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"Educate My People"

I came to prison at the age of twenty-two. My heart was never set on being anything in life. Education was not my desire and success was not a part of my plan. I wanted to be grown without understanding what it took to be grown. I thought alcohol was the determining factor of being grown and drinking was the solution to life's problems. I learned the hard way; alcohol is the problem. It is never the solution. I made the wrong choices and I take full credit for being in prison. I ruined my life and others lives.

Nine years had passed and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I hungered for something better, so I started attending a program called "THE SEED OF HOPE" which was the beginning of my freed mind. I was able to get the answers that I needed to help me deal with underlining issues that plagued my life.

I was making progress and people wanted me to be a teacher’s aide. I did not know how to read or write, so I said a prayer, “GOD help me learn how to read and write. I will serve you with my whole heart.” I started to believe that God could do it. Every day I started to copy the BIBLE from Genesis to Revelation for three years. The words began to make sense and GOD answered my prayer. HE taught me how to read and write.

I did not keep my word to God. One of my best friends from Bible study died with an aneurysm of the brain then I truly committed to GOD. The following Friday we had a memorial for my friend, Richard Workman, I gave GOD my whole life. I confessed that JESUS is the son of GOD and GOD raised JESUS from the dead. As I was saying this prayer, the weight of the world was falling off of me and tears began to flow from my eyes and I knew JESUS was real, and I wanted more out of life. The following Monday, the Chaplain called me to his office and said that GOD wanted me to take the Ministry class and to go out to the other dorms to share my faith with the other prisoners.

Kirkland Correctional Institution is where all the people who come to prison in South Carolina are processed. So that created a ministry for people who lived on the yard. GOD was showing himself to be real. Before GOD saved me, I had no purpose , now I had the opportunity to tell someone who was lost, about a Savior.

I prayed and asked GOD for more. I heard GOD say “If you educate My people, I will educate you.” My life changed forever. I continued going to Seed of Hope and assisting the volunteers. The next week, the chaplain said that the volunteers were sick and asked if I would teach the class. I put a lesson plan together for the class. This showed me what I was capable of and helped me overcome my addiction to alcohol.

I was also a good basketball player. Basketball is a big thing in prison. Basketball in South Carolina prisons is fifty percent basketball and fifty percent football. It's a very physical game. I figured out how to win and how to be a great player. My weapon of choice was the backboard three-pointer. I mastered this shot and became a true winner.

A lot of people who played basketball went to this class.

There was this guy, Virtuous Bellamy, who came to the class. He worked in adult education. He also had a good basketball game. We used to battle all the time. He asked me if I had my GED. I said no. He said that if I played with him, he would help me get my GED. That Thursday we played in a tournament and dominated it.

Virtuous kept his word, the following Monday I took the TABE test. I scored a 12.0, which is twelfth grade level and automatically qualified me for the Pre-GED list. I made a twelfth-grade score on that as well and was put on the GED list.

A month later, I took the GED test, but came up seven points short. I wasn't going to give up. I was put back on the list to take the math part again. This time I dominated it. Earning my GED is one of my greatest achievements. I heard GOD say “If you educate My people, I will educate you.” While working to get my GED, I was going out to the dorms and sharing my faith with the other inmates. I was able to see my purpose and my reason for being on earth. The opportunity to go out and share my faith came to a stop because another religious group started going out to the dorms and breaking rules, so they stopped the Ministry completely. The only way a person could go out to share their faith was if they were in the Columbia International University Prison Initiative Program. They offered a two-year Associate Arts degree that inmates can complete. I filled out an application and GOD did the rest. I went through the interview and got accepted. My mind was set free as a college student and serving GOD.

The greatest thing about this opportunity is that I learned a lot about GOD and myself. One of the greatest lessons I learned was that you can do great things with great support. The first year went by so fast. My class was of twelve brothers with different nationalities. There were four blacks, four whites, two native Americans, and two Mexicans. This cohort was special, and we were a tight knit group who did not let our differences cause division. The motto for Columbia International was "To know Christ and to Make Christ Known.”

We went out to make Christ known. There were two in every space. We also would mix up the races to cover all cultures. Every time we would run into someone opposed to hearing the gospel, we had someone to reach them.

When you have twelve men who see the power of diversity and are able to learn from other cultures, it's an awesome thing. Unity is powerful. We all studied and ate together. We were a family. We had prayer circle every night. While learning many lessons, the second year flew by. Graduation was right around the corner. Every graduate was sent to different institutions carrying our motto with us "To know Jesus and make Him Known.”

One of the agreements when coming to C.I.U. is that they send you where they need you in the system. As we had our last time to be in a room together as cohort 8 we said our last prayer as one. Everyone found out where they would be sent. I was going to be sent to Evans correctional Institution, Where I was ready to be used by GOD.

Graduation was one of the most fulfilling moments to share with my sister and my niece. Though I was in prison my mind was free and joy filled my heart. GOD kept his word. Here it was, a man who couldn't read or write and now he was graduating college. My mind was so free, and I felt all things were possible with GOD. The following Monday morning I was on the bus heading to Evans. It was an all-day trip with shackles on my wrists, around my waist, and my ankles. War stories for eight hours from prison to prison until I finally reached my destination.

As I went through the process of the officer inventorying all my belongings. I was walking down the sidewalk when I saw an inmate with a handmade knife sticking out of his side with other inmates chasing him up front. The reality set in that I was in a totally different environment than I was in before. The darkness in this place was so plain and contrary to Kirkland. I finally got into the room and was lucky to be able to take a shower.

My roommate was asleep but when I got out of the shower he was up. So, we talked for about two hours. We were totally different people. But mutual respect was established. Evans stayed locked down. The only time you could come out of the room was to go eat. For a couple of weeks, me and my roommate would talk. He said he wanted to get his GED. I told him I had gotten my GED and just finished the C.I.U. program. He asked me if I would help him get his GED. My roommate was asleep but when I got out of the shower he was up. So, we talked for about two hours. We were totally different people. But mutual respect was established. Evans stayed locked down. The only time you could come out ofthe room was to go eat. For a couple of weeks, me and my roommate would talk. He said he wanted to get his GED. I told him I had gotten my GED and just finished the C.I.U. program. He asked me if I would help him get his GED.

I felt this was my chance to pay if forward since this was what Virtuous Bellamy had done for me. He didn't have much time left to serve. He was already smart, he just had to apply it. We worked seven days a week on all the subjects. We worked for two weeks non-stop, and he passed the GED. The next week he maxed out.

A new fire was lit in me, and the chaplain hired me to teach. Though this place was dark, opportunities started to open up. One of the guys who lived in the Character dorm wanted me to move over in his dorm to help people get their GEDs. I worked in the chapel from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM teaching Bible classes and different classes on positive behavior. I saw people were learning a lot and I had a purpose. Many bad things were happening around me daily, but I was paying it forward. I had 18 people in my GED class for people that had already passed their Pre-GED test. I'd find out what their weakness were and work on them. After a month of working with everyone, all 18 students were ready to take the GED. The first time 6 out of that 18 passed. So, I had to continue to encourage the other 12 students to go back and get their GED. All 12 went back and passed the test. My heart was filled with joy. I was able to give back to 18 inmates by helping them get their GEDs.

It is really great to have found my purpose and be used in the way that GOD intended. GOD used me to educate many men and I will never forget HIS command “If you educate my people, I will educate you!”


Michael Eggleston continues to educate himself and others every chance he gets. There are many men who come to prison and need an education, this man has found his purpose in helping others to go through the process he went through.

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If you free other people, in whatever way you can, He will set you free. What you sow, you reap. God bless and amen.

いいね!
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