From an early age, it was clear that Carl was the ‘rascal’ of the family. His parents used to joke that babysitters never came back to their house twice.
At age eight, Carl was surrounded by the positive influence of Godly people in his church and understood what it meant to be a true follower of Jesus.
This all changed when he encountered a new group of friends at high school. They were nothing like his friends at church and he found himself living a double life: attending church on Sundays, then secretly smoking and drinking with his ‘other’ friends.
He progressed from smoking cigarettes to marijuana, then moved on to speed, ecstasy and the needle. His life was on a downward spiral and his wages as a first-year apprentice couldn’t support his drug habit. So, he started committing crime.
At 24, Carl was caught by police driving a truckload of stolen goods. He found himself in a prison cell, awaiting sentencing. That’s where he first met George, a volunteer prison chaplain with Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy.
Over the next 12 years, Carl found himself in a vicious cycle – in and out of prison on numerous times. Each time, George would faithfully visit him. Carl recalls the comfort of seeing George’s friendly face each week and being reminded that, despite his mistakes, God still loved him.
Carl started attending church services on the inside. It was a pleasant reprieve from the negativity of prison life. He made the life-changing decision to sever ties with his old friends and head back in the direction of his childhood faith.
On release from prison, Carl paid his way through university and worked hard to get his builder’s license. He has worked as a site manager, built temporary accommodation for hospital patients from rural areas, and now runs in his own business focusing on small construction projects.
He reconnected with his parents and the church. Carl’s dad had the great privilege of baptising his son, with George there to witness his physical declaration of his faith.
Carl is now married and after years of struggling with infertility, the couple’s prayers were answered with the birth of their ‘miracle baby’. The family enjoy taking camping trips together, including interstate adventures.
Those days in prison seem like a lifetime ago for Carl – thanks to the prayers and support of family, friends and prison chaplains like George.
Stories like Carl’s are the reason why our chaplains do what they do. Your support can help us to create more positive stories by donating to Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy during the Carinity Chaplains Appeal.
Donate to Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy online or by phoning (07) 3550 3737.