Jared* was a drug addict who had stumbled into dealing to support his habit. When a stranger in Toowoomba handed him a gospel tract, the words filled him with hope. He prayed the Sinner’s Prayer and then threw it in the bin when he felt nothing.
He went back to dealing without much thought about what he had just read. He was preparing drugs with his girlfriend at the kitchen table when she turned to him and asked: “Do you want to keep following me?” Jared felt this wasn’t his girlfriend talking but a sign he was heading down the wrong path. The Holy Spirit filled him, and he replied “No!” He got up and flushed all his drugs down the toilet.
After this experience, Jared went into ministry, doing missionary work in the Philippines and Thailand. Although he knew the gospel message, Jared found his faith hard work. He felt like God was always disappointed with him because he could never measure up. After seven years walking with the Lord, he turned his back on Him.
He got a job as a project manager consulting for multinational companies. The stress of this high-pressure job saw Jared falling back into drugs after many years sober. Eventually, his addiction cost him his job, so he started making drugs and dealing to fund his habit. The moment he was caught, he lost everything.
In jail, Jared looked around, and all he could see was desperation and sadness on the faces of his fellow inmates. He remembered how good everything was when he walked with God and realised his ways were not getting him anywhere except jail. Gradually, Jared rekindled his relationship with Jesus but did not want to go back to church.
An Inside Out Prison Chaplain encouraged Jared to come to services and he rediscovered the joy of fellowship and worshiping with others. Most importantly, prison chaplains taught Jared the unforced rhythms of God’s grace. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jared has been out of jail for two years and is the full-time carer for his sick mother. He is also in his last year of Bible College and has settled into a great church community where he leads a men’s group, and he’s part of the music team.
During his time behind bars, Jared witnessed the transformation of many fellow inmates by prison chaplains through the message of salvation and grace, a message he now lives by.