On my trip to Israel, I met several wonderful Christians in my tour group. One night, one of them shared his testimony. It is a story of God's passionate love for all the lost souls.
Grab a cup of coffee and read what Gary has to share.
I am Redeemed and Free Indeed
|Gary in Jerusalem - Photo by Mary Vee|
My name is Gary Spillman and this is my testimony to God's glory.
I grew up without a father. There were a lot of wannabe substitutes for him, except for Bob Spillman who adopted all six of my mother’s children before having one of his own with her. I felt like he would be the one to help me grow up into a man, but the Lord took him with cancer less than two years after being married to my mom.
With no father, again, and being sexually abused by my older brother and sister at age nine, I pretty much gave up on God. A God who allowed all that stuff to happen to me was a God I didn't want! Jesus loves me... Right!
At the age of twelve, I was locked up in a boy’s industrial school. At seventeen, I was incarcerated at Hutchison prison. By the time I turned twenty-one, I was doing two life sentences. My heart was so dark and black. I didn't care about anyone or anything. I took and did whatever I wanted to fill the empty void inside me. But nothing did.
My mom died in 1987, and I made a promise to her that I would not hurt anyone physically anymore. I've kept that promise, although my words have hurt and killed some people.
I got out of prison after doing twenty years and thought that if I had a place to stay, a car, and a good job, I could go fishing anytime I wanted and finally be satisfied. Well, I had all that, but something was still missing, and I really wasn't satisfied.
I got arrested again for manufacturing meth and a whole bunch of other charges in Missouri and Kansas and was sent to Ellsworth in 2002. All I could think about was escaping. I was 45 years old and thought I was gonna die in prison. I came up with two different schemes to get out: take one of the bikes the guards used to patrol the compound, build a ramp, and jump over the two cosseting wire fences; or make a rope, lasso a light pole, then swing off one of the buildings to freedom.
Some buddies of mine suggested I join a program called the Interchange Freedom Initiative, now called Brothers in Blue. It is a faith-based Christ-centered program. I laughed at them. But I realized there were banquets with people who came in from outside, and I saw I could take one of the people in the bathroom, knock them out, put on their clothes, take their ID, and escape. So, I joined the program. Low and behold, after three months of having to study God's word and hearing about God's word, the Holy Spirit started working on me.
One day during class, Don Raymond taught about the Gospel of John. He read the Scripture John 8:36 Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
I wanted to be free!
So, I ask him how I could be free. He said, “Well you need to go back to John 8:31 -32 that says, 'if you are truly my disciples you will follow my teachings and then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.'
The truth? What was the truth???
Don said, “You have to study that out.”
|Gary on the road from the Mt. of Olives|
to Gethsemane Photo by Hank Vee
So, I did. I found out that Jesus did die for all my sins and that if I accepted Him as my Savior, my personal Savior, I would be set free. One night, during a Wednesday evening revival, I accepted Christ into my heart and told God that if Jesus set me free, I would never forsake Him or leave Him. But I had accepted Christ for the wrong motives. I figured He was going to set me free physically because I was still going back to court on charges at that time.
Later, at a Brothers in Blue weekend I surrendered myself to the leading of the Holy Spirit and knew I was truly set free.
I still had to serve ten more years in prison before I got out. During those ten years, I didn’t see prison bars, walls, or guards to keep me locked up. I saw that time as being in the kingdom of God. I studied and memorized God's word.
To this day, I've been out of prison for four years, am off parole, and have travelled to Israel. I still go back into the prisons, which I never thought I would ever do again, to minister to men and tell them about being set free from the bondage sin has them under.
Wow! Thank you Gary for sharing what God did!
Reader, as you can see from Gary's testimony: God SO loves the world that He gave His only Son that WHOEVER believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16