Rickey Holliman is now nearly 50 and has spent almost half his life behind bars for having sex with an underage girl while in his early 20s.
This came after years of "envy, jealousy, pride and unforgiveness, a bad attitude, and drug and alcohol addiction," he admits.
Rickey lost his dad when he was 15 and his mum struggled to provide for him. "I went downhill by quitting school, I started to get into drugs and was on the streets hanging out with the wrong crowd." Later Rickey left home.
After being sentenced to 25 years in jail for sexually assaulting a minor, which was due Rickey maintains to misinformation and a misunderstanding, he felt sorrow, regret and anger that now his whole life was judged by one incident.
In jail he heard other prisoners talk about God. He heard on the prison radio what was meant by "God's love": that He wanted a relationship with us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for us and pay for all the wrong things we would ever do or think, and all the right things we would fail to do.
Rickey realized that in his life he kept doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results. He admitted his soul was lost and he no longer wanted to live the life he had. He decided to hand the whole mess over to God in prayer and get the answers he needed by reading the Bible.
"The best gift we can give to God is ourselves," he finally understood.
"I confessed my sins and repented, believing that God died for me and was raised three days afterwards. I am now a Christian because God says I am." Romans 10:9 says: 'If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.'
Now that Rickey has found Christ he feels that his life has been given back to him and he wants to show others the same love that God has shown him.
Rickey's life is very different since he turned to God eight and a half years ago. "God has helped me deal with my past. I'm more positive and I'm eager to start rebuilding relationships with my friends and family once I get out. He has helped me in my struggle with depression and fear."
Once he is out of prison Rickey looks forward to settling down and starting a family of his own.
He has a message for other prisoners: "Get your heart right with God before it is too late. God has such a better life for us if we just believe and accept Him as Lord and Savior.
"It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance and our destiny. I have learned the hard way that every other path is a dead end.
"You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense.
"God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about Him. His purpose for your life predates your conception.
"If you give your life to Him, God will show you what true freedom is really all about."•