How Robbie Became a New Creation
Some might say Robbie Robinson never had much of a chance.
Growing up in poverty, Robbie "never had anything," he recalls. And what he craved most was love and acceptance.
Because he didn't get either at home, Robbie started using drugs and joined a gang. Robbie was wrecking his life and he knew it. But he was powerless to change on his own.
A DESTRUCTIVE LIFE
From an early age, Robbie lived a destructive and dysfunctional life. "I first encountered law enforcement when I was 14," Robbie says. His first stint in prison was a year long when he was 19, and he hated it.
Robbie was released after serving his time … only to be thrown back behind bars after nine short months on the outside. "You always say to yourself, I'm not coming back here. I've got to do something different," he explains, "but when you get out, you still have that same mindset, and you typically go back to what you did before."
A BRAND-NEW JOURNEY
During his first prison sentence, Robbie was introduced to the Prison Fellowship Academy™, but he chose not to attend. He made sure not to make the same mistake again. This time, he applied and was accepted into the Academy.
Located in select prisons across the country, the Prison Fellowship Academy takes men and women through a holistic life transformation spanning weeks or months, where they are mentored by Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers to lead lives of purpose and productivity inside and outside of prison.
"It was a brand-new journey for me," Robbie shares. The Academy forced him to acknowledge his need for Jesus Christ. But that was only the beginning. "I had to get rid of all that dysfunctional thinking," he says. Robbie was forced to face the issues that had led to his life of crime—substance abuse, anger, and more.
"I had this identity already of who I was because of how I grew up and the things I've been through," he admits, "but … through that programming, I began to realize that that wasn't who I was. … I began to find myself and find who I was."
A NEW LIFE HAS BEGUN
Back on the outside once again, Robbie was now equipped to tackle reentry head on. He found a church, a mentor, and a new path. With confidence in his Savior, he claimed the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17, that "anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"
One day, after being invited to share his story at a corporate event, Robbie was offered a job as a welder by the owner of the company.
"I was the first ex-prisoner to work for this corporation," Robbie says. "The owner brought me in and said, 'You will be like the guinea pig. How you do within our company can open a big door for other individuals who have been in your situation.'"
It was a golden opportunity and Robbie didn't waste it. He worked for 10 years at that company and ended up as a welding supervisor. "Because of that job and them giving me a chance, I'm able to be a father now, and I've got a great family," he said recently.
Today, Robbie works full-time helping others overcome addiction. He co-founded a Christian nonprofit organization called Discover Hope 5:17 that helps those suffering from addictions find a second chance at life.
"Someone extended a hand to me, and because of that my hand has been able to extend to many others."