With his wiry gray beard, rugged appearance, and familiar name, William “Billy” Kidd looks like someone who has stories to tell.
And he does. The former drug dealer who was once a leader of the Aryan Nation within the Michigan correctional system has spent much of his life in and out of prison, with the many tattoos covering his body chronicling his nefarious past.
But the story that Billy likes to tell isn’t about the crimes he committed or the position he gained in prison. Rather, he prefers to talk about Who he met during his time in prison, and why that is once again leading him back behind bars—this time as a volunteer.
In this week’s Prison Fellowship Insider, Detroit area field director Denise Harris recounts a recent panel discussion at the University of Michigan-Dearborn focused on parole and reentry. Panelists included Harris and field staff from the Michigan Department of Corrections.
But the star of the evening was clearly Billy Kidd. In the course of the evening, Kidd answered a number of questions from captivated students. When one asked him why he gave up a life of crime, he was very straightforward, “Christ came into my cell. I know it sounds crazy,” he explained, “but I had an encounter with him.”
This encounter fundamentally changed Kidd. Today, he is a husband, father, grandfather, and the leader of his church’s prison ministry. And in the near future, he will be joining Prison Fellowship for some in-prison programs.
Perhaps you feel divinely led to join Billy Kidd and others in presenting the Gospel to men and women behind bars. Maybe you have a desire to serve as a mentor to someone preparing to leave prison and return to society. Or maybe you would like to become an active member of a community of prayer that lifts up those affected by crime and incarceration. To learn more about these and other opportunities to get involved in ministry with Prison Fellowship, visit our volunteer page at https://www.prisonfellowship.org/action.