Made for More than a Life Behind Bars
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“I had a lot of drugs, a lot of money, guns, bulletproof vests,” Terrell said as he thought back to the days of running his gang. “There was a war within me. Violence and control became a part of my life that dominated me and dominated others.”
On the surface, Terrell Scott seemed like a well-mannered, high-school student. He excelled at football and wrestling, however his drive to be number one didn’t just apply to sports, but also towards his ambition of becoming a drug kingpin.
“At a young age I heard people talking about people that were in the mob and the power they had,” Terrell said. “It appealed to me. I said in my heart, as a young boy, ‘If I don't make it in sports, that I was going to run an organized crime gang.’ I was driven to be the best, to be loved, to be accepted.”
As Terrell continued this double life, his friend, Brandy, was struggling with the death of her mother. Terrell went to college on a wrestling scholarship, while Brandy sank into drug and alcohol abuse to cope with the loss.
“When my mother passed away it was devastating,” Brandy said while struggling to hold back tears. “She was truly my rock. The pain was unbearable. I did anything I could to numb it.”
Terrell’s drug empire expanded in college, recruiting more gang members and doing riskier, more lucrative deals. Occasionally he would get together with Brandy to party, but things would turn ugly at one of these arranged visits.
“He called me and said, ‘Hey, call your connection, get us some drugs and we'll party Friday night,’” Bandy remembered. “Terrell was supposed to come, but he sent two of his best friends in. When he pulled the gun out and stuck it in that girl's face I was in shock. He pulled the gun, grabbed the drugs, and took off. After the bad drug deal, I hated Terrell. I wished bad things on him.”
“Why did I have Brandy robbed at gunpoint? Money hungry, drug hungry, didn't care about people,” Terrell said. “We had just pulled off a string of armed robberies during that season. If you put them together it was around $250,000 and so she was just another one of those hits that we got.”
Terrell’s drug dealing eventually caught the attention of authorities and his home was raided by police. Charged with a number of felonies including the trafficking of cocaine, he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years. Meanwhile, Brandy delved further into substance abuse until an encounter with a Christian man led her to attend church. There, she experienced the love of Jesus.
“I began to cry, I began to weep, just at all the sins that I was committing and this woman, I'll never forget, she came up to me and she was consoling me. She was leading me to Jesus and telling me how much Jesus loved me and welcomed me,” Brandy said.
As Brandy picked up a Bible and began a new life following Jesus, Terrell was in prison still operating his gang and dealing drugs. This led to a desperate fight with another inmate and then solitary confinement. There, he started to question his purpose.
“I did six months in isolation,” Terrell said. “You know, there's just certain things that my heart started to cry out. I prayed a prayer. ‘God, you've gotta have something better for me. I wasn't created to be locked up in a cage, a 5x8 dog pen and I need your help.’"
While reading God’s word, Brandy came across a passage that deeply affected her.
“I'll never forget reading if we do not forgive others we will not receive the forgiveness of God,” Brandy said. “Terrell's face was in my head and I remember telling the Lord, ‘Lord, You know that he could have had me killed, and You want me to forgive this man?!!’ I just began to pray and cry and plead, ‘Lord, please change my heart.’”
Brandy wrote Terrell a letter sharing her new faith in Jesus and a desire to forgive him. She then arranged to meet Terrell in prison face-to-face and deliver him a message.
“'I forgive you for what you did to me,’” Brandy remembers telling Terrell. “'It's because of the love of Jesus and the forgiveness that he gave to me. I'm praying for you to be changed. You've been leading people wrong your whole life. You need to turn to Christ and lead them the right way.'"
“Then she starts to call out the tattoos on my back,” Terrell said while thinking back on Brandy’s words that day in prison. “She looks me in the eyes and she says, ‘God's not called you to be a crime boss, but God has a purpose and plan for you.’ I remember that in that moment it was almost like something hit my chest and the tears started to run down my face. The God of all creation has a plan for me. I felt like a brand-new person. I had joy unspeakable and full of glory in prison.”
Terrell gave his life to Christ and began sharing the gospel with his fellow inmates. He dissolved his gang and was released from prison for good behavior. He and Brandy later married and now have five children. They pastor a church and have started a ministry giving back to the same community in Georgia where Terrell once sold drugs. The Scotts say it was only God who was able to change their lives.
“When I accepted Jesus into my life He healed my heart of this pain,” Brandy said with a big smile. “I'm so grateful to Him and to have Him. I love Jesus.”
“Her forgiving me taught me the love of God,” Terrell said. “I should be dead now. I should have did life in prison for the way I lived. He's been merciful to me. He’s blessed me with a beautiful wife, five beautiful children. All those years in the streets, all those years running drugs, all those years on the wrestling mat, on the football field, you know, being the leader in those areas. I was looking for true divine purpose. I found it in Christ.”
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