Rylan’s Story

I am writing this in hopes of encouragement as well as giving a great testimony of what God is doing in my life; first through the jail ministry and second with future pruning and lifting up through Cornerstone New Testament Church. My story has touched the hearts of many and I wish to share a shortened version of this with you today.

 Back in April of 2012 I reached the lowest point in my life. After several attempts to get “ahead” in life by means of doing things “my way” I had failed miserably. I had lost everything; my vehicle, my savings, my girlfriend, my son, my home, as well as my freedom.  Prior to my incarceration I had dodged death when a man defending his land had fired two rounds at me from his 357.  Both bullets struck my vehicle just inches away from hitting me in the chest.  Looking back on the incident, it’s very clear that God had a plan for my life and was not going to let my life end before he could turn my life around and bring glory to his kingdom.

 I was in custody at the Fairfield County Jail awaiting trial when I felt my whole life flip upside down and change.  That change was made through the “seed” of the jail ministry that Pastor Tom Underwood and Norm Boyd had planted in my soul.  I had been attending the Bible studies at the jail because it seemed out of all the discouragement and darkness that surrounded my life that Bible study was the flame in a dark room.  It was a light at the end of the tunnel, the unseen of things hoped for.   After about the 3rd or 4th Bible study, I drew up enough courage to ask for prayer at the end of the service.   I was so torn and so lost that I couldn’t explain what I needed prayer for without breaking down into tears.   My fellow inmates quickly surrounded me and laid hands on me.   They all joined in prayer as Pastor Tom led.   He began to speak straight into my soul, lifting me up, speaking the Word of God over me.   And what he said next I’ll never forget!   He called me into the kingdom of God and told the devil “you can’t have this man; He is a son of God and belongs to Jesus Christ!”  Something happened, right there at that moment something shifted in the spirit realm.  Chains were broken, bondage was lifted and I was set free!

 A few weeks later I went to court and was sentenced to a year in prison.  I can remember the car ride back to the jail.  In the back of that cruiser I was sobbing, but my spirit was flying through the clouds!  I had never felt so free!  For the next few months I used my time to get into God’s Word and learn more about his ways.  While praying and talking to God, I asked Him for another chance, a chance to get out early and be his sailboat.  While in prison I tried to be a light in all that darkness, but it was hard.   I hadn’t learned yet how blessed I was to be a light to someone and have them take advantage of you. So I was very careful with who I tried to help.  Not stepping very far out over the water.  Maybe just enough to get my feet wet.   A few months had passed by and I decided to write the courts asking for early judicial release.  A fellow prisoner had learned of what I was doing and knew my past and laughed.  He said, “do you really think your judge is gonna let you out early after what you did to those people?  After committing the same crime to the same victim when your first conviction you spent a year in prison and obviously didn’t learn your lesson?”   My response was, “yea I do, My God is bigger than any circumstance and he knows my deepest intentions and sees directly into my heart.”  I believed God had a plan for my life and it wasn’t inside of those four walls. I kept praying and believed God was moving.

 Long story short, my judge had ordered for my release 7 months early!  God had moved on my behalf!  It was that grace that God and the Judge had shown me that really set me into motion. When I got out, I started attending church at Cornerstone New Testament Church.  With God and my church’s help, I believe I am back on track and for the first time in my life living a productive life.  I have learned that when you live your life honoring God and doing the right things, God will honor you and will always provide for you.  I have learned this through several instances when it looked like the circumstances were too much for me.  I would just pray about it and give it up to God.   It didn’t matter what the circumstances were;   money, a car, a job, He provided it. I have miraculous testimonies of God providing me with money, a car, jobs where the employers don’t normally hire felons, mending and reuniting of relationships.  You name it; God has done it for me.

 

 It’s been a year now coming up this next month since I’ve been released from prison and God has restored already so much from which the locusts have taken.  Looking back I know I couldn’t have done any of it without the help of my Lord and Savior.  The road hasn’t been easy and the enemy has thrown many roadblocks into my path, but after every time I ask God for his help and speak to those roadblocks, they move!  I have found the career that my heart wants to pursue and am currently attending school at Ohio University to get my degree in Nutrition.  I still attend church regularly because I realize how important it is to fellowship with other believers as well as having more time and communion with God.  I am on the praise and worship team at Cornerstone and I love every minute of it.  I feel that this is a type of ministry and I can’t wait to see where God leads me next to help change the lives of others!  Looking back on everything God has done for me in my life, I think it all started with a few words spoken over my life that night in the Jail Bible study.  On several occasions I have thanked Pastor Tom, but I would like to take the time to thank my church that helps support this jail ministry, as well as Sheriff Phalen, his Lieutenants and Deputies that work with Pastor Tom and Norm and make it possible for them to speak to the people who need it the most in our county.

God Bless you all.