life over to the Lord until I was shot 13 times in 2010. After that I started to look at life a whole different way. That moment, lying in that hospital bed, was when I wanted to turn my life over to the Lord. But for some reason I went back to doing what I used to do and that’s hanging on the corner doing the devil’s work, and it took prison to open my eyes and realize that the Lord has been on my side all along . “Be strong and brave. Do not be afraid. Do not be frightened because the Lord, your God, will go with you. He will not leave you or forget you.” (Deut 31:6)