Terrence J. Stoneburner's Testimony

I was raised most of my life in jails, reformatories, and prisons. I say this because I was in and out of trouble nearly all of my life. I was locked up the first time in a county jail cell when I was nine years old. I've been in some kind of trouble ever since. But glory to God, I'm free now. Even though I'm spending time in prison, spiritually I'm FREE, thank God!

When I was a young child, I attended church with my parents. When I was about twelve years old, my dad stopped going to church because of a misunderstanding he had with the minister. But I continued attending church with my mother, two older sisters, and my younger brother. I didn't go because I wanted to, I was forced to go. When I wasn't in jail or reform school, I had to go to church. My mother kept after me to continue going to church with her, but I just wouldn't.

Just before my nineteenth birthday, the police came after me again. They chased me through a woods and nearly killed me. They shot a few times, and when a bullet hit a tree beside my head, I decided to stop. I was taken to jail. After spending nearly a year there, I went to prison to start serving an eight to fifty year sentence for burglary.

During the eight and a half years I spent in prison, I resisted God until nearly the end. A woman I met got me to start reading the Bible. After I was released, I went to live in the city she lived in and began going to church with her. We couldn't get along though, and after thirteen months, I violated my parole by committing another burglary.

I went to prison again. This time, I was not only still serving the eight to fifty years I had from the first time I was in prison, but I had another two to fifteen tacked on for violating parole. I served four years and ten months this time.

More important, I found Jesus. An inmate in the prison I was in started talking to me about the Bible and I ended up getting saved. That was in 1975. I let the cares of the world take me, though, and I backed away from God.

Well, I got out of prison again. This time I was out for two years. I even started my own business in portrait photography. I started trying to live too fast, wanting more and more. I turned to burglary again to get the things I wanted.

I got caught again. I got put on bond and got married. The woman I married had been my girlfriend before I went to prison the first time. I thought getting married might help me keep from going back to prison. It didn't. This time I was sentenced to seven to twenty-five years. While I was in prison, my wife divorced me. After that divorce, I married again while I was in prison.

That marriage didn't help me either. After serving nine and a half years, I was released on parole. Three months later, I was in jail again—this time for a petit theft. After serving six months in jail, I was sent back to prison where I served two more years.

I was released again. This time I lasted six months. I was in and out of jail for stealing, then got put in jail for refusing to stop when a police officer ordered me to. This time I was sent back to prison for three years.

While I was in jail waiting to be transported back to prison, a friend told me on the phone that I should start reading the Bible. I got one and started reading. I believed John 3:16 and gave my life over to God. I know now that I can't make it through this life without God's help. So, no matter what, I'm going to follow God's Word and live the way He wants me to. I may get out in two and a half years, and I may not. No matter though, Jesus is in my heart, and I know I can make it only with Him. Praise God, He sent His Son into this world to die on the cross just for me. But three days later, Jesus Christ rose. Now I have eternal life through Him. Life is wonderful with Him in my heart.