Eric has been serving a life sentence in an Alabama prison since 2000. He started using drugs as a teenager, and before long, he was selling them. When a drug deal went bad, he killed a would-be customer.
At age 17, Eric was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Eric’s girlfriend was pregnant when he was locked up. Their daughter, Alexandria, was born five months later.
Eric was an atheist when he went to prison and remained one for his first nine years behind bars, until a fellow prisoner reached out to him with the Gospel.
“I knew I was missing something,” he recalls. “I had that friend of mine who was involved in ministry, and I just walked up to him and basically told him I was ready. He knew exactly what I was talking about.”
Eric met daily with his friend to read the Bible. But then Eric was transferred to a different prison and fell away from his faith.
Thankfully, Prison Fellowship was active in his new facility. When a Christian inmate saw Eric trying to turn his life around, he invited him to join Transformational Ministry, Prison Fellowship’s year-long Bible-based program. Eric enrolled right away.
“I learned to be a better father, to be a better son, and a better leader,” he explains.
As soon as Eric heard about Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program, he signed up Alexandria so she could receive Christmas presents in his name.
He says, “It shows her that during the Christmas holidays, she’s always on my mind.”
After finishing the Transformational Ministry program a few years ago, Eric began facilitating the program for other inmates at his prison. He also started a softball league for his fellow prisoners. He uses sports as a platform for teaching biblical principles and values.
“I see so many youngsters come through the system now, and they just get trapped in the prison life, and I’m in a position where I might be able to deter them,” he says. “I can reach the young generation because I can intertwine softball with the Word.”
Eric hopes that someday he can spread his softball ministry to prisons throughout the state of Alabama.
He shares his motivation: “I feel that God can take me from where I was to where I’m at now, and He can do that with anyone.”
Eric looks forward to his parole hearing scheduled for August. Please pray that God will pave the way for Eric to return home to his daughter, and eventually, to return to prison as a volunteer to share his softball ministry.
Edited and updated by Rebekah L. Stratton