This is the written testimony of Jackie Ray Childers, who at present is incarcerated in Ridgeland, South Carolina. It is being published here in the hopes it will help others, both in and out of prison, because in the words of Childers, “No matter who you are or what you’ve done, you can get on your knees and ask God to forgive you and He will, and will make great changes in your life.”
RIDGELAND, S.C. — I grew up in a Christian home and was raised by my grandparents. I loved going to church and school and made really good grades.
When I got in high school I decided to go live with my mom, who had left me behind at six months old.
My grandparents took me in and loved me and made sure I had everything I needed, but I wanted to give my mom a chance at being a mother. It was the worst mistake that I could have ever made.
My mom was on drugs and my step-dad drank all the time. They were always kicking me out on the street over crazy stuff and I was homeless at the age of 16 for two months, sleeping in the woods and abandoned houses. I went without eating a lot and during this time I was filled with anger about what I was going through and faded away from God and church.
I landed a job working at a graveyard cutting grass and saved up to get my own place and did good for myself for awhile until I was laid off and had to move in with my real dad, who was badly addicted to painkillers.
I was working for the city where I lived and dating a really good girl. I was proud of myself until I got hurt and was put on painkillers and became addicted. I was spending a lot of money buying the pain pills and lost my job and my girlfriend.
This was in 2003 and the next 13 years I lived a bad life because of my addiction. I kept going to jail over stealing and whatever else it took to support my habit and finally I was sent to prison in 2006 and served two and a half years for forgery.
Once released in 2009 I started working again and became engaged to a woman with three boys who called me dad and all of them loved me very much and we were all happy.
Another injury put me back on pain pills and things went downhill fast and we had to move from place to place because I used all our money on pills.
I was very ill and mad when I didn’t have the pills and became physically and emotionally abusive to my fiancé and her three boys. I was a bad person and they were very scared of me and one day after a bad fight they packed up and moved away and left me behind and I don’t blame them.
I continued on the pills and living place to place and on the streets.
From 2011 until 2015 I lived in empty houses, in the woods and at hospitals and even slept in bathrooms at truck stops because every dime I got I used on buying pills.
I moved to New York in 2015 and got into a relationship with a woman who had a 3-year-old little girl and I fell in love with both of them and we got engaged and she became pregnant.
We were a happy little family until the pills destroyed everything once again and I was already on the run from charges in South Carolina. I messed up in New York and they found out I was wanted in South Carolina so I was held in jail in New York while authorities in South Carolina came to pick me up.
Once again I lost everything and lost my little family who I loved very much.
While in the New York jail I realized I had hit rock bottom once again and was mad at myself for everything I’d done and the people I’d hurt.
I was tired of being a bad person and dropped to my knees in that jail cell and begged God to forgive me and to make me a good person and to change my life. I started reading my Bible and praying and God started working in my life.
After I got to South Carolina I was sent to prison but wasn’t angry about it. I was at peace with myself and was ready to change my life. I will be released from prison July 2017 and plan on starting a ministry and becoming a pastor and helping others in any way that I can.
I’m full of love, care and help any way I can. God is so wonderful and loving. He gave me another chance at life to do the right thing and that’s what I’m going to do. If God can forgive me for the bad person I used to be, He’ll forgive anyone and anything. Just get down on your knees and ask Him to forgive you.
So if you’re tired of living the way you are, give Him your life and you’ll be happy and be at peace.
God wants us to love him and others and help each other, so please do His will. Turn your life over to Him.
I’ve always loved trucking and always wanted to be a trucker, so I’m going to become one and have my ministry on wheels. So I hope to see everyone out there and help anyone I can.
May God be with you all and keep you safe.
I would love to hear from anyone and help you if I can.
Write to: Jackie Ray Childers #301213
P.O. Box 2039
Ridgeland, SC 29936