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GOD GOT A HOLD OF ME
By Jeff Nickell

This is a testimony of Gods great saving, and keeping power. My name is Jeffrey Nickell, and I am 44 years old. I have been a Christian since 1982. I was raised in a middle class family. We used to go to church about 3 times a year, Christmas, Easter, and New Year's. We were religious, believing there was a God, but didn't really know Him. When I was about 11, my parents divorced, and in the split up, Mom got us 3 kids. My brother and I were wild and uncontrollable. I started stealing about that time, and was always in some kind of trouble. When I was about 16, I began drinking and popping pills. Not long after, I was smoking weed. Then I began to try all drugs, like LSD and other mind altering drugs. All through high school, I did drugs, and sold them at school. One thing I would not do, at first, was shoot up. That is; intravenous drug use. I used to say, those people that do that are sick; there is no way I will ever do that. The very same thing I said I would never do, I did. That's how sin is, it never gets better it always gets worse. Sin will take you where you didn't want to go, it will keep you longer than you were willing to stay, and will cost you more than you were willing to pay. When I began to shoot up, it was all down hill from there. And it didn't take me long to reach rock bottom. I got out of school in 1974, and was suppose to go to summer school to get one credit so I could graduate. Instead I was arrested, for delivery of drugs and sent to prison. I got a 3 year sentence in Texas, and was on my way to prison at 19. When it came time to get out, this is what I told every one. "Later, guys! You won't see me here again." I stayed out 99 days, and was on my way to prison again; This time, for burglary. Although I was working, I was doing my drugs and stealing, and it wasn't long before I was on my way back to prison again. This time, I got 5 years, and I did almost all of it day for day. The first time to prison, I tried to do right so I could leave as early as possible, but the second time, I didn't care. When it came time to get out again, I told them all the same thing again. "Later, guys! You won't see me here again."

This time, I really meant it ,because if you come back a third time in Texas, it is an automatic life sentence. I got out got a job, and was doing pretty good. But, I was still doing my drugs. So. it was only a matter of time before I got busted again. This time it was for car theft, I only stayed out about 17 months. I had 5 charges all together. Two of them were habitual indictments, which meant automatic life sentence. At this point in my life, I didn't care if I went to prison for life. You might think I had reached rock bottom, but not quite. While in jail waiting for trial, something strange happened. One night I went to bed, and when I woke up the next day, I was having some physical symptoms. I had a ringing in my ears, and hallucinations, and something just wasn't right. I began to seek help from doctors, and they did tests and examined me, but found nothing. That's when I became afraid, and wanted to know what was wrong with me. They did a psychiatric evaluation of me, and said I was a paranoid schizophrenic. That's when I hit rock bottom, know one could help me. I had no where to look, but up. One Day, in this sad condition, the Jail Chaplain came on my wing. She was a born again Catholic nun, named Sister Margaret Carew. When I saw her, I ran up to the bars, and said, "Please pray for me." I had been trying to pray for myself, but I would start and forget where I was, then I would start again and I never could get a prayer out. She prayed for me, and anointed me with oil and laid hands on me. Then she gave me a Bible to read. She would call me out every day for about 3 months. She would pray for me, and we would talk about the Bible. The thing that impressed me about her was her love for me. She loved me when I didn't even love myself. As I began to read the Bible, I really began to understand it. I saw how my life of sin had hurt God and others, and I saw my need for salvation. One day in my cell block, I came across a track that talked about the Holy Spirit. As I was reading it, it gave a reference in Romans that said if you don't have the Spirit of Christ, then you are not His. As I read this tract, I became strongly convicted that I needed to give my life to Jesus. I went into my cell got down on me knees and began to pray. I didn't know how to pray to get saved or born again or filled with the Holy Spirit, so I just prayed everything I could so I could convince God I was serious about wanting to change. I was tired of doing it my way, and I was ready to do it God's way. Nothing happened at first, so I laid down and began to read the Bible again. About an hour later I began to feel the presence of the Lord in my chest. It was like a great big ball of energy in my chest, and it felt better than any drugs I had ever done. I knew for a fact that Jesus had come in to my heart. No one could talk me out of it. I knew He was in there. The next day that feeling was gone, but from that day on, I began to change. I still had to go to prison the third time. God forgave me but the State of Texas didn't. I ended up getting 7 years, instead of what I should have got. I did 2 years as a Christian in prison, on the Eastham Unit in Texas. There, I attended a Hope Crusade brought in by Calvary Commission. I saw men doing ministry who had once been in prison just like me. God blessed me with a parole and I paroled out to join Calvary Commission in January of 1984, and went through their training. Well, I am still in training, and will be for the rest of my life. I am currently a missionary in Belize, Central America, with Calvary Commission. God has truly blessed me, and transformed my life. He has been so good to me, and so patient with me. I was married in June, 1997, which was another blessing from God. Last year, I was able to receive a Bible College degree.

I became a Christian at 27, and I so wished I would have done it 20 years earlier. I spent all my twenties in prison, because of my sin. I was on the street 20 months from age 19 to 29. The rest of the time, I was locked up. God pursued me and finally got a hold of me at 27. I am so glad I am a Christian, and I really want to do something for the Lord with my life. I am grateful for His salvation. I am now able to do chaplain work in the Belize prison and help the men just like Sister Margaret did for me.

In Christ's Love,

Jeffrey Nickell

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A Note From Joe Fauss

I have been so blessed with the power of God to change Jeff's life. He is one of many lives that have been redeemed by Jesus Christ. When in the United States, Jeff is available for services and as a speaker at missions conventions. If you would like to help Jeff in his missionary work in Belize, Central America, you may send a check or money order and designate it for Jeffrey Nickell Support. We also accept Visa and MasterCard.

Here is the mailing address:

Calvary Commission
P.O. Box 100
Lindale, Texas 75771-0100
903-882-5501
FAX 903-882-7282
Jeff's email is calvcomm@btl.net
   
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