By the time he was 15 years old, Arthur Medina was a runaway living on the streets in Texas. It wasn’t long before he turned to crime just to survive.
Art earned his living stealing cars and running them across the border. But when a carjacking attempt left someone dead, 17-year-old Art was sentenced to life in prison.
“I felt my life was over,” he says.
A fight with a fellow prisoner who had sexually assaulted him nearly killed his assailant, and earned Art another 119 years on his sentence—including 15 years in solitary confinement.
One day, a prosecutor came to visit him and challenged Arthur with a simple question: “Do you believe in God?”
“Yes, I do,” he responded.
“Then why don’t you get to know Him?” the prosecutor asked.
Art began reading his Bible, and soon found himself at a crossroads. “I had to decide if I wanted to continue down the path of destruction or the path of deliverance.” Art chose God’s way.
In 2003, Art was released from solitary confinement. He immediately sought out the prison chaplain so he could be mentored in his faith. He also began to take college courses and studied God’s Word day and night.
Five years later, Art came up for parole. Reviewing his exemplary behavior, one member of the parole board noted, “You were the worst inmate in the beginning, and since 2003, you have an impeccable record. What happened?” Art responded the only way he knew how: “Ma’am, I now believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.”
“I knew it! I’m a Christian, too,” said the parole board member, who recommended Art be transferred to the Prison Fellowship InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) program, which prepares prisoners for life outside of prison. In 2011, Arthur was released from prison and completed IFI’s post-release phase.
Today, Art is a husband and father. He is also the vice president of operations for a company in Houston providing ventilation systems for commercial kitchens.
“Due to the programs offered by Prison Fellowship I’ve been able to learn more—not just about the Lord, but about being a man, about being a great husband, about being a church member, and being a great businessman,” Art says. “God’s just bringing out the different gifts in my life. The transformation continues to happen each and every day by God’s grace.”
Stories like Art’s are a reminder that God is living and active in jails and prisons across the country. If you would like to be a part of God’s transformative work in the lives of prisoners like Art and their families, please visit our Get Involved page, or learn more about other ways you can contribute to the work of Prison Fellowship.