"I was arrested 27 times by the age of 27. My marriage was broken and it seemed like there was no hope, but then God restored my life."
I grew up in California and the best words to describe my childhood would be chaos and violence. I had several different stepfathers growing up and I can remember watching them abuse my mother. Beating her so bad her head looked swollen, another time running her over with a car and breaking her bones. The cops were always coming over my house for domestic violence and fighting. When I was in the second grade my mother got cancer and could not take care of me and my brother and none of her family wanted us either so we ended up in a foster home for a while. I developed a deep seated hatred for male authority and by the time I was 11 I started drinking alcohol.
Alcohol led to drug abuse and crime. I got busted for a home invasion at 14 and running a thief ring. I had developed a horrible temper and at ten years old I broke my hand fighting and then broke it another five times. When I turned 18 my mother one day just took off and I had nowhere to live so for two years I lived on the street. By the time I was 26 I had been arrested 26 times for mostly assault or alcohol charges, once inciting a riot.
I had become just like the men I hated growing up.
I tried to change by joining the army in 1981 but my lifestyle followed me into the military. In 1982 I met Cherise and in 1984 we were married and in May of 1985 we had a son. I thought the family life could change me but I only got worse. Two months later everything came to a head, when I was facing 8 to 16 years in prison. I came home from the police station and went into my bedroom and got on my knees and started to cry.
I said “God if you’re real please help me!” Shortly after that I ran into an old friend who just got out of prison and was now saved. He invited us to church and Cherise and I both gave our lives to Jesus that day and God set me free from addiction and violence and gave us a brand new start in life. Shortly after that God even had the charges dropped down so I only spent 60 days in COMCOR. I can’t explain the joy we feel today but this I know “Jesus still saves delivers and heals!”
Where they are now: Richard and his wife, Cherise, pastor Victory World Outreach of Denver, Colorado.