At age 6 my father decided to sell up the house and take my mother, brother and I to sail around the world. Despite protests that we would miss our first important years of schooling, my father went ahead and built the yacht. During this this time my father was an alcoholic and extremely abusive towards my mother and during their physical fights, my brother and I slipped over to the neighbor for protection. We saw whales, dolphins, sharks, etc. and our lives felt like an adventure, yet the boat was no playground for children that would have preferred a garden, or school. We sailed from place to place for two years, but eventually my parents relationship broke down completely and they decided to divorce.
I grew up attending Sunday School at the NG church where I learned that Jesus was real, however whenever I mentioned God or the things of God to my father, he would use profane language and verbally abuse me. He was a confirmed atheist. He was adamant that the bible was a fairy tale and God does not exist. By the time I was in grade 12, my mother had remarried, but my step-father was also an abusive alcoholic. I decided to try and live with my father again, which was the biggest mistake I ever made, because I thought he had changed. It was like going from the frying pan into the fire, as my father taught me how to steal cars, steal money and worst of all – how to gamble. I became addicted to gambling and through all my jobs stole money just to gamble. I got a 5 year suspended sentence because my boss dropped the charges against me, after I stole a large amount of money he trusted me with (I hid my gambling problem from everyone).
I eventually got myself deeper into debt and lost everything until I was homeless. In this period my girlfriend also fell pregnant and we decided we were not ready to be parents, so we aborted the baby. I had another girlfriend at the same time, but when she fell pregnant she refused to abort the baby, we had a little girl. Just after that, my father died in a car accident, which was a shock and threw me off course, because I suddenly felt alone and too despondent to continue living. Two years later, at my next job, I stole money again and an elderly couple caught me red handed and asked me what I was doing. I was scared, so I killed them and tried to stage it to look like a robbery from outside. But as I was preparing the crime scene, my boss stepped into the office. I was given a life sentence. At the same time that I was in and out of court, my daughter only 2 years died of Leukemia. My mother also walked out of my life and decided she wanted nothing to do with me ever again. It was a very dark time for me.
But that is also when God found me and brought the light back in. Through the prison ministry programs and counselling I am spiritually, emotionally and mentally stronger! I am growing in my faith daily, I have accepted Jesus and will never let him go! I want to request that Biblecor continue the good work that they do, as prisoners need these materials and acceptance from the community that usually shun them away.
Darren M. Jaree – September 2019 * name changed for safety reasons
I was once a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but now I am the Shephard’s sheep inside and out!
~Darren M. Jaree