On the day Greg Zumwalt was going to walk through the prison block wielding his axe before putting a bullet through his own head, was the day he found himself in front of the doors of the prison chapel.
He had made a complete mess of his life and was at the end of his rope. He thought that the only way to make things better was to take his own life but, after he went into the chapel, he found a hope and a love much more powerful than the clutches of darkness and sin.
Years before, Greg had been convicted of first degree murder and attempted second degree murder and given a life sentence behind the bars of Louisiana's Angola State Penitentiary which, in his words, "is a rough place to go to."
"There were not too many restrictions on what went on underground here," Greg says. "It left a door open for the Devil to get a hold of people in here and do whatever he wished. It was a weak place in my life and the enemy saw access and came in."
Greg goes on to describe his nightly rituals in which he would worship Satan, the lord of darkness, and offer up sacrifices to him. "It was pitch black at night and it was nothing [to me] to sit down on the floor, take my clothes off, sit in between the bunks and perform my little services [to Satan]. It was not questioned by anybody even when I offered up sacrifices and all that.
"I still have the number 666 tattooed on my chest and I wear it, more or less, as a testimony of who I am not anymore," he proclaims before telling of the time when he hit rock-bottom in prison: "The hopelessness of it all caved in on me. I would just stand back and contemplate making a rope and putting it around my neck. All I would have to do is just step off something and they would find me."
However, as these thoughts went through Greg's mind, an "evil rose up in me, a desire not to do it like that. I was going to go out with a bang. I was going to give them something to talk about for the next 20 years."
Greg had access to a pile of leftover metals and irons and he had the tools to put something together. "I was going to build myself an axe," he says. "I was going to go and make a mess of [things] before walking through the back and putting a bullet through my head.
"I was to the actual point where I had my hands on the metal and was thinking, 'Let's get this thing rolling.'"
To this day, Greg says "that I cannot tell you how I wound up with a signed clearance pass in my hands and was standing in front of this chapel. I went in and sat down with the chaplain, who was not even supposed to be there."
Twenty minutes after Greg had entered the building, "I was on the floor and gave my life to the Lord. A week later, I was baptised and I have never looked back."
At first, Greg found it difficult to go to church because he was afraid of what his friends would think. "I knew I wanted to go to church. I was drawn there. I would go out there and sit [outside] and listen to the services.
"One day I got up the gumption to get out there and sit in the back pews. Friends of mine would walk by and I would slide down in the seat so they would not see me," he smiles. "Two months later, I was sitting in the front pews and, as they would walk by, I would be hollering at them and they would ducking their heads trying to get past me. I would say, 'Come on over here, I have got a place for you. You need to listen to some of this stuff.'
"So, there was definitely a change, glory be to God. He definitely changes people and I can say that with all confidence and truth. He changes everything."•