At Bever Creek Institutional prison in Ontario, Canada, inmate Darue Ramsey is wide-awake. A marijuana and cocaine addict, he snorts his sleeping pills just to have the feeling of something up his nose. He can't sleep unless he is high, and even then he barely gets any rest.
Darue grew up around drugs, in an abusive home when he had to watch his drug-addicted mother be beaten by his stepfather for six years.
He was angry at the world, he says, and held bitterness towards his family, particularly his mother. He blamed her for the environment he was forced to grow up in, for the bad habits he developed for which she blamed him, for his nonexistent relationship with his father, and for not being told until he was 12 years old the man he grew up with was not his biological dad.
As he grew and became addicted to drugs himself, Darue accumulated a debt he could only pay back through extortion and robbery, until his debtor reported him to the police when he continuously fell short.
He was out on bail for three years before being sentenced, and he spent a majority of that time in downtown Toronto selling drugs.
Until, he recalls, a woman with a bullhorn changed his life.
"Every Sunday," Darue says, "this woman who had a small church on the corner I sold my drugs on would speak in her bullhorn to get people nearby into her church.
"Finally one day she approached me to come in. I tried to keep walking but she grabbed me and asked me to go inside.
"I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as she touched me and I was saved that day in the church."
Darue says when he was saved he "witnessed the Holy Spirit [God's presence] fill my soul and renew my body".
"That's when I found out that the Holy Spirit was and is real."
Two years ago, Darue was sentenced to four years in prison. For a time, the desire for drugs persisted, hence he snorted sleeping pills. But ultimately, he says God has made a huge difference in his life.
"I've learned to forgive others when before all I did was hold resentment and bitterness, and I have the urge to help others," he says.
"God has also given me the Holy Spirit to teach my three children the Word of God, we do family Bible studies over the telephone and will continue them once I am released.
"God has helped me by allowing me to have salvation and to turn to Him for guidance and direction. I am able to trust Him when I face difficulty in life, whereas before I couldn't, I would blame Him for things time and time again.
“We are all
shadows”"Now I give Him thanks even when times are difficult."
With his hope renewed, Darue has big plans for his life after his release. He says he wants to study creative writing and theology in college and become a Christian motivational writer and counselor.
While in prison he has already written a book called The Enlightened Shadows of Trials, and he says he looks forward to publishing it when he gets out.
"The book is about the darkness of our lives and what it represents," Darue says. "It also explains how to get through things that I've been through like addictions, depression, temptations, and trials.
"Then it instructs how to live an enlightened life — to love, have faith, and live out the fruits [character traits] of God's Spirit.
"An enlightened shadow is who we are," Darue adds.
"We all have darkness until the light of God touches our souls and purifies our minds and that's what my book represents.
"In order to see the light of God in our lives and live it out we have to accept the truth of Jesus into our lives."•