|I was arrested for crystal meth. After jail, I had no place to go. After 17 years of daily drug use, I wanted to die. I was sent to New Song and began Bible studies. There I learned and met the Person of Jesus Christ. I learned He is Holy, but also full of grace and mercy, sending His Son to pay my huge sin debt. I was amazed He could love me that much. I repented and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I was baptized and emerged a new man to glorify my Father in all I do."|
|~ James Zuidema|
I was born
in Phoenix, Arizona to a good loving family.
But at an early age I took to the streets always wanting to hang out with so called friends. We were no angels and I quickly began to learn how to steal and make money fast and easy.
When I was 14 years old, I began to experiment with drugs and by the time I was 16 years old, I had a heroin habit that would haunt and control my life for the next 34 years.
Even though I was sent to prison at the age of 19, I still continued to use narcotics in the prison system. I would smuggle them in personally and would even bribe guards to bring it in for me whenever possible.
This brought me to the attention of a very violent and dangerous prison gang. And as time went on, I began to know them all and before I knew it I was in their circle. I thought I was cool having all that respect and power in prison but as the years went by, I began to realize it wasn't respect, it was fear.<
About this time my environment and life was extremely violent. I was so stressed out that I was even paranoid at times, dreading the moment I was told to go to harm someone for being late on a drug debt or disrespecting one of us who I ran with.
I needed to find some kind of peace inside, away from all the chaos around me. So at night when all the cell doors were locked and I could unwind a little, I began to pick up the Bible to read. It seemed like reading scripture was the only thing that would give me inner peace and I truly loved it. This would be my routine for the next 18 1/2 years in prison.
When I was finally realeased I went back to my old ways, doing drugs and committing crimes. But the Holy Spirit was moving inside me. The mustard seed was planted and on the verge of growing.
One day I was passing through Wickenburg, Arizona and was pulled over and searched. I was found to possess a small quantity of heroin on me. Of course, I was sent to jail in Yavapai County. After 3 months I was given a choice by the judge - go to prison for 3 1/2 years or do this program called Drug Court and confront my addiction. I had 3 recovery homes to choose from and I chose New Song.
For some reason the LORD guided me to New Song Recovery Home for Men and has given me a heart transplant. I give Him thanks and praise every single day and night for having mercy and grace on me for this. It truly was a blessing in disguise.
On February 16, 2014 I counted myself as one of His and was baptized for the congregation at Alliance Bible Church.
Since I surrendered my life to our Lord and Saviour, my life has been blessed beyond measure. I have inner peace and my heart is full of joy each and every day. Even though my walk with God is in its infancy, I look forward to my new life with Him. My covenant with Him only gets stronger and stronger as I learn and understand His word, the Living Word.
Here at New Song we learn scripture by reading it word by word, chapter by chapter. I am so grateful for Pastor Randy, Jimmy and all the staff at New Song for their wisdom, patience and love. Also to Alliance Bible Church for accepting me into their church family. But especially to our Heavenly Father for not forsaking me for all the sins I've done.
~ Name Withheld
What We Learn