One Wednesday night after church I struck up a conversation with another church member, Henry Mitchell, and he shared all of the great things God had been doing in his life. Now I knew Henry had been released from prison over two years prior and that he’d served a long time in prison, but I didn’t know how long he’d served or why he’d been arrested in the first place. Henry shared that three weeks after his 24th birthday he killed two people in a drug sale gone bad. he spent four-and-a-half months in solitary confinement after his arrest and was sentenced to life with a possibility of parole in 20 years. While he was in solitary confinement, he began reading a New Testament a chaplain had given him and Henry gave his life to Christ. He cried for three days because he didn’t believe a person could be cleansed like that. Henry served almost 34 years in prison before he was finally granted parole on his 15th try. After his release he started praying for God to bring him a good job, a nice home and a dependable, affordable car. God took care of him by providing each one in some of the most incredible ways.
As a result of Henry’s relationship with Jesus he’s become one of the most faith-filled evangelists I’ve ever encountered, always saying, “Praise the Lord” and sincerely meaning it. If you’re struggling with something you’ve done in the past and don’t believe God could ever forgive you, I hope knowing Henry’s story will help you understand that God will forgive you, no matter what you’ve done, as long as you repent and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You’re going to be blessed by Henry’s testimony of God’s grace and mercy and I hope it will cause you to pray bolder prayers and build a bolder faith in your own life.
Quotes From Henry
“The whole root of my problem was that inwardly I was full of darkness.” So, he started praying for God to take away the darkness, over and over again for two months.
“If you find out what your problem was in the Bible that is where your answer is also.”
“God, Jesus is the light. And I’m full of darkness.” Then Henry raised his hands in the air and said, “God, I need Jesus.”
“My whole testimony is a testimony of God’s mercy.”
“I really don’t think a lot of the Lord’s children understand how much Jesus wants to help them and bless them.”
“The Lord will help me. I believe the Lord will help me.” – Henry’s favorite saying.
“My attitude is not determined by my circumstances. My attitude is determined by my consistent belief that the Lord will help me.”
Scriptures and Contact Information
When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. – John 8:12
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6
Contact Henry Mitchell through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to From Murderer to Messenger: How God Transformed a Prisoner Through His Word with Henry Mitchell
Or if you prefer to read the transcript please see below:
Welcome back to the podcast. Y’all I hope you’re enjoying your last few weeks of summer before the busyness of fall comes. I wanna give a shout out to Pickens first Baptist church for inviting me to speak. And my daughter, Elise, to sing a few weeks ago, what a great group of ladies with a wonderful team kicking off their women’s ministry program.
We had a lot of fun, especially seeing our former music director, Brian Hester, and his wonderful wife. Angie, I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed seeing them. Thanks so much for allowing Elise and I to be a part of your great event at Pickens first Baptist church. I wish you ladies, all the best as you work to grow your women’s ministry in your C.
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Check out Ashley’s Facebook page at TSS sweet treats, where you can order some of her desserts. Use the code sweet treats for 10% off your first order. This week on the podcast I’m interviewing Henry Mitchell. I should have called these last three interviews, the infinity series, because each of these guests have been, or are currently members of infinity church one Wednesday night after church Henry.
And I started talking and he told me about how God has been doing great things in his life. Now I knew Henry was released from prison almost three years ago, and that he’d served a long time, but I didn’t know what his crime was or how long he’d served. Well, I learned that three weeks after his 24th birthday, he had killed two people in a drug deal, gone bad.
He spent four and a half months in solitary confinement after his arrest and was sentenced to life with a possibility of parole in 20 years while he was in solitary confinement, he began reading a new Testament. A chaplain had given him and gave his life to Christ. He said he cried for three days because he didn’t believe a person could be cleansed like that.
Henry served almost 34 years in prison before he was finally granted parole on his 15th, try after his release. He started praying for God to bring him a good job, a nice home and a good affordable car. God took care of him by providing each one in some of the most incredible ways. You’re going to be blessed by Henry’s testimony.
And I hope that it will cause you to pray bold prayers and build a bold faith in your own life.
Hey friends, welcome to the building strong homes. One story at a time podcast. I’m your host. Carol Roper home is one of the most influential places in our lives. And building godly homes is a way for us to make a real difference in our upside down culture now. And for generations to come, mother Teresa’s quote says it.
If you wanna change the world, go home and love your family. Join me each week. As I interview guests and tell stories of those who’ve navigated challenges and found success in their own homes, allow these stories to inspire and equip you with the tools you need to keep building strong. Let’s get started today.
I am very excited to introduce you to Henry Mitchell and Henry and I. We started talking at church one evening. I had no idea of Henry’s. I knew a little bit of his story, but I didn’t know the depth of it. And after we had talked for probably an hour and a half, I started thinking and praying about it and thought need to introduce Henry to my listeners because he has such an incredible testimony.
So Henry, welcome to the podcast today. Thank you. Glad to be here. So we’re gonna go all the way back. I’m gonna share just a little bit. So Henry was in prison for almost 34 years. And we’re gonna go back. We’re gonna start with the childhood and how his life ended up taking a turn like that, but then how God brought him back.
So, Henry, would you share a little bit about where you grew up and how you grew up and then how you ended up in prison? Okay. I was one of 13 children. Uh, my mother had 13 children, but 10 of them I’ve never met. The last three was my father’s children. And my mother died. I was about two and a half years old and my father took me and an older brother, 14 months old and a younger brother, 18 months younger and brought us to Carolina.
So there are 10 of my mother’s children. I’d never met in my. Now you were in Georgia, is that right? Yes, we were born in Savannah. Okay. And we came to a, a place in South Carolina called Lin, South Carolina. Mm-hmm it was where my father grew up. The name of the actual little place that we grew up was Mitchellville.
Oh, okay. Yeah. So I like to say I’m Henry Mitchell from Mitchellville. That’s right. and, uh, and, uh, so I grew up there. My father raised my two brothers and I, until I was 11 and he died. Oh my goodness. And from there on, it was, uh, kind of like moving around from family to family. And at a very young age, I started hanging with older guys, started getting involved in the things that they were involved in.
And I’ve had a lot of time to think about this. And I think some of. Was, uh, like a lot of children today, they’re looking for something to identify with mm-hmm . And so I drifted toward that and, uh, it’s amazing that none of my other siblings did. Yeah. Because my father had a bunch of children too. Now mm-hmm , as I said earlier, my mother had 10 children before me and my two brothers that I never met, but my father had about 14 or 15 children from six or seven different women.
Wow. And I met most of them in my lifetime that that’s a lot of siblings that you have with lots of different mothers and fathers involved on each side. So how did you feel growing up as one of those 13 or 15 children? I know you don’t remember your mother. Family, you know, the children from there because you were only two when your dad came to get you, but then you were, I guess you were introduced to all your siblings that were from your dad.
So how did that make you feel as one of the children? Well, you gotta remember. I was quite young, right? Because you were 11, you said when you, right. When my fathers died, right. I was two and a half when my mothers died. Right. And, um, really it, it made me feel confused. Right. And even after my father died, growing up with that, I was confused.
You know, because as a young child, I can remember asking, I remember asking God, this question when I was after my father died, you know, how come this had to be me? Mm. I didn’t know the Lord. And I didn’t understand as much things as I understand now. Right. You know, but I was mostly confused and I’ll be honest, as far as all of that goes really outside of my two brother.
Who were my two brothers from my mother and father. Right. I never really had a great deal of interaction with my other siblings. Mm. I knew them. And at times I visited them and saw them and things like that, but I never did have a great deal of interaction with them. Mm. You know, as I told you earlier in my, uh, testimony, I started in the streets young.
Right. And, you know, and that was a thing also. Mm. Because, uh, for the most part, my folks were good people. Right. You know, there was no particular person who had come out of that family who had taken the route that I had taken, you know? And so that was another thing that kept me outside. And, and I believe a lot of who I was personally, even as a child kept me outside because I was never a type to care about if I was a part of the crowd or not.
You know, I think really, honestly, that I was kind of born that way. Mm. I mean, I can socialize and I can be with the crowd, but you know, if I’m not with the crowd, that was never something, even as a child that bothered me greatly, you were more independent. Yes. And I think my father’s death had a lot to do with that too.
Yeah. Because I can remember being about 12 or 13 years old and I’ll share this. I very rarely share this, but I will. I remember, uh, my father had died and, uh, one of my older brothers had moved in to, uh, take care of me and my two brothers. And, uh, for whatever reason, one Sunday morning, I decided to get up and go to church.
Mm. I still had a suit that they had bought for me to go to my father’s funeral. Mm. So I, I think I was about 12 years old and I decided to put this suit on and go to church. Did your dad take you to church? Yes. My dad took us to church all the time. Okay. But since his death, I, I hadn’t been to church maybe in 18 months, two years, but this particular Sunday, I decided to go to church and looking back on this.
And like I told you, over the years, I I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on a lot of things. Right, right. But this particular Sunday I put on my suit and I went to church and church was not that far away, maybe half a mile. And I went to church and I remember sitting by this lady and, uh, her family. And in my young mind, these people were good Christian people.
Mm. You know, but the lady, and I’ll never forget this and no, no, even I’m not even sharing this to shed any bad light on her. It was just an experience that happened in my life. Right. But the lady looked at me and the lady said to me, she said, what are you doing here? And I said to her, what do you mean, what am I doing here?
And she said to me, you’re kind, don’t come to church. What, that’s what she said to me co I’ll tell you the truth before God. And I can remember, I can remember getting up and walking out of that church and crying all the way back home. Oh my gosh. And I said, uh, no, this is what I said. I said, well, I don’t have a mom.
I don’t have a dad. And I said, even God don’t want me. I said, okay, it’s up to me to take care of me. Wow. That is so sad. I am so sorry. She said that to you. It’s don’t be sorry. It’s things happen in the world. Things happen in life. We have to be careful with our words though. Yes. You don’t. I mean, you were so young yes.
And had lost so much in your life already. Yes. But there’s a lot of cruel in the world. That’s right. It’s a lot of good in the world. It’s a lot of cruel in the world both ways. Yeah. You know, I mean, we grow up and we come to understand that. Yeah. You know, I mean, we can’t delude ourselves about these things.
Mm-hmm , you know, but the greatest blessing of life is that we know Jesus. Right. That’s right. You know, that’s the greatest blessing of life. But I remember that experience and I remember walking back, home crying all the way. Mm. And I said, it’s up to you. It’s up to you to take care of yourself. You know, though, that seems like it definitely could have been a turning point in your life.
Yeah. A lot of things happened, you know, that could have went either way. Right. That could have went either way. Yeah. And I think at that point in my life, I really. Gravitated towards the other way. Mm. You know, because my mindset was, you have to take care of yourself. Right. You know, that was my mindset.
Well, you didn’t have any parents. No. And the guardian that I did have the guardian, I mean, and no hard feelings against him either. Mm-hmm but he didn’t care. Mm-hmm I mean, to, to be absolutely honest, he didn’t care. Wow. And that was that. Yeah. You know, but I mean, praise the Lord. I mean, here we are today.
That’s right. Yes. Praise the Lord here we are today. And I think it’s so important to just say children know, they know if you care for them or not. Yes. And it’s so important to be there for them. So I just wanted to get that little bit of perspective from you as a child coming from that sort of, of a home life.
and, uh, so I started drifting toward the street and one thing led to another. I graduated from high school, had already been involved in drugs for a time. I was working on Hilton head. I went in the Marine Corps for three years, got out, came right back to the streets and, um, got involved with dealing drugs, using drugs.
And my life was just taking a whole downward spiral and got involved in violence. And at 24 years old, about less than three weeks after my 24th birthday, I killed two people and a drug sale. And, um, I got locked up. I was on the run for six weeks and, uh, I was finally apprehended. I got locked up, was brought back to this place, Lin, South Carolina.
And, uh, I was told that they were seeking the death penalty. And so I was put in a cell, um, solitary confinement for four and a half months while I was awaiting trial. Wow. And I definitely wanna share this part of it is that I was in that cell and I started thinking about God. I started thinking about my life and, uh, I reasoned that I was going to hell.
And I said to God, I said, well, I said, Lord, here I am 24 years old facing the death penalty. I haven’t done anything in my life. My life has counted for nothing. And now I’m going to hell. You know, I didn’t have the delusion that a lot of people hired that I wasn’t wicked. I knew I was wicked. You know, I knew I was wicked by the life I was living.
And so I started praying to God and I literally started praying not to go to hell. I, uh, used to say, Lord, I believe you exist. And I believe there’s a heaven. I said, my dad said he was a Christian, nothing against my dad, but, uh, my dad never shared a single scripture with me. And up until the time that he died, I went to church.
I never learned anything about the scripture. As a matter of fact, I was 24 years old living in America and I had never heard the word resurrection. Wow. Not once. Wow. And so I was in that solitary confinement. I was praying and I asked for a Bible and they brought me a little new Testament and I started reading it and one day, and I always wanna share this part of my testimony.
One day I was reading and, uh, a scripture jumped out at me. It was from the book of Matthew and the scripture said, you know, the light of the body is the eye. If your eye be single, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye be evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. And if the light that is in you is darkness how great that darkness is.
But the Lord use that scripture to convict me. I understood it like this, the whole root of my problem was inwardly. I was full of darkness. Mm. You know, I can’t say I could explain it in theological terms, but this is how I understood it. Mm-hmm , you know, so I started praying God, take away the darkness, God, take away the darkness.
God take a, and for two months, nothing happened. I was reading the Bible and I was praying like that. Now this is why you were waiting sentence. Right. I was in solitary confinement. And the only time I ever came outta the cell was to go to court. Well, let me ask you, why were you in solitary confinement?
Well, and this is true. When I was apprehended, they brought me to a place. They brought me back to Ridgeland, South Carolina, where the crime was committed in order to stand trial. There mm-hmm . But the first night I was incarcerated, the KU Klux Klan showed up. Oh my God, this was 1986. Wow. Yes. True. . And so they moved me to Hatton county, 40 miles away and put me in the back of the jail in solitary confinement.
I never came out that cell had a shower in it and everything. I never saw anybody only the officers who came was that for your protection or? Yes, that, I mean, that very well was for my projection. Wow. And, uh, it’s amazing that that type of stuff could go on in America in 1986, but nevertheless, it happened.
So if you don’t mind, I’d like to go back just a little bit. So you said it was a drug deal that had happened. Right. And just to make everything clear, there was no intent when you went to this drug deal of killing anybody that day, right? No, but I will be honest, there was intent for robbery. Mm-hmm that was my intention.
Right. You know, we had set up a drug sale. And I wasn’t gonna pay for the drugs. Mm-hmm I was going to take them, but I didn’t anticipate that there would be resistance. Oh. And so when everybody pulls guns and you have a gun, then that’s a situation for disaster, right? Yeah. And that is exactly what happened.
Two lives were lost that night. Mm. And, uh, in a great sense. Mine could have been lost. Right. You know, but I want to emphasize the mercy of the Lord. Jesus. Mm-hmm I want to emphasize that, and this is not here or there, but I wanna put it out there and you understand the KU Klux can thing, right? Yeah. The two people I killed were young white men and this place where we grew up, their family were the old money, power people in that whole area.
Okay. Yeah. And so to get a better understanding, right. So Henry, have you ever had any contact with the people, from the families of the men that you had taken their lives? Yes. This is a testimony. When I got out in November of 2019, uh, my brother came down from Atlanta and we were going home in March of 2020.
And, uh, we were gonna spend a few days down there with my sister. So we went home. We went back to the old community and, uh, a friend of mine had come down from Charleston to go to church with me and to visit. So after church, my friend and I, we went to her mother’s house and we ate and we were just riding around the town.
And, uh, my brother was somewhere at one of my Cousins’s house, watching basketball. So we were riding around town and I was getting ready to go back and join up with my brother. And I asked her to stop by a convenience store that I might get a Pepsi. And so, while I was in the store waiting in nine, there was a, a white lady in front of me and a black man behind me.
Mm-hmm and the black man said to me, he said, you’re Henry Mitchell. And so I turned around and I said, yes, I am. And he said to me, you don’t remember me. and I looked at him and I said, no, well, I said, you know, no disrespect, but I’ve been gone 35 years. Yeah. Long time. And he said, I know. And uh, he said, well, we used to play basketball together.
And we used to do this. And I’m so and so, and I remembered him then. And, uh, so we talked for a little bit going to the cash register and, uh, the white lady in front of me, she got her things that she stood to the side. And so after I got my things, she said, uh, are you Henry Mitchell? And I said, yes, I am.
And she said, can I speak with you for a moment? And I said, uh, I looked her up and down. And I said, sure. And she said, can we step outside? You know? And I looked her up and down again and I said, sure. So we stepped outside. And she said, uh I’m so and so, and I said, well, the name sounds familiar. And she said, well, I was the wife of one of the men that you killed.
Mm. And I said, okay. And she said, but, uh, I heard you were out. And she said, I heard you was a Christian. And she said, but I want you to know. That, uh, I forgave you a long time ago and she said, I’m glad that you’re out. I’m glad to hear that you’re a Christian. And she said, I hope you have a good life. And I told her, well, I appreciated that very much.
And, uh, I told her, I believe it was ordained of God that we meet here this day. Right. You know, because I mean, what are the chances of me returning home 35 years later and deciding to stop at this convenience store for a Pepsi at this particular time. Right? Yeah. You know, but I’m, I’m always talking about the mercy of the Lord.
Jesus. Mm. Yeah. You know, I’m always talking about his mercy, you know, how much the Lord loves us, how much the Lord will help us, how, how he do things to constantly affirm to us that I’m with you, I’m involved in your life. Mm-hmm , you know, but I want to, I want to emphasize too, that either believe we should be about seeking God about seeking his will and about wanting to do his will.
And I, I believe, you know, as long as we are on the course of seeking God and seeking his will and wanting to do his will, I believe things like that should happen in our life. Right. You know, when she first said who she was, what were your first thoughts? Like I said, the name was familiar. It did ring with me, but I wasn’t absolutely clear on it.
I was just kind of puzzling around in my head when she told me plainly, you know, I was the wife of your victims. Mm-hmm , you know, and then I remembered her clearly. Right. You know, it was like a scene from the courtroom flashed in my mind. Right. But I wasn’t never alarmed. Okay. You know, I wasn’t, I just said, okay.
And, uh, you know, just kind of like BR my hands and then she just, you know, said, well, she said, then I told her, I appreciate it greatly. You know, I believe that God had a day for us to meet there. And then yeah, that was, that was a real gift. Um, I know that was a gift. Yes. It was a blessing, things like that.
Bless you. Right. I mean, it blesses you tremendously. Right. You know, but like I said, my faith is that God is involved in our life. Mm-hmm we are his children and me, myself, and I don’t believe most of his children grasp the simplicity or the greatness of that truth. Mm. You know, we can relate to our own children and our own feelings for them, our love for them, our concern for them.
Right. But a lot of times we don’t make that connection. With the law, right. That and us being his children. Yeah. You know? Yeah. That’s right. So I was in solitary confinement and so I started praying Lord, take away the darkness. Mm-hmm , you know, take away the darkness. And for two months, nothing happened nothing.
And so I put that little Bible down and I laid down on that bunk and I was laying on that bunk three days and I kept saying, well, I guess God is not gonna forgive me. I guess I went too far. I guess what I did was so horrible that there’s no hope, you know, but I accepted that too. Mm-hmm , you know, because I had come to the place and my thinking, well, I’m here because of my choices, my decisions.
I wasn’t blaming anybody else. Mm-hmm when you are alone that long, you have a lot of time to think. Yeah, no TV, no radio. Wow. No people, no. Anything just you and a cell and a Bible. So I put that Bible down and I said, well, God, I said, I guess you’re not gonna forgive me. And I said, I can’t be mad at you, you know, because I did what I did.
And, but while I was laying there and I, I wanna say this again, I want to emphasize how merciful God is. Mm-hmm I was laying there and I had been laying there about two or three days. And this thought came to mind if you found out what your problem was in the Bible, that is where your answer is also.
Yeah. And a man in my situation didn’t need that much encouragement. Mm-hmm . And uh, so I picked the Bible up. I started reading it again and I read Matthew, I read mark. I read Luke and I was reading in John. I came to John eight, 12, and Jesus said, I am the light of the world. And any man that followed me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
And when I read that, when I read that. I saw it and I said, God, I put that little Bible down. And I, I stood up and I said, God, I said, Jesus is the light and I’m full of darkness, but the light takes away the darkness. And I put both of my hands in the air and I said, God, I need Jesus. And I was born again.
Wow. I had, when I speak of being born again, I had an experience. It wasn’t. I went to the, a alter and somebody says, say this prayer, right? I had an experience. Mm-hmm when the Lord washed away my sins. That’s what it was. I didn’t know it at the time, even though I was reading the scripture constantly, I cried for three days.
Mm. Because I did not believe. that a person could be cleanse like that. Wow. But I had experienced it mm-hmm so I couldn’t deny it. Mm-hmm but, and, and that was a great, great blessing to me. Right. Because, because of that, I never doubted the scripture. Mm. I never doubted the scripture for one second, because I said this happened to me because I was reading God’s word mm-hmm right.
This is why this happened. He put me under conviction through the scripture and he showed me my need for Jesus through the scripture. Right. And so I got saved. And, uh, here we are. I wanna illustrate selfishness for you. I started praying, well, Lord, I’m saved now and you know this, and I know this. So I said, well, you know, I don’t have to go to prison now.
Mm-hmm . I said, you know, they’re telling me I’m gonna get the death penalty. And they was telling me that constantly mm-hmm the prosecutor told me this face to face. I don’t even know if that was legal. Mm. But he did on several occasions. Wow. And, uh, the Lord gave me a dream. And in this dream I saw myself from prison.
I saw two guys I had grown up with, they were already in prison. And I saw myself talking to them, having that same little Bible, telling them about Jesus mm-hmm . So my brother came to visit me and I said, uh, I said, Hey man, find out where those guys are, what prison they’re in. That’s where I’m going. And he said, man, they’re saying you’re gonna get the death penalty.
And I said, no, I’m not gonna get a death penalty. I said, the Lord told me that I’m gonna be in prison talking to those two guys about. And he said, well, do you believe that? I said, yeah, I believe that. And uh, he said, well, the dream is a dream. I said, man, listen, I’m not going to prison. And then I had to appear before the prosecutor again.
And he said, uh, while your case is coming up in less than 30 days. And he said, it won’t be long after that, you’ll be receiving the death sentence. And so I said to him, I said, no. I said, no, the Lord is not gonna let you send me to death row. I said, as a matter of fact, you couldn’t give me the death penalty.
If I signed the papers, now and listen to this. And he thought I was crazy. he thought I was crazy so much that they sent me to Columbia to be psychologically evaluated for two weeks. Gosh. And, um, so I went to Colomb, you know, and I was evaluated and then psychiatrist held out. Reports said, no, he he’s fine.
He’s competent state trial. And just says, he seems to believe that he’s heard from God and he’s not gonna get the death penalty. Mm-hmm , that’s just, he’s adamant about this. Yeah. And, uh, so we went to court. And they painted me as just horrible monster. Uh, I might have been a monster, but not the monster that they painted me as, but that’s politics, that’s court that’s wanting to win.
And so I got up and I shared my testimony and I shared about my conversion in the courtroom. Yes. Yeah. And a lot of people, well, this is jailhouse religion. Oh yeah. There’s always that. Yeah, but that didn’t concern me. Mm-hmm because see, I knew I had an experience. Right. I knew the blood of Jesus washed away my sins.
Mm-hmm I didn’t know a bunch of religious talk. Right. But I knew what had happened to me and they were seeking the death penalty. Now, in order for them to give you the death penalty, it must be a unanimous decision by the jury. Mm-hmm everybody must vote for you to get the death penalty. But the whole time I was in court, the foreman of the jury kept looking at.
Me. And I shared this as part of my testimony in prison. I said, well, I had already believed the Lord. Wasn’t gonna let me go to death row. And, but this guy kept looking at me like I’m not gonna vote for that. I’m not gonna vote for that. Mm. And sure enough, they sentenced me to life and I would be eligible for parole in 20 years.
And, uh, so I went to prison. I went to prison as a Christian, and now I want to put this out there. There were times in my walk with the Lord where I was more fervent at times than at other times. Mm-hmm, , you know, I cannot adequately convey in words, what it’s like to, uh, do almost 34 years in prison. Can’t imagine the media, the age we live in, social media, people put things out there.
And the prison is no different. Mm. The prison tells the populations, this and the populations believe that yeah, you eat well, you have medical attention. We provide these classes, we provide this, we provide this, we provide this. But the truth of the matter is where prison is in South Carolina. Right now it is warehousing.
Mm. Because the prisons were not prepared for overpopulation. When I went to prison, there were not 10,000 people in prison. In this state. When I left the number was almost 40,000. Wow. Mm. And the mid eighties, nineties and onward, this. Music came. I, I may as well be blunt mm-hmm this gangster rap music.
Mm-hmm uh, this drug thing, social media, this gang thing, all of this stuff just came mm-hmm and with it came, all the things that come with it. Mm-hmm the violence, the drugs, the, and that caused a lot of people to go to prison. Mm-hmm caused a lot of people to die also. Yeah. Cause some of ’em to die in prison.
And, um, I was there, my whole testimony is, is a testimony of God’s mercy. Mm. I never had a fight. Wow. Something. Yes. Yes. And I’ve had roommates who have been horrible roommates. I’m not gonna tell you I wasn’t ever tempted, but the Lord always kept me. And I was so angry with a man. One time I was actually going to assault him.
Mm-hmm and the holy spirit spoke to my. And he said, if you do this, then you’re buying yourself here. Mm. And that stopped me. Yeah. It stopped me in my tracks. And I said, okay, Lord, I was wrong, you know, but I was angry. Mm-hmm . And so, you know, I did all this time in prison. I started up going up for parole in 2006.
So when you said you were sentenced to 20 years, I was sentenced to life. Okay. I could be eligible for parole in 20 years. Okay. So life, what did they consider life? Like literally the end of your life. When you say that? Yes. Okay. Yes. All right. Many people have a life sentence with no parole. Okay. That means unless they go back through the courts and get their sentence changed, they will die there.
Okay. Okay. So that was a big deal then that you got the parole in 20 years? I mean, yes. Yes. It was a very big deal. Yeah. And I started going up for parole in 2000. And, uh, I got turned down, you know, and my expectation and my praying was to get outta prison. Right. And I’m gonna say this also, a lot of people have these words, you know, well, it’s just not God’s will, and this and this and this and this, you know, and leave everything in the hands of the Lord and this and this and this and this, you know, but I was constantly praying, well, Lord, I wanna get outta jail.
Mm-hmm I hear what everybody else is saying, but I wanna get outta jail. Now. I went up for parole 14 times. Now this is how you are granted parole. They have a parole board. They have so many people sit on that board. The full board is seven people, but any number from three to seven can sit on the board.
Okay. But in order to be granted parole, you have to have a majority vote. Mm-hmm okay. So I went up 14 times. So my 14th time. Because they send you a letter telling you how many people voted for you, how many didn’t okay. You know? And, uh, my 14th time, they split three, three. And so I started walking around the prison.
I said, I’m leaving here next year. I said, next year, I’m gonna make parole. You know? And for people are cruel and a lot of people will not like you, if you talk about Jesus mm-hmm . I remember one time I went up for parole and I went back to the dorm and somebody said, did you make it? And I said, no, I didn’t make it.
And he said to me, he said, well, you’re always telling people about Jesus, tell Jesus, get you outta jail. Mm. And I said, well, Jesus, didn’t put me in jail. I said, I’m in jail. The same reason you are in jail, you committed crimes. Yeah. You know? And I said, well, mark this, I said, mark, this, the law would never let me die in prison.
Mm. And, um, I made parole the next year. Wow. Yes. So I went up for parole the next year. My brother hired a lawyer. Out of Columbia and he was there. The lawyer was there and, uh, a good friend of mine. I had met through prison ministries. He came into the prison, the minister, and we’re still good friends lives in PSER.
Name is Lynn ballad at the time he was, uh, Ville county Councilman. Okay. Just lost his county seat in the last election mm-hmm and, uh, he was there. And so we went up and I had written a letter to the parole board. This is the first time I’d ever done this. I had written him a three and a half page letter, and I had told him about my life and about what my intentions were, you know, uh, when I was released from prison, I told him about my faith in Jesus, you know, and I told him, you also have before me my prison record.
Mm. You know, because for having done that ti amount of time in prison, I didn’t have a lot of trouble. Yeah. You know, so I’m constantly emphasizing the mercy of Jesus, cuz I can look back on all of this and I can see this was the mercy of the Lord mm-hmm and um, I never dealt with a great deal of sickness, no health problems, none of those type of things.
Mm-hmm you know, so we went up that day and it was early in the morning. So we went in and they do parole virtual and they were on the screen. And when the, there was a lady who was the chairman of the parole board, she started asking me questions, my lawyer spoke. And then she said she wanted to talk to me.
And uh, so she started asking me questions and uh, when she started asking the questions, you know, I was about to cry. Then I knew right then. That I was, I was gonna be granted parole. Mm. Because everything she asked me was out of the letter, I had written her. Mm. So she had read it. Yes. So they said step out.
And, uh, we stepped out and, um, that’s, that’s how they do. They, you had the meeting, then you step out and you know, you wait on them to tell you. And all before 14 times before, you know, the guy had always came out and said, well, Mr. Mitchell you’ve been denied. And I always said the same thing. I’ll see you next year.
And so he came out this time and he was looking at his pad and he said, well, Mr. Mitchell, I’m gonna have to tell you. And so we all are looking at him. He said, I’m gonna have to tell you. He said, uh, when you get out, don’t eat too many big Macs. That’s how he told me I made parole. Wow. wow. Gosh. Yes. And, um, and I started crying as a matter of fact, I think I cried till I left prison.
Mm. I tried a lot after I got outta prison. and uh, so I had to wait. Yeah. How long was it between you and your release? One day short of six weeks. You still had another six weeks, right? That was probably nothing coming. Yeah. Well, it wasn’t, it wasn’t, it wasn’t, it flew by. Cause I was walking around prison saying it’s over with, you know, it’s over with.
Yeah. You know, and uh, then I told the people can be cruel. One guy said to me, you’re not out the door yet. No. I said, man, it’s over with man. so, uh, the day I made parole, I wanna share this. This is how the Lord got me to fountain in mm-hmm . Now, where were you? Where were, was your last? I was at Perry correctional institution.
I did my last 12 years there. Okay. Not far away. Yeah, not far at all. Right. And this is how the Lord got me to fountain. in prison. They have a program called jumpstart mm-hmm and it’s a 40 week program that you go through. And if you complete the program, it’s for people who, uh, have definite release dates or who have parole dates, if you are being released, or if you make parole, then they have like a transition house in Spartanberg.
You can go there and they’ll get you a job and help you transition into society. Mm-hmm . And so I had talked to the chaplain before, because I had gone through this program and I told the chaplain, I said, well, he said, well, Henry, he said, I deal with several transitional houses, at least three or four of them, but I can’t say to you, you can tell the parole board that you will be going here, but if you do make parole, just come see me.
And I said, okay. So I made parole. I went straight to, uh, the building that the chaplain’s office was in here. He was busy. Mm-hmm . He had somebody in there he was talking to. And, uh, so I was talking to all the guys in the building said, man, we hear you make parole. Everybody in prison called me soldier, soldier.
Yes. And, uh, said, man, soldier, we heard you make parole. I said, yeah. And I was still crying. And uh, but I didn’t care. Yeah. You know? And um, and I said, yeah, man, it’s over with, and that’s, I wait to see the chaplain, um, you know, try to make some arrangements, man, to, uh, get a place to stay and make provision for a job.
So while I was there, this lady came in, her name is Ms. Felicio gon. And she used to head classification worker at that prison been working in the prison like 30 years. And she walked in and she’s a Christian. And matter of fact, the only way I knew her by she was always walking around the prison saying the Lord bless you.
And now she been in the prison system, but she was always telling people about the Lord mm-hmm . And so she walked in and somebody said, Hey man, she do this kind of stuff. And so I walked over to her. I said, uh, I said, man, can I speak with you for a moment? And she said, sure. And I said, somebody told me that, um, you help people getting outta prison.
And she said, I do. And I said, well, um, they told me you help them get a place to stay and you help them find a job. And she said, I do. And she said, when you’re going up for parole, I said, I just made it. And she looked at me for about 15 seconds. She said, come talk with me. And so we sat in our office and we talked about 45 minutes and she said, no, she said, Mr.
Mitchell, this transitional house I run is a Christian base. You know, we have rules. And, um, we associate with a church. You may know where it is. It’s right down there on final street, off Fairview street. Right. Yeah. You know where that basketball court is. Yeah. And that church right across from it. Right.
Yeah. Okay. Then that house right there. That’s the transitional house, right? Yeah. So, uh, we sat out and we talked for about 45 minutes and she said to me, she said, now this is a Christian transitional house. I said, well, that’s great. I’m a Christian. and she said, uh, well, she said a lot of people say that until they get there.
And I said, okay, that’s understandable. You know, I mean, I did almost 34 years in prison. I mean, you know what game haven’t I seen mm-hmm and I said, but I said, is this fair? I said, you give me a place to stay and you give me a job and I’m not gonna tell you what I’ll do. I’ll show you what I’ll do is that fair?
Yeah. And she said, that’s fair. And she said, and she gave me a slip of paper. She says, here’s the address? You take this to the parole examiner. You tell ’em you got a place to stay and you got a job. and I hadn’t, I hadn’t made parole two hours earlier. Wow. yes. That’s pretty good. No, that’s the Lord. Yeah, that’s right.
And, uh, this is how I got the fountain in. Yeah. I never heard of fountain in, I didn’t know, fountain in existed. Well, I didn’t people go. Yeah. I didn’t know. There was such a place so my brother, he, uh, he got me a wardrobe together, got their phone. And I wanna say this, um, he’s my older brother. I grew up with him and, um, he was the only person who stuck by me.
Mm wow. You know, uh, for the most part I have a sister she’s 81. She wrote me and she helped out a little, but he was the only one who came and saw me, you know, whatever, whatever, whatever. And, um, he got me a war. and, uh, brought me an iPhone eight, which might as well have been a spaceship. Wow. I’m sure . And, uh, they were in Orlando in the family reunion, so he dropped all that stuff off to lend ball.
You know, one of the guys who was at the parole hearing and, uh, so he had all the stuff in and power and he came him and two other guys who I became my support group when I got out and I’ve known all these guys, they were coming into the prison to minister and that’s how we met. Okay. You know, all of them are Christian and they were involved in Christian prison ministry, Uhhuh known all of them.
One of them was my mentor. Okay. And, um, another one, he was with the Lynn ball group. They had a program called celebrate recovery. Yeah. And another one of em, I met through another Christian program called chiro. So three of them came and picked me up and brought my luggage and this and this. And, um, and they, they helped me tremendously.
And, uh, we went to crack a barrel, had. Dinner my first wow. Breakfast as a free man. That, that was awesome. yes. Breakfast. Yes, it was. And uh, I mean the whole experience was awesome. Yeah. And, uh, he took me to Walmart and after about two and a half hours of that, my first visit to Walmart, I was frustrated. I said, man, that’s enough, whatever.
I don’t have, I, it don’t matter now that’s enough. No, because they didn’t have super Walmarts when I went to Princeton. Right. They didn’t have the internet when I went to prison. That’s right. Yeah. And, um, they didn’t really have computers much when you exactly. And, um, so I got there and I started working six days later, the transitional house has a contract with this company called Kim strip.
Yeah. So they send you there to work. It starts out with nine 50 an hour. You work 40 hours a week. And when I say you work, you work, you work. They have a very high turnover rate. And the reason being, because you work and the salary is so low, but I didn’t care. Because, you know, I was walking around saying, well, Lord’s gonna help me get a better job.
Lord’s gonna help me get a better job. And, um, for five and a half months, my son was living in that transition house with me, which is an entirely another story. I won’t go into that. Mm-hmm . And uh, he said to me, one day, he said, dad, you’ve been saying that I’ve been hearing you saying that for three months.
Now the Lord is going to help you get a better job. Mm. And so three days later, I went to Kims strip. I was working from three 30 in the evening till two in the morning, but I went in this particular day and they said, we are gonna have to work till four in the morning because we have to get this order out.
And I hadn’t brought anything to eat that day. And it’s strenuous work. Mm-hmm, very strenuous work. Mm-hmm and, um, the eight and a half months I was there, I saw at least 15 people come to work there didn’t last a month. Wow. Yes. So I said, well, I had a MOED. I started out with a bicycle and I saved enough money and bought me a moped.
And, uh, so I said, well, they gave us an hour for lunch, nine to 10 at PM. And I said, I better go find something to eat. And I had to start in my mind. I want shrimp mm-hmm . So I had shrimp in the refrigerator because, uh, when I first got out, they gave me an EBT card. Mm-hmm $200 for 11 months glorious. And, uh, wait, $200 to last for how no, $200 a month for 11 months.
Okay. All right. I was like, not for 11 months, right? No, they, they, okay. They cut it off when I got a better job. Okay. Yeah. But it was glorious. Yeah. Yes, because I used to walk around prison saying one thing I’m gonna do all the days of my life when I get out, I’m going to eat well and I do that. no, honestly, this is true.
My monthly grocery bill is higher. That my car insurance phone, bill, internet, bill light, bill and water bill combined. Wow. Gosh, this is true. Pray praise the Lord. No, no. So you’re a well fed guy. Yes. I enjoy eating very much. I enjoy cooking very much. That’s good. You know, I love to eat well. Mm-hmm and um, I had that EBT card and I ate like a prince
Yeah. Can crab legs. Scallon wow. Shrimp, you take seafood lobster, lobster tail a couple of times. Yes. Red realize states. I ate like a prince. Yeah, no, I, I used to say, Lord, thank you for this EBT card and, but anyway, I went got on my Mo pad. I wanted shrimp. I said, well, an hour’s not enough time to go home and cook.
So there’s this bar called ORs on the corner. Mm-hmm and they sell jumbo fried shrimp. Okay. I had it there before. So I said, well, I’m going to Oregons. And uh, in my mind, I was fussing about paying my $13 when I had shrimp in the freezer but I said, well, I’m going to oranges and get me some shrimp. And so I went to Oregons and this lady was sitting there and we were sitting outside, they got an outside area.
Mm-hmm I was sitting over there. I said, Hey, ma’am how you doing? She said, I’m doing fine. How you doing? I said, I’m doing great praise to Lord. And she said, you’re a Christian. I said, yes. Ma’am. She said, I am too. I said, you mind if I come over there and, uh, share my meal and I share my testimony with you.
She said, no, come on over. And I went right on over there, started sharing my testimony about time. I done in prison, living in transitional house, having nine applications in online for jobs working at Kim’s strip, you know, trusting the Lord to gimme a better job and you know, just everything. And so I finished my meal.
I said, well, I gotta be back in 10 minutes. So I gotta go. I said, you mind if I pray with you? She said, no. And I prayed with her. And I said, okay, very nice meeting you. And she said, Henry, hold on. And she said, Henry, I’m gonna help you. And I said, okay. And she said, I’m the director of human resources for this place called Fort Dearborn over there, on that front road, by waffle house.
Mm-hmm my mom used to work there for 20 something years. you told me. Yeah. And uh, she says, I’m gonna give you a job. And I said, okay, great. She said, you mind working second shift? I said, no, I work second shift now. And, uh, she said, just come Monday at one o’clock and I’ll be there. And, uh, you don’t have to go online.
I’ll help you fill out an application. And she said, you don’t have to deal with a chip service. I’m gonna give you a full time job. Wow. So I said, praise the Lord. Yeah. And I said, yeah, you’re gonna help me. I said, well, how much is y’all gonna pay? And she said, it pays, it starts $16 an hour. And she said, well, since you’ll be working, uh, second shift, you’ll get a, a dollar more.
So you’ll be starting at $17 an hour. Wow. So I’m figuring in my mind, well, okay. I said, well, Jesus, that’s almost twice . Yeah. So I said, Jesus has gave me a $7 an hour raise. Yeah. And 80% less labor. Wow. And, uh, so I said, I will see you Monday. So I rolled my MOPA over there. And uh, she said, okay, you gotta take a drug test.
And she said, this is the address. And address is on Woodrow road. Mm-hmm . And she said, um, if you wait willing to wait a couple of days, I, I can make some arrangements for somebody to get you over there. Cuz she knew I had a Mo pad Uhhuh and I said, uh, I said, As soon I take the drug test, that’s soon I start working.
Right. And she said, yeah. And I said, okay. And I said, well, I have to get my job a two weeks notice. So she said, okay. And I said, I’ll just ride my MOPA at the Woodrow road and take the drug test. So she said, you’re gonna ride your moped, the Woodrow road. Yeah. Cuz it’s like for listeners who don’t live around here, it’s like at least 15 miles.
Yes. And Wooder road is the most busiest road in Greenville. In Greenville. Yeah. And uh, I said, yes, ma’am I am. I said, I’m. As a matter of fact, I’m going to woods floor right now. And, uh, she said, okay. She said, Henry, I like you already . And, uh, so I went there, took the drug test, they sent them new results.
And I went to work the next day. I gave them my two weeks notice, but I went back there and I said to my son, I said, well, you know, I’ve been saying the Lord gonna gimme another job, a better job. And I said, I’m not saying that no more. I have a better job now this was four days after he said that to me.
Wow. So I went there, I started working and, um, when I got out, I had got my beginners premiered about three months after I got out and they told. that I would have to wait six months to try for my license. Oh wow. Because they had no record of me ever having had a license. And so I said, okay. So I couldn’t try for my license till September mm-hmm
And uh, so one of my support group took me to try for my license in September. I started working there in August of 2020, and the first time I went to try for my license, I failed it. Oh yes. Because they were doing license at DMV. You wasn’t getting on the road because of COVID right. Because of COVID. All right.
And, uh, you had to make an appointment Uhhuh . So I went and I told. The lady who gave me the job. I said, listen, I’ve been trying to make an appointment everywhere to try for my license. And nobody got any open appointments and now I can try for my license. And she went on her computer and she said, I found one place in Greer that has an appointment for September the 11th, nine 11.
Oh, wow. And, um, and I said, okay. And so she made an appointment for me and you know, like I said, all, this was the blessing of the Lord. And so I support group, one of the members of my support group. He started letting me drive and da, da, da, da, and tried this parallel parking and all of these things. And I went there and I, the first thing you had to do with parallel park and I did it incorrectly, and the lady said, uh, Mr.
Mitchell, you didn’t do the parallel parking. Right. You failed the. And I said, I failed the test. I said, we just started the test and she said, yeah, but if you fail the parallel parking, you fail the test. Oh, wow. I said, well, I wish you had told me that before. Yeah. And I said, uh, I said, well, when can I come try again?
She said, well, if you’ve had a license before, you can come try a week now. And I take this as a large work too now, because she went in there on her computer. And I said, I had a license before, but I said, DMV and fountain then told me they had no record of that. She went in on her computer and she said, is your name Henry D.
Mitchell. And did you get this license in Richland, South Carolina? And I said, yes, it expired in 1988. And she said, that’s correct. You can come back next week. Wow. Gosh. yes. So I went back next week and I’m all now to be honest and I’m preaching trust in Jesus. Right. But I, I was all anxious about this driver’s test cuz I wanted my license so bad.
Right. And uh, so I got in and I had a different lady this time. This lady was a Christian mm-hmm . You had to do the parallel part first and I was messing it up and she was out there preaching to me. She cause they didn’t get in the vehicle. I’m talking about. She was literally preaching. She said, just trust the Lord, have faith.
And man, if I wasn’t so anxious about this test, it would’ve been hilarious. Wow. cause I’m changing my mind. She’s preaching to me. She doesn’t even know. And, and uh, so how much you’ve prayed for this, right? Yeah. No, no. I’m the preacher. Yeah. And uh, so she said Mr. Stein. So I shared my testimony with her and then she said, let me go inside and talk to somebody.
And so she went inside, stayed in about 10 to 12 minutes and the whole time I’m sitting in the car and my support group, the guy who brought me there, his name is Ronnie bell. He’s over there looking, shaking his head. And, but the whole time I’m praying. I said, no. I said, Jesus, don’t look like I’m going.
I’m going to ever get this right. I said, I need these people to let me get this test and, uh, pass this test. I said, now Lord, you can make this happen. And I’m just sitting there praying like this. So she come back out. She said, Mr. Mitchell, we are gonna continue with the test. So I said, praise the Lord.
Yeah. . And uh, so we continue with the tasks and I, I, the rest of it was easy. Mm-hmm so I got my license. And so every time I’m getting in the car to go drive and I’ll say, well, Lord, I trust you to get where I’m going and get me back. Cuz you know, they gave me to my license. Mm-hmm they literally gave me my license and uh, and so, uh, the next month, one of my support group, they called him.
I said, his name is bill and he’s a lawyer. And I said, bill, I got a license. And uh, they did a lot for me when I got out, you know, the cane picked me up, you know, made sure I had everything. I needed clothes. If I needed to go someplace, one of them was always available to take me where I needed to go. You know, to get the things done I needed to get done.
That’s really good. Yes. Yes. The Lord, the Lord blesses me. Mm. The Lord blesses me. Yeah. And I always emphasize this. I really don’t. Thank a lot of the Lord’s children understand how much Jesus wants to help them and bless them. Yeah. You know, so he said, Henry, we’ve gotta get together for lunch. So we had gotten together for lunch before cuz he, he was always busy and we went to Chick-fil-A and I had liked those uh Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches.
Yeah. They’re good. And uh, so I said, well, I’m going to church Sunday. I told him I’d already started going to infinity. And uh, that’s the Lord to tell you about that in a minute. And uh, he said, um, okay, so he said, I’m gonna church to I’ll pick you up out noon. So when he got there, I said, Hey man, we’re gonna Chick-fil-A.
He said no Chick-fil-A or open on Sunday. Oh yeah. And I said, okay. And he said, uh, he said, we’re going to my house. He said, my wife is preparing dinner and another Christian brother and his wife is there and we’re gonna sit down, we’re gonna have a meal and fellowship. I said, wonderful. Mm. And he said, he said, my wife said to me said, uh, bill, you are always talking about, Henry said, you’ve been talking about Henry for over 10 years.
you’ve been talking about Henry when Henry was in prison. You’re still talking about Henry Henry’s outta prison. I don’t know Henry mm-hmm so all I know is you talk about Henry and so why don’t you go get Henry and bring Henry to, uh, dinner. And so that’s how that came about. So we went there and, uh, bill and I are great friends and he’s a wonderful brother.
Loved Jesus. I mean, he’s faithful to the prison ministry, just a good soul through and through. Mm. Highly successful. Very, very humble. I mean, he’s just a good soul. Just one of those people is wonderful to be around. Mm. Yeah. So he came and got him and, uh, we went there, we got to his house. And, uh, he said, uh, I said, bill, what’s all these cards, man, would you run a car lot or something?
and he said, nah, he said, Henry, I wreck my car earlier this year. I bought me a new car. That’s my car, that’s my truck. That’s my wife’s car. I said, what’s the car sitting over there? And he said, well, he said, my mom died earlier this year. She was 89 years home. And he said, um, but I bought that car for her in 2003, when it was new, you know, he said, I’ve always kept it up, maintained it.
And he said, when I bought it, she was 72. So she never really drove it much. As a matter of fact, that car is almost 18 years old. Doesn’t have 80,000 miles on it. And I said, well, bill, you know, I just got my license. You wanna sell the car? And he said, yeah. And he said, I said, how much you want for it? I said, I’m saving water a car.
He said, well, let’s come on in. And, and let’s eat. And, and we stayed there almost four hours. Wow. yeah, because his wife was a wonderful cook and praise the Lord. And I like him when people invite me over for dinner, praise the Lord. And, uh, when all I had to do is eat the meal. That’s right. Yes . And uh, so he said, can you drive the car back to fountain and see if you like it?
And I said, man, bill, I love the car. And I said, man, I believe the Lord wants, uh, you to sum me this car. He said, okay, I’m gonna go back and talk to my wife. And he said, we’ll pray about it. He said, I’ll give you a call within an hour. And I said, okay, great. So I got back to the transition house. Now they got rules and we were supposed to have girls there.
Mm-hmm you know, and, uh, but one of the guys had a girl there that particular day and there were other two other of my housemates there. So I walk in and the one who had the girl, he was quite young in this, still in this mid to late twenties. And he told the little girl, he said, I called her little girl, but she was, you know, and I, she said, Hey, he said, that’s Henry.
He said, man, Henry is a great guy. He said, but Henry’s a Jesus freak now. So don’t start conversations with Henry. You don’t wanna hear about Jesus and she’s giggling. I said, whatever, whatever. I said, man, the Lord’s about to give me a card. And they said, Henry, the Lord is always about to give you something, man.
And I said, honestly, Lord’s about to get in a car. So I’m sitting there telling them about the car and bill called. So I put bill on the speakerphone. I said, bill, I’m glad you called man. I’m just telling my housemates said, Lord’s about to give me a car. And bill said, yeah, Henry, Lord’s about to give you a car and he said, man, and my wife talked about it and we prayed about it.
And he said, yeah, the Lord wants you to have this car Henry, we’re gonna sell you this car. I said, see, I told y’all and uh, and I said, how much you gonna sell? Tell me the car for a bill. And he said, Henry, we’re gonna sell you this car for $10. and now I’m gonna drop the phone. I kept my potion, but I’m gonna drop the phone and everybody.
Mouth and the house was open. I’m sure I’m not exaggerating. Everybody. Mouth fell open. And um, so he said, you find out what we need to do to get you this car. I want you to get to have this car as soon as possible. And I said, great. So I called the, the member of my support group. Who’s the county Councilman.
He would know about this stuff, right? Yeah. And I said, Hey man, this is the situation. And I said, man, I want you to tell me what we need to do. He said, I’ll text you all the information. He text me the information. I texted the bill. So he said, what’s a good time for you. And I said, uh, Friday is a good time.
I said that Thursday’s my last day at the old job. I’m all Friday. Good. I sought the new job, the following Tuesday. And he said, okay. He said, I’ll pick you up eight o’clock Friday morning. And uh, he picked me up and we went there, paid the taxes, got registration in my name, got the title in my name. Got the tags and, uh, got to bill a sale, $10 and uh, he said, Henry, you keep that $10 and buy lunch.
Aw. by 11 o’clock. I was back at the transitional house with the car, everything in order insurance included. Wow. When he came to pick me up, we were all working that same job. So all of us were off that Friday, Uhhuh all of my roommates were outside. We gotta see this car. Cause they thinking this a Gelan
And so when they see the car, one of ’em can’t help himself. He says, man, are you really gonna sell Henry this car for $10? And he said, that’s a done deal. Wow. So when I got back with the car, they were just shaking their head and uh, when ’em actually said to me, he said, Henry, you know what, man, you are always in that room, reading the Bible and praying.
Man, I think I’m gonna start reading the Bible in praying. He actually said that to me. Wow. Now I don’t know if he ever did it. Yeah. You know, but, but he’s looking at the blessing. Right? So that’s how I got the car and then I wanna share this. So I was there and I had been there 15 months, you know? And, uh, I kept praying to the Lord saying, okay, Lord, this is why I wanna accomplish.
While I’m at this transitional house, I want to get my license. I want to get a car. I want to learn certain things, you know, so I can transition into my own place and I want to save X amount of dollars. So when I was getting near the goal, I started praying, you know, I’m saying, well, Lord, I want you to help me find an apartment.
I want you to help me find an apartment. And I, I was praying like this constantly mm-hmm and, uh, you know, because I was dreaming about it. Mm-hmm , you know, because I had lived with people right. More than 35 years. So I was praying and this place kept coming to mind. You know, I was praying and the more I would pray, the more this place would come to mind, Palisades mm-hmm
And my brother, I had gone to Atlanta to visit my brother long before I had a car. And we had stopped by Palisades on our way back from Atlanta mm-hmm , you know, but see, I didn’t know, the Lord was leading then. And so I said, well, I’m gonna go down to this place and I’m gonna find out what’s going on. So I went down there and I talked to the folks and I said, Hey, uh, what do you charge for a one bedroom, one bath?
And the lady said, uh, a thousand dollars a month light and utility, not, I mean, water and utility. I include in. And I said, okay, ma’am I appreciate that. I said, but you know what? I think I’m gonna go pray some more mm-hmm . So I went back to praying and I, you know, I just told the Lord, I said, well, Lord, these people are talking about a thousand dollars.
You know, maybe I’m not understanding this. Right. and, uh, no, but I’m sure you how the Lord works it out. I filed my income taxes. At that time, they were given away their stimulus money because of C mm-hmm . And so I filed my income taxes. I went to H and R block and I filed my income taxes and five weeks my income taxes and their stimulus money over $5,000.
Wow. Were deposited into my checking account. Wow. yes. Praise the Lord. And I said, okay. So I went back down there and I filled out an application. They got to the part, have you ever been convicted of a felony? So I filled out that the lady looked at it and uh, she said, well, Henry, um, essentially on this application you did almost 34 years in prison.
And I said, yes, that’s true. And, um, she said, uh, she said, well, Henry I’m, I’m gonna have to be Frank with you. I don’t know that they’ve ever approved a person’s application with your background. And I said, well, uh, her name is, uh, Jenny. I said, well, Jenny, listen to me. I said, I’m not gonna beat you across the head with nobody about your scripture and I’m not gonna shock Jesus at you.
I said, but I’ve been praying about this and I’ve been praying about this. And I believe that the Lord wants me to live in Palisades. So she’s not a Christian. So she said, you know, she gave me that expression, you know, for that eight crazy person. Yeah. She said, you know, then she gave me the benefit of the doubt.
I don’t think this guy’s crazy. You know? So she says, okay, she says, I hear you. But she says, I I’m just telling you. So I left there, went back to the transitional house and she had called three times between a five minute trip from there to the transition house. Wow. She had put the application in on the computer.
And so I said, well, Jenny, uh, what’s so urgent. And she said, well, Henry, I tried to warn you about this. She said, the folks I put the application in and they want to know why you were incarcerated for that length of time. And I said, well, Jenny, you tell them. you know, that I was incarcerated for two murders and I said, but Jenny, you also tell them that that’s who I was.
That’s not who I am. Mm. And she said, Henry, I tried to tell you, I said, Jenny, listen. I said, listen to me. I said, don’t concern yourself with this. You know? So when you get off of work, go take a bath and eat a meal and go to sleep. I said, this is in the Lord’s hands said, okay. Okay. So that was Friday. I went to lunch break Monday and again, she had called three times.
So I said, Jenny what’s urgent. And she said, didn’t you not only did they approve your application, they approved in less than 72 hours. Wow. so I said, okay, I’ve been saying, I believe this is where the Lord has. And, uh, and I love Palisades. Well, it is for those who don’t know. Yeah. But it is a very new apartment complex and it is a beautiful place.
Yes. So that, I mean, it’s like from prisoner to Palisades yes. And the Lord bless me so much. I live in the building closest to the swimming pool. Oh, well, that’s great. and you live almost across the street from your job. I live two minutes from my job. Yeah. It’s great. Yes. Praise the Lord. I keep emphasizing the great mercy of the Lord Jesus for his children.
Mm. We have to believe in it though. Yeah. We have to believe in his mercy. Right. You know, so many times we are so caught up in all of our issues. Mm-hmm. You know, all of our imperfections, all of the things that we struggle with, Jesus knows all of these things. Mm-hmm, when he saved us, he knew all of these things.
We have to believe that he will help us. Right. I always try to emphasize that one of my favorite sayings, you may hear me say this a thousand times, 10,000 times in my lifetime, the Lord will help me. Mm-hmm I believe the Lord will help me. Yes. And I got that job and tell you how I got to infinity. I had the MOED and they have these concerts and fountain in during the summer mm-hmm Friday nights.
Right? And so, uh, one Friday night, I was just at the transition house and I heard the music and I said, what’s. You know, cuz you could hear the music from there. And I said, well, I’m get on my Mo Pedic go investigate. And I went out there, band was playing, they were playing uh, like 70 eighties music. I said, okay, okay.
And uh, said I hang around. You know? So I’m walking around, looking around, you know? And I said, this is nice whole lot of people. Yeah. So I, I ran up on some people and I started talking to. And, uh, I started asking them about, you know, did they believe in God and this and this and this and this. And we were there having this conversation and, um, you know, their belief was, they believed God existed, you know, but they didn’t belong to a church.
They didn’t belong to this, you know? And I was telling ’em, well, you know, I started sharing my testimony with them and, uh, I told ’em. I said, man, the reason I’m allowed today is because of Jesus Christ. I’m telling you, Jesus Christ is alive. I’m telling you just like the Bible says, the guy raised him from the dead that he is in heaven.
You know that he loves you. You know, he loves me that Jesus helped me through almost 34 years of prison. You know, that Jesus kept me healthy, kept me strong, you know, kept me sound, you know, and I’m saying all this stuff to them. So, uh, Ligen king and his wife is standing over there listening, uh, So they come over and they said, uh, you know, we were listening to your conversation.
Uh, we like to invite you to church. And I said, okay, that’s good. I said, because I’ve been praying about going to church, cuz I like to go to church. I like to be in church mm-hmm you know? And um, I said, where you go to church, they said, we go infinity. So I put it in on the map, on my phone. I said, well, okay, that’s a mile and a half away so I can ride my more there.
And I said, because the church at the, uh, in transitional house, they have a church. And part of our contract with that place was that we had to be in church every Sunday, if we weren’t working mm-hmm but they were closed. They had been closed for a couple of months because of COVID. Oh wow. And I said, okay.
I said, great. I said, I see you in church Sunday. So I went in infinity as long to transitional house was closed. I kept going to infinity mm-hmm . So after I’d been there about three or four months, I said, well, I said, uh, I believe this is where the law wants me to. you know, so I started talking to pastor Phillip.
I said, pastor, listen. I said, man, I believe the all wants me to be at infinity. And I said, man, I have a contract with this transition house. So as long as I’m there, I have to be a member of that church. I said, but when I leave there, I said, you know, I want to join infinity. Phillip said, okay. You know, we said, oh, we’ll talk.
Mm-hmm . And I said, okay. So, uh, so I got my apartment in April and so I went, I said, okay, Philip, I’ve left there. Now I wanna to join. So we, we met and we talked and, you know, signed a contract, you know, mm-hmm and um, it’s more like a covenant sort of thing. Right. It’s not really a contract. Well, yes, yes.
That you can’t get out. Yes. I mean you praise the Lord. Yes. And, um, just for those who don’t know yes, yes, yes. That’s good that you clarify that. and um, so I’ve been at affinity now since April of 2021. Okay. Well you came right before we did, then I think we started in may. And I love infinity mm-hmm and the Lord is, uh, provided opportunities.
I have gotten to go a few places, share my testimony. Mm-hmm you know, but I’m always sharing my testimony. Mm-hmm you know, like I told you, I work at Fort Dearborn and uh, there’s about 200 people there. Mm-hmm and uh, I bet you, at least 70% of ’em have heard my testimony. Wow. Yes, no. I’m always sharing my testimony.
I’m not surprised yes. Praise the Lord. No, but praise the Lord. That’s right. It’s an open door for me to talk about Jesus. That’s right. See, a lot of people will not simply allow you to walk up to them and just start talking about Jesus. Right. You know, because one lady said to me, she said, Henry, how long you been here?
I said about 18 months now I’ve been there almost two years. Now. She said, I wanna ask you a question. I said, sure. She says, how is it? You never have a down day? And I said, well, I said, my attitude is not determined by my circumstances. Mm. I said, no, nothing goes right all the time in anyone’s life. Right.
You know, I said, but my attitude is determined by my constant belief that the Lord is with me. Mm. And I said, furthermore, you don’t know my story. And she said, well, tell me your story sometime. And, uh, it happened, I ran into her at dollar general on main street. One evening I was coming out. She was going in and uh, she said, Hey, you know, yes, I’m great.
And I have my card then. And I said, you got a few minutes. And she said, yeah, yeah. She said, I got, I got some time. And I said, you wanna hear my story? She said, yeah, yeah. You told me about a month ago. You were gonna tell me your story. And we stood outside of dollar general and we must have talked 90 minutes.
Wow. That’s about how long me and you talk praise, Lord. And she said, she said this to me. She said, Henry, you know what? Here are your testimony. She said, I used to go to church all the time, but I’ve been slack. She said, but I do believe in the Lord, but I’ve been slacking that too, you know, but she said, Henry, you know, hearing your testimony, it, it really makes me think about my relationship with the Lord and what I need to be doing in my relationship with the Lord.
And, uh, we still work together. So, you know, that’s my thing. Well, talking is my thing. Yeah. Talking is your thing. yeah. You have the voice for it too. So yeah. Well, praise a Lord. So the only thing I think I would like to ask as we close is, is there like a scripture that you might want to share with the listeners?
Something that has really been helpful to you over your, I will share my favorite scripture. Okay. Good. In the entire Bible. Okay. Hebrews 11, six mm-hmm but without faith, it is impossible to please him. Yep. For he, that cometh to God must believe. That he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Amen. My understanding of that scripture is, is that my faith must compel me to seek God. Mm-hmm well, Henry, I have to say that you have, I think more faith than anybody that I’ve ever met. Well, I don’t know about that. Praise the Lord, but God has rewarded that faith, praise the Lord. And I think he’s gonna keep rewarding.
I know he’s gonna keep rewarding that faith, praise the Lord and he’s. Well, my whole heart desire is to keep seeking him. Yes. And as we all should. And I know that God’s gonna do great things with your story and he’s gonna read to a lot of people. You know, I don’t know. Do you have an email address or anything, Henry?
Yes. So I tell you what, I’m gonna put your email address on my website, if that’s okay with you. That’s excellent. And someone may give me a chance to come talk. Yeah, yeah. That’s right. So if anybody wants to reach out to Henry, you know, maybe they’ve had a similar experience or maybe their family member has, and they wanna talk to Henry and I promise you, Henry will give you lots of great encouragement and sound advice.
So Henry, thank you so much. Thank you very much. All right. Praise the Lord. I hope Henry’s life first encouraged and inspired you as much as it did me. How awesome is it that God rewards those who diligently seek him? Henry’s story certainly proves that. And I appreciate so much him sharing his testimony with you here.
I thought one of the most compelling things that he shared was how just reading a new Testament, brought him to in saving faith. Isn’t God’s grace and mercy. So amazing. If you’re struggling with something you’ve done in the past and don’t believe God could ever forgive you. I hope knowing Henry’s story will help you understand that God will forgive you no matter what you’ve done, as long as you repent and accept Jesus as your Lord and savior.
And if you’d like to reach out to Henry through email, just go to Carol roper.org, to find the link to his email address and send him a message he’d love to encourage you in your own faith. Next time I hope you’ll join us. As I interview Julie Sellers, Julie has just released a book based on her difficult relationship with her father called yes, father a daughter’s journey to forgive.
When Julie agreed to care for her father, the decision wasn’t easy. She had to reconcile years of abuse with the growing need to help him as his memory diminished. If you’ve longed to restore a broken family relationship or have cared for a parent with Alzheimer’s, you’ll relate to Julie’s struggle of hanging on hope in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Thanks so much for joining me for another episode. If you enjoyed the show, would you please click to subscribe and leave a five star review your reviews, help us to reach more people with our message. And if you’d like to check out the links and show notes, hop on over to Carol roper.org, where you’ll find more great content, have an awesome week, and remember, keep building strong.